You Owe it to Your Business to Stay in Great Shape

yogaI don’t get people, especially entrepreneurs, who don’t do regular exercise. I mean, if you’re sitting in an office and your productivity basically doesn’t make a difference to your pay, then fair enough. But pretty much everyone who’s an entrepreneur knows that the endorphins you get from regular exercise can help increase productivity drastically (here’s a study if you don’t believe it) – and if you’re in business for yourself, extra productivity usually = extra $$. And yet it still seems like there are so many businessmen and women out there who just don’t get regular exercise. I seriously just don’t get it.

So, me and my sis are pretty different in many ways, but we both agree that exercise is an essential part of being at the top of your game mentally, so we basically try to egg each other on to do more exercise – she actually calls me fat (I’m totally not by the way) just to motivate me – I guess it’s OK because we both know I’m not fat. But yea, that’s the kind of thing we do with each other to make sure we both get exercise in.

Honestly, it doesn’t even matter what exercise you do – it could be running, pilates, yoga, some of my friends are even doing this boxing thing which apparently is loads of fun. Basically two or three times a week, everybody just needs to get up off their butts, put on a pair of shorts, and just do something physical – and the boost you get from that in terms of happiness and productivity just makes up for all that ‘lost’ time and then some – and that doesn’t even take into account the obvious physical health benefits that regular exercise brings.

Basically, exercise is like a totally legal and totally free superdrug that you can take whenever you want with pretty much no negative consequences other than maybe the occasional sprain or something. Seriously – you can eat as healthy as you want, you can avoid alcohol and smoking and be gluten free and paleo and whatever, but add all that up, and compare it to a reasonably tough workout two or three times a week, and I’ll bet that the exercise actually has more of an effect than all the other stuff combined (here’s an article that goes over that stuff)

My sis and I (before we started our business) also had a lot of trouble keeping to a regular exercise schedule, and now that we’ve been able to keep it up for a while, here are some tips that we have that might help you keep to a regular schedule of exercise:

  • Go with a friend – I don’t normally exercise with my sister, but I do have one or two friends that I take classes or go to the gym or yoga with, and it really helps a lot. If you’ve arranged to meet your friend at yoga or something, you’re much less likely to skip the class and ditch them (unless you’re a bad friend) which basically means you have a much better chance of showing up and doing some exercise
  • Pick something fun – Everybody likes different kinds of exercise – my sister hates yoga, she thinks it’s way too static and boring, but I really love it. There are loads of cool classes and stuff that you can take if the treadmill or elliptical machine doesn’t do it for you – maybe try a dance class or some martial arts or something. Give a bunch of stuff a try – a lot of these places have trial classes available – and you’re bound to eventually find something that you find fun.
  • Block off your exercise days and don’t make other plans – basically, after a certain point, if you’re exercising regularly, it’ll turn into a habit and you won’t even think about it. But in order for it to turn into a habit, you probably have to go two or three months on a pretty consistent basis. Because of this, I’d say you should block off specific days of the week that you’re gonna dedicate to exercise, and try not to make plans or anything in that time so that you’re going consistently and your brain starts to associate Thursday  with yoga class or something.

Anyways, that’s my rant about exercise – I feel like for entrepreneurs especially, who need to stay productive and also have more control over their own schedules – they really owe it to themselves to exercise consistently. That’s all from me today I guess.

Being Business Partners with your Sister is the Best and the Worst

 

scales

Seriously. My take on being business partners with my sis is that it’s both totally the best and absolutely the worst thing you can do. So I’m gonna ramble on about how I feel about working with her, and what I think of the idea of a ‘family business’ in general (although I guess our business isn’t really a family business the way you’d imagine).

Inc article about how to avoid conflicts of interest and drama.

Here’s one from entrepreneur.com basically saying it’s a bad idea (uh oh)

First and foremost, the great thing about doing biz with my sis is that I totally, completely trust her. I never have to worry about her doing something to take advantage of me, or embezzling money or anything crazy like that – I know at the end of the day, she’ll have my back, and I think that level of comfort is pretty difficult to reach even if you’ve been in business with the same partner for 20 years or whatever. I mean, I know many siblings who just aren’t that close, and most brother/sister pairs probably wouldn’t be able to say that about their siblings, but for me and Lisa, we’re super close and we’d never intentionally try to hurt each other – especially not for $$$.

Another great thing about having my sis as my partner is that when stuff is going well, it’s just so great. We can share in the joy of doing well – it’s not like at the end of the day, work is over so we each go home to our respective lives. Clearly, that kind of relationship with colleagues/business partners is really common, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but one of the real perks of working with a family member everyday is that you really share in the joys together – and when I see that my big sis is happy, I get happier as well – it’s like a big old circle of happiness.

On the other hand, the flip side of sharing joy is that when things are going badly, well, we fight – and it can get pretty nasty. I think there’s something about family where a lot of the time you know that they’ll eventually forgive you, and that almost gives you license to say really mean things to them? I don’t know. Anyways, business is tough and we have a disagreement or argument, it can devolve pretty quickly into a really negative situation. I think I’m probably more emotional than her, so it’s likely more my fault, and that’s really something I have to keep in mind after a rough day/week/month.

The other issue with working with your sister is that stuff outside can sometimes affect the work. I mean, I think we’ve both improved on this a lot, but at the start when we would be fighting about something outside of work, that would spill over into working hours and we’d just not talk at all and be really frosty towards each other, and basically it was bad for us and bad for the business. I think this is something to really keep in the back of your mind if you’re planning to do business with family or friends – when you argue, it will impact your business unless all of you are like on the spectrum or something. It really takes some time and practice to get used to the idea that family drama needs to stay out of the workspace, and if you can’t get to that point then maybe it’s best you don’t pursue the business with family/friends path.

Anyways, that’s basically all I wanted to blog about today, hope you gleaned some useful info from it, and if you did, stay tuned because there’s way more coming your way =). I’m also gonna include a few great links that I found about the subject – I found them super interesting, maybe you will too!

 

Sister Stuff & Entrepreneurship

you go girl

Hey guys and gals.

This is our brand new blog about sisterhood, entrepreneurship, and pretty much whatever we feel like talking about. We’re a pair of sisters who’re super close, but unlike most sisters we also work together, so this will be our judgment free blog/confession space/mediation zone where everything and anything is up for discussion. For obvious reasons we won’t go into specifics about what our business is – we don’t want all our customers and suppliers and stuff to know everything that goes on behind the scenes =p. Our goal with this blog is to use it as a private (but actually public) place where we’ll hash out all of the challenges we face dealing with business, family drama, and, well, dealing with each other.

You might be thinking “why would they want to air all their dirty laundry out for the entire internet to see?” – and honestly, we don’t really want to do that. We talked about it for the longest time before we decided to put up this blog. In the end, we thought that it was a pretty cool idea- mainly because as far as we saw, there weren’t any other similar blogs or websites on the web that deal with siblings/family members/really close friends being in business together and the fights, arguments, and general silly drama that often happens in these situations. Our hope is that this blog eventually develops into such a resource – and that by keeping it open and brutally honest, we can attract readers who’re maybe in similar circumstances as we’re in. I guess what we’re trying to say is, maybe other people will be able to learn something by seeing/reading our dirty laundry!

So, a little about the two of us. You can probably guess our names based on our site name, so we won’t go over that again. We’re 5 years apart, and one of us is a relatively new mom and the other is single. We’re pretty different personality wise (this seems to be really common for sisters) – one of us is really outgoing, pretty creative, and always late to everything. The other one is kind of more reliable, more of a straightforward thinker rather than a creative mind, and, well, has more responsibilities in general. Think Emily Deschanel in Bones and Zooey in New Girl. That’s the kind of dynamic between us, just not that extreme (it is TV after all).

We’re basically in the fashion business in some capacity, and we won’t give out too many details about that – but basically, don’t be surprised if we blog about the fashion industry as that’s one of our common interests (although our tastes are COMPLETELY different). We’re not designers or anything glam like that, and we’re not famous or anything, so don’t bother trying to pry =p.

Anyways, look out for either one of us to write about pretty much anything that we want to – but in general you can probably expect a lot of stuff about fashion, self help  personal development stuff (one of us is really into it – guess which one), business and entrepreneurship,  and family drama. We also both love coffee, so you might also come across the occasional random picture of a cup of coffee with no explanation =p.

 

 

An Electrician and a Dialysis Technician in the Family – New Jobs for My Cousins

Well, phewee! The business has been absolutely bonkers-crazy-busy today and whilst I’d love to write a blog post on what I’ve learnt from another non-stop day, it will have to wait for another time as I’m going to write a family related post today. The reason? I just heard from my aunt that two of my second cousins have just secured rather lucrative positions, one as an electrician with an eminent electrical company, and the other as a dialysis technician. Way to go guys!

Sam, who’s about five years younger than me, has always had a way with his hands. I remember when he was younger and we’d hang out together, and he’d always be taking things apart, fixing them, and putting them back together – first it was my remote control car, then he actually disassembled our Super Nintendo (much to the chagrin of my younger brother) and replaced one of the circuits. So, truth to be told, I wasn’t that surprised when I’d heard he’d been offered a job as an electrician.

A Sweet Deal

It’s a pretty sweet deal, according to my aunt. Most of his work takes place in up-and-coming neighborhoods that have a number of new houses being put up. He’s responsible for not only planning the whole wiring of the building, he’s the one who has to implement it as well – it sounds like a lot of fun, and I hope he enjoys it. I know he’s been hoping for a break like this for some time now, so congratulations Sammy!

My other cousin, Paul, is actually four years older than me (that’s right, I was always the middle child), but he also got a new job as a dialysis technician – you’re probably wondering what a dialysis technician does? Dialysis is a medical procedure that involves a high tech machine which filters your blood, taking out toxic materials, and then feeding it back into you. In the human body, the kidneys are responsible for getting rid of pollutants in the bloodstream, but many people end up suffering from injury or illness, and their kidneys stop working. When renal failure sets in, they can no longer filter their blood on their own – this is where the dialysis machine comes into play, and does the work of the kidneys.

A Brave Decision

Lots of these people have to come in once (or more) a week to have their blood ‘cycled’, and it can take up to an hour or more – but it is a very necessary process to ensure that they stay alive. I feel very proud of Paul for endeavoring to enter this profession. I can’t imagine it is very easy to deal with sometimes, but I think it’s a very noble way to help other people. So, on behalf of myself, I’d also like to congratulate Paul. He’s actually out there saving lives – it makes you think.

If I’m being honest again, I wasn’t always sure if my two cousins would manage to make something of themselves, which only cements my profound respect for them now. They’ve both taken it upon themselves to devote themselves to studying hard and finding something that they love to do. I feel very lucky to have known both of them, and wish the very best for them in the future!

5 Foods Which Will Keep Fashion Workers Productive

Any business owner knows that one of the hardest things to do can often be keeping employees motivated and productive.

This is especially true in the fashion world as days have a tendency to drag on for long periods and deadlines are reached.

As the day wears on, people get tired, bored and they start counting down the minutes until it’s time to head out. There are a number of different ways this problem can be remedied, and one of the most simple is with certain foods or snacks.

In order to boost productivity in the office, it’s important to provide employees with a selection of delicious and healthy productivity enhancing snacks.

As a fashion business owners Lisa and I realize the benefit in making small investments in out workers productivity, and this is how we do it:

The obvious but effective choice: Caffeine

First up is one thats most likely already present in every office setting around the world: Coffee.

The caffeine found in coffee is a valuable resource for office workers as it not only provides an extra burst of energy, but it also promotes mental alertness as well as memory.

Having a coffee station set up for employees can be especially beneficial during early mornings when minds may not be fully awake, and in the middle of the afternoon when a midday cat nap starts to sound more and more tempting.

If you don’t have the space or facilities, organize a ‘cafe on wheels’ service to make a routine stop past your office each day – you will not regret it!

Dark chocolate

Now that your employees are alert and ready to go, provide them with some dark chocolate to munch on as a snack. Not only is it a nice little sweet treat, but dark chocolate is also known for its ability to enhance a person’s focus and concentration. Numerous studies have proven again and again that dark chocolate is highly beneficial for healthy cognitive function.  Additionally, dark chocolate can be a simple way to lower stress in the office: studies have shown that reaching for a dark chocolate bar in times of stress really can be helpful and calming.

The fashion industry can often be stressful, so stock your office fridge up with dark chocolate today for an instant stress-busting solution!

High nutrient loaded juice

A less obvious choice is a variety of delicious fresh, natural, fruit juices. Fresh juices provide a large amount of nutrients that can improve office productivity in a number of ways.

For one thing, many fruit juices are very high in Vitamin C which is vital in keeping your employees healthy and minimizing the amount of work time lost due to illness. For even more antioxidant goodness, try to encourage the inclusion of fresh berries into your juicing regime; berries contain some of the highest levels of antioxidants of any fruit group.

Berries are great for a quick snack, and the antioxidants found in them promote improved memory as well as good motor coordination. Instead of loading up on packaged juice (which may be high in artificial sugars and sweeteners) invest in one of the best juicing machines money can buy, which will provide nutrient loaded fresh juice to employees for years to come. Reading juicer reviews and comparisons is a great way to ensure you choose a high quality machine.

Yogurt

Yogurt (especially Greek yogurt) and nuts are both packed with protein, which make them wonderful in an office setting. Protein helps maintain the high energy levels that the coffee jump-started earlier on. Protein (much like the antioxidants in berries or the caffeine in coffee) has been proven to support healthy brain function which is vital for the creative thinking required in the fashion industry
.

Cold filtered water

Adequate hydration is the number one factor in keeping humans happy, health and awake, so allowing cold water to be readily available around the office or work-site is key to boosting productivity levels.

Here’s a tip: instead of providing costly bottled water, why not install an appliance that provides cold, fresh water, that is readily available all day? look into a combined water softener/filter which will put this process on autopilot. Again, we recommend reading a few water softener reviews to ensure you choose the right machine for your employees.

Keeping productivity up in the office doesn’t have to be difficult. Just a few nutritious additions the break room can make a world of difference.

Alicia.