If you follow me on Snapchat, you have seen some of my gatherings with friends here at the house. We love to host and entertain our friends, especially with karaoke and wine. My husband Max also loves to cook, and he makes delicious Brazilian BBQ and stews, but friends also help him cook. Sometimes though, in the middle of the laughter and music, I find myself stuck… as if frozen in time… All the noise is happening around me and something haunts me.
You see, we don’t have many pans, or even a hand mixer, which our guests joke about (since we have been married for 12 years already). I smile and say, “Well, when I got married, I had a baby shower and not a bridal shower.” And it is true. I got pregnant and planned our wedding in 3 weeks. I did have the pleasure of registering at Target, but it was optional if guests wanted to buy wedding gifts. I never had a bachelorette party or even a bridal shower.
“Oh Fuse, but hand mixers and kitchen things are cheap. Why don’t you have these things?” These are the thoughts that travel across my mind as well. You see, those things may be cheap, but if I were to go to the store right now to get them all at once, it would not be cheap, and I have other priorities. Then other thoughts like: “Why don’t I own a home yet?” “Why don’t I have all the pretty fall decor or Christmas decor or a hand mixer?” And as I ponder this thought of feeling less valued, I remind myself that life does not happen in order. And it is okay, because after all, life is not about things. I can have a house full of decor and items and still feel empty inside. The world and society wants us to believe that life should happen in order, and that you should be a big consumer to prove you’re on track, but my life has not been as such, and it is totally okay.
I see this same exact pattern of thinking in business. We feel there must be an order to things, and we need to buy the next shiny thing because, after all, it will change our lives and we will make six figures. Or, so-and-so is using that social media platform and they’re skyrocketing, so if I use it too, I will sure enough skyrocket. Then I check, and sure enough, I need the next thing, and the next, and the next. I never feel good enough or ready enough. At the end of the day, I am not taking action. I am just comparing, whining, wishing, regretting and getting jealous. Can you relate to this? Maybe it’s just me, but when I find myself pouting over what I don’t have, I quickly shift my thinking to what I do have, and I also remember that it’s about the journey.
I have mentioned before in the blog that my business goals have shifted, and the main thing I want as I get older is simplicity and travel. My ultimate goal is to work from anywhere I want, or spend 3 months in Brazil, and so if that means not buying things, not owning a home for now, or not owning all the awesome online courses I would love to have, then so be it.
One day in the future, I will look back and understand why things happened in the order they did and see the many lessons I learned. One thing I do know is that if you show up, be consistent and offer value, things will slowly start to fall into place. I am super impatient when it comes to my business success, but I am starting to see sparks of hope after many failures as an entrepreneur.
This is what is helping me IN BUSINESS now and hopefully you can be inspired.
-Saying no. You need to work on one thing at a time and not start a gazillion projects which will overwhelm you, especially during the holidays.
-Morning routine. Don’t check your phone or start working as soon as you wake up. Take time to exercise, walk the dog, and get dressed as if you were going to work so you get in work mode when you sit down.
-Be intentional with your day. I write the 3 main things I want accomplished for the next day and rank them in order. Think of 3 things that if you got done, you would feel so happy about. Then, feel happy once they are accomplished.
-Don’t be everywhere. Don’t stretch yourself so thin that you’ll disappear at the first sign of wind. Be where your ideal clients are and nurture those relationships.
-Have a brand and stick to it. I have a hard time with this, but once I hired Flourish Collaborative for my rebrand, I now have a visual identity and have seen my business grow already from being consistent with my brand.
-Go dark. My business bestie Erica H. Vincent introduced me to this term, and it is fantastic. When she says “I am going dark”, this means you can not find her online on social media and she is laser-focused on creating emails, courses and content for her business. Going dark means no distractions, so no notifications or social media. I personally turn off notifications and don’t have Facebook Messenger on my phone. Sometimes I also use the app called Self Control.
-Be consistent. There was a time when I could not get a schedule going with things. But for example, once I established topic days for my Facebook group, I was able to schedule posts weeks in advance. That freed up so much time! It also allowed me to show up and be consistent, with the result being my audience feels they can count on me and trust me. Consistency is also important with your messaging: speak only to your ideal audience (another lesson learned from Flourish Collaborative).
-Work on your business costs. This one’s a hard one for creatives because we tend not to be “numbers people.” But you absolutely must know your business costs. Check to see what you are spending every month for your business to be open. Don’t forget things like website hosting, gas, phone costs and office costs. Then, figure out your profit and how to charge. I suck at this personally, so I turn to a great creative who is a master at teaching numbers, Brittany from Simply Creatives. She has a ton of resources for figuring out costs. To plan for my 2017 budget, I will be participating in a group coaching class with Erica H. Vincent who will go over calculating your living costs, business costs and brainstorm money move ideas for 2017. I need all the help I can get. You?
-Set a 3-year plan. When working on my rebrand, we also reviewed where I wanted the business to be in 3 years, and Erica and Caty set up a 3-phase, one-page doc which was brilliant. I now have printed this doc and look at it daily. It also helps me to say no to certain projects or ideas that do not align with my 3-year plan.
-Have a business bestie who’s not in your industry. When I get really stuck, I turn to my two business besties, Olivia and Erica. Olivia is in the decor design industry, and Erica is a business coach. We piggyback ideas, and when I am super frustrated, they shed so much light and cheer me on. I could not have survived this business year without them. I love that they are from very different industries than me and have different skill sets. They can have an outside view of my business, which is so informative as they give me ideas and feedback I would have never thought about.
-Take breaks. You need to spend time with yourself, so having a schedule will allow for time to exercise, to be with loved ones and to refresh. Sorry not sorry for phone only pictures below.
-Outsource. “But Fuse, that involves a cost.” Yes it does, but if you try and do it all yourself, the cost will be your own physical or mental health. Believe me, I know this oh too well. There are cheaper outsourcing solutions out there. I have hired neighbors and teens to do some office work, batch editing work and small errands. You can hire per project, barter or get an intern. Or, you can get help with other things so you can work better, like hire a house cleaner. But get help—do not try and do it all alone.
So, my dear creative, your business journey is unique. It won’t be like everyone else’s, and it may be way out of order, but it is your journey. It is about identifying your style and brand which evolves, and it is about knowing your audience. Then, just show up and offer what you have. If you need a pep talk, especially with holiday marketing, watch this video below. Also find out about my brand new SEO blogging and Pinterest Marketing services.