Masthead header

    Every year, when spring hits, I go a teensy bit crazy. I start working on tasks that I’ve ignored all winter like the fate of the world depends on them. Like…

    The stovetop must be scoured, the windows must be washed, the painting must be touched up.

    IF THE BASEMENT STAIRS AREN’T SWEPT AND MOPPED TODAY, THE ALIENS WILL WIN.

    It gets a little crazy. Then, inevitably, the place looks better.

    SO much better that I notice the light fixture in the bathroom is looking a little…dated.
    And the kitchen housewares could use a good purging.
    And I’d reaaaaaally like this new wallpaper for the bedroom.

    The list goes on and on.

    One good change leads to another, just the way we all used to be disgusted by green smoothies and now we suck ‘em down without thinking twice.

    Spring Cleaning Your Biz (without the Windex)

    I’m not going to advocate over-the-top cleaning of your house today. But I am going to ask…

    Where can you do a bit of spring cleaning in your business?

    I’m not talking the back-breaking, trip to Lowe’s for $300 worth of gardening supplies kind — just the mental kind.

    Whose voices are in your head? Are they worth listening to?

    Who are you listening to when no one is around? I hope it’s someone who supports and encourages you. A friend, a mentor, an icon who offers kind words.

    If it’s not — if it’s the voice of your mother-in-law, or those mean girls from high school that you still haven’t managed to shake, or that one time your partner’s confidence in you flagged and then some pretty awful things were said, so now you repeat the unkindnesses over and over — I dare you to change the channel.

    Let the voice of adventure, of ease, and/or of enthusiasm drown out the haters.

    Embrace the energy Spring brings to get out there and love the shit out of your business without hiding, doubting yourself to the ends of the earth, or second-guessing yourself into next Tuesday.

    Call it good enough.
    Call it done.
    Let it out.
    Tell us about it. (Or at least, tell HER about it.)

    You don’t have to make big, grand gestures to let your genius into the world. Sometimes you just need to scrub your mental basement stairs and then take the next step.

    Send the e-mail, make the phone call, write the note. (Hell, write the book.)

    When those voices pop up to tell you that you’re not good enough, that you suck, that you’re wasting you’re time, that you’re too busy for this, or that you should be further along by now — spray ‘em with Windex. I’m pretty sure NOTHING can survive that shit. ;)

    If you’re all, oh man…spring means I pretty much want to redo my whole freaking website from the ground up, it just isn’t ME…Introverts at Work will help you define and then refine your particular business flavor so that you appeal to your peeps.

    YOUR peeps, not anyone else’s. The ones who love (or hate) Harry Potter, who love (or hate) fancy handbags, the peeps who love (or hate) handlebar mustaches and the latest coldbrew coffees. YOUR peeps. It’s time you found ‘em.

    The Summer round of Introverts at Work is coming soon, and you should probably go forth and kick ass with this sample right here, right now.

    (By probably, I mean…go get this sample right now.)

    Share to FacebookPin Site ImageTweet This Post

    Read when you're having a tough day.
    I see you, there.

    You’re scared.

    You’re pretty sure this isn’t going to work.

    The business is going to dry up. It’s never going to take off. They’re going to say bad things about you.

    You feel like it’s broken, like you’re doing all the wrong things, like your life has no real meaning.

    You’re tired.

    You’ve been working nonstop on this thing and you don’t even know if it’s the right thing.

    You feel like you’re months behind on the rest of you life.

    I see you, there.

    You’re doing the work.

    The work most people never have the courage to do.

    You’re putting in the time, falling down and getting up and collecting lessons like crazy.

    You’re getting wiser and smarter.

    You’re growing lighter and more alive.

    I see you, there.

    You’re a wonder.

    (Please don’t forget it this time.)

    Share to FacebookPin Site ImageTweet This Post

    Modern magazines and newspapers and TV shows like Shark Tank make owning a business look like the most glamorous thing on Earth.

    Oooh, look at that hustle! Oooh, check out that drive! Wow, sales QUINTUPLED after being on the show, and now she’s the most fulfilled chocolate-pretzel-dipping factory owner on Earth!

    Making your living through business is all fine and dandy, but no one is talking about the sidecar.

    If owning a business is like riding a motorcycle, all the shit that comes with business is the sidecar.

    "Should I get a real job?" and other entrepreneurial conundrums.

    (We’re not talking a cute sidecar like the one Sean Connery rides around in during Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, either.) The sidecar holds all the stuff you didn’t sign up for when you daydreamed about being paid to do what you’re good at: bookkeeping, accounting, social media management, time management, e-mail management, boundary-setting, promotion-making, cashflow projections, tax filing, client communications, employee hiring and firing, independent contractor management, conference attendance, and networking, to name a few.

    Here’s the thing: the sidecar is unavoidable.

    You can’t ignore too many of the things in the sidecar and reasonably expect to run a decent business. Burying your head in the sand and hoping social media will JUST STOP ALREADY doesn’t work. Ignoring your taxes until the second week of April will only lead to misery. Calling yourself “busy” and failing to return e-mails for six weeks will inevitably backfire. Refusing to market your work because you hope people somehow find you, love you, and book you with no incentive whatsoever will lead to an empty bank account.

    The things in the sidecar have to be managed in an active manner. To some degree, they’re all a pain in the ass. You just want to write or paint or take photos or teach classes or do yoga or coach your peeps or whatever it is you do, and the sidecar activities aren’t your favorite. But they’re not going away.

    You don’t have to do the work in the sidecar, but someone does.

    Permission to outsource: granted.

    Where can you get yourself another hour a day? Can you hire someone to help you blog, someone to take care of accounting, someone to help you master sales so you don’t have to hustle so freaking hard?

    Where can you get yourself ten minutes a day? Would adding an e-mail autoresponder that says you check e-mail at 11am and 3pm mean you’d let yourself ignore your inbox every evening? Would scheduling your social media posts every Tuesday make it easier to keep up? Would writing canned responses for your top ten most-asked questions lighten your inbox load by 80%? Would admitting that you DON’T WANT EMPLOYEES, EVER, free up mental space for something else?

    Start there — by getting your time back in small chunks. Then actively search for a peep or two to help you.

    Permission to get yourself a partner or seven: granted.

    Haunani has been making me fill out paperwork, booking my travel accommodations and flights, talking to my accountants, managing my payroll, making cashflow projections, and handling vendor relationships for me from the very beginning of Brand Camp. She takes on all the ultra-left-brained, no-wiggle-room type tasks that drive me insane.

    You want me to call our merchant account people? On the phone, to talk about negotiating better credit card processing rates? AHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAH YAH RIGHT. Haunani is on it.

    You want me to wrangle all those documents, print them, review them, sign them, scan them, and fax them back to you? You’ll be waiting until Miley Cyrus is President.

    I have help. You need help, too.

    Don’t tell yourself the sidecar items don’t suck, or that you’ll be fine without them, or that you can do them all if you just try a little harder and wake up a little earlier and double down in your efforts to be Super(wo)man. (Yah, I know all about that, and it doesn’t actually work. You can’t do all the things AND cook three meals a day AND hit the gym for an hour AND keep the house spotless AND return your library books on time AND get the dog walked four times a day AND keep up with the latest Buzzfeed articles AND maintain your sanity if you plan on sleeping in this lifetime.)

    You don’t have to do this whole being-in-business-and-dealing-with-bullshit-tasks-that-suck thing alone. Promise.

    Finally, it’s okay if you can’t accept the sidecar.

    Though it might bring you angst or freak outs or panic attacks, it’s okay if this entrepreneurial thing isn’t for you. Just like not everyone can do ballet and not everyone likes to read books and most people over the age of 30 aren’t good at skateboarding anymore, running your own business isn’t a requirement of living in the modern world.

    Sure, our culture paints owning a business as a glamorous route to freedom and never having to get out of your pajamas again. (How many Facebook ads have you seen that feature the word ‘freedom’ and show someone typing away on a laptop near a beach?)

    But all of business exists on a continuum. Sometimes we get mired in the spreadsheets, sometimes we get to do the sexy stuff like traveling and speaking and hobnobbing with truly awesome people.
    Sometimes we get hate mail, sometimes we get loving snail mail.
    Sometimes we’re facing a season of meager sales, and sometimes we’re rolling in dough.

    IT’S OKAY IF THOSE CYCLES ARE TOO MUCH FOR YOU.

    Permission to quit your business: granted. Even if you’re thousands of dollars in debt and you’ve spent eight years building it to where it is now.
    Permission to scale back your business: granted. Even if you’ve been waiting until the kids go to school to ramp up, and now they’re in school and what you wanted is here and actually, you’re miserable.

    The time you’ve put in as an entrepreneur isn’t wasted.

    You’ve learned shit-tons of stuff. You’ve grown. You’ve mastered certain tasks, you’ve learned to deal with massive uncertainty, and you’ve taken matters into your own hands with varying degrees of success. You’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.

    Just like you would leave a marriage that makes you want to hurl yourself from the top of the nearest skyscraper, you’re allowed to leave behind a business that no longer meets your needs.

    Yes, really. It’s okay if you want to go back to your corporate job, or give up on trying to push your business into a full-time income, or take a year off to figure out what the fuck you actually want to do. It’s okay to stay home with your babies and enjoy them. It’s okay to pursue the other things in your life that are calling to you much more seductively than your current enterprise.

    It’s okay. And it’s time to make peace with all of this. I’ve recorded a whole podcast about the sidecar and these very issues if you want to dive further into this goodness — check out That’s What She Said, episode 4. (Because YES, I do have a podcast, and it’s awesome. Go listen now!)

    Share to FacebookPin Site ImageTweet This Post

    Depression and running a biz // practical help for managing both

    We all have things we’d rather not share.

    There’s the usual: photos of the messy house/child/pet/car/desk/area.  Shamrock Shakes as dinner.  That stack of stuff behind the bedroom door.  The mismatched outfit you wore out of the house before you realized it was sort of tragic.  (Two tie-dyes NEVER match, dammit.)

    There’s the unusual: your cheeseboard fetish.  Your video game collection.  Your curated-to-within-an-inch-of-their-lives bookshelves.

    And then there’s the truly messy stuff of life.  Your doubts, your failures, your depression.  When I talked about my depression more than a year and a half ago in this article, I had no idea how it would strike a nerve with peeps — but lately, they’re asking for more.  Yes, you HAVE depression, but how do you HANDLE it?

    That, my friends, is the topic of the Second That’s What She Said podcast.

    In this episode, you’ll get short, practical, and simple steps for managing both depression and your business without retreating into a hole and hiding until a few months have passed.

    Download it, love it, and listen to it.

    Subscribe here.  If you heart it, please review it on iTunes, as that helps it reach more peeps who are struggling in the same way.

    Share to FacebookPin Site ImageTweet This Post

    Okay, look people. I rarely have girl crushes. Or bro crushes. I’m not a crushy kind of gal, unless Mathew McConaughey shows up and takes off his shirt, and then it is ON.

    But every freaking time I freaking get a freaking e-mail from freaking Sarah Von Bargen, I get all…”OOOOh! She’s a genius! I love her!”  And it’s time to share.

    I want to make out with Sarah Von Bargen (and you will, too)

    Go on, read and enjoy these articles. You’ll thank me later.

    This post about adding personality to your blog is genius. (Yes, I know I already used that word but it’s TRUE.) It also pairs nicely with this post of my own about finding your voice.

    This article will help you set guidelines and boundaries with clients in a painless and fun way.

    She even guest posts like a champion — with self-promotional techniques that don’t feel gross.

    She guest posted on this very blog with 8 clever things to post on your Facebook business page.

    And finally, you can pick up her Wanderlust Workbook to help TAKE A YEAR TO TRAVEL THE WORLD WHILE YOU WORK. We’re soulmates, people. I know it.

    Go, love her Yes and Yes blog and share the crap out of these bad boys.

    ::mwah::

    Share to FacebookPin Site ImageTweet This Post