Categories
Business

5 Lessons Learned in the First Year of Motherhood

You may have noticed I’ve been a little quiet this last year. In April of 2018, Jesse and I traveled to China to meet and bring home our daughter. Both of us took an extra 6 weeks off when we got home. And then, Jesse went back to work and I, well, I sort of took a 12-month maternity leave. I mean, I work, but honestly, not that much.


I am so incredibly grateful this has worked for our family. This wasn’t really part of our plan. I’m not sure we knew what this was going to look like. You know, being a parent for the first time. Of a toddler, right off the bat 😉


Being an Enneagram 1 (the perfectionist) and a Myers Briggs INFJ (heavy on the feeler), it’s been a year of big challenges and feelings (like mom guilt, business owner guilt AND also joy and gratitude like I’ve never experienced before, thanks to our sweet and spunky girl).


I have a lot of friends who are high-achieving mamas. They work their booties off on their businesses and their marriages and in mamahood. They do it all. And I’m so inspired by them! But here’s the thing, we’re not all cut from the same cloth. We’re wired differently. Our businesses and families have different needs. Our hearts have different desires. And for us personally, God has called us to something a little more, dare I say in this creative entrepreneur space!, conventional, this last year.


Rather than a post about freebies or funnels or marketing (you’ll find plenty of that in almost every other post over here), today, I’m sharing something super personal. I’m talking about being a mom. This is for you, mamapreneur! Or, soon to be mamapreneur! And, it comes straight from my heart.


5 lessons learned in the first year of motherhood

1. Being a mama is work


I’ve heard it a million times, being a stay at home mom is a job. Probably, the hardest job. But we entrepreneurs have the tendency to feel a little less than if we’re not being productive. Booking clients. Marketing our businesses. Showing our faces on social media. Checking our emails. Creating new freebies. Sketching out new funnels. You. Get. The. Idea. There is a lot to do.


And, when all of a sudden, your productivity comes to a halt or is on maintenance mode (check out No. 2 in this post) instead of growth mode, we feel a little out of sorts. Let me reassure you, taking care of your tiny human counts as work. It counts as productivity. These sweet little faces won’t be sweet and little for long. The creative entrepreneur industry isn’t going anywhere. It’s (more than) okay to trade in your job title for as long as necessary for your family.


2. You are more than a mama

It’s easy to lose ourselves in our babies. They’re so darn cute. And hilarious. And watching their little minds work is so darn fun. But, here’s the thing, they’re also very needy. And (from our experience) when they’re toddlers, they can be feisty and challenging. If you’re a feeler like me, this can be draining. Especially when you’re mom-ing around the clock without any you time.


Get that you time, girl. From the very start. Schedule it. Call out for help. Go for a walk. Do yoga. Sit in the sunshine in silence. Better yet, get in the car (by yourself) and go to Target. Sit in the parking lot and eat chocolate. Have coffee with your girlfriends.


Take care of yourself. WITHOUT FEELING GUILTY. I guess I can’t tell you how to feel, but at least give guilt-free self-care a whirl okay? You’ll be a better mama and business owner because of it.


3. Do what’s best for your family


Maybe you’re an Enneagram 3 and you have the capacity to do and crush it all simultaneously. Yes, girl! Do all the things, if that’s what’s right for your family. Maybe you’re more like me and you need to really concentrate on one thing at a time. Yes, girl! Be the best darn mama with the majority of your time, if that’s what’s right for your family.


Let’s chat real quick about comparison with strangers (and even friends) on social media and in real life, too. You hear a lot about it when it comes to your business. “You do you, Boo.” We hear that time and again. Do what works best for your business. Warning!!! Comparison gets a little more personal, real and harder to shake when it comes to how you’re mom-ing and what you need to mom best. Remember that morning routine we’re always talking about, KEEP A MORNING ROUTINE (to make sure you’re giving space and time for No. 2 above) to keep a positive mindset. Even if that means waking up at 5am to get a quick sweat and shower in.


4. You might feel a little differently about your business


For almost 9 years, our businesses were our babies. They took about our time, energy and excitement. Then, Vera arrived on the scene. Idealust still takes some of our time and energy and we’re still so excited about our coaching clients and Jetsetters and new trainings we have coming up!!! But, in all honesty, it’s just a little different now. At the end of the day, no matter what’s going on in our business, a snuggle and a kiss and laugh and a hilarious game of chase throughout the house with V fills our hearts and minds with joy we didn’t know existed pre-baby.


Side note: This doesn’t mean your business won’t fulfill you anymore. This doesn’t mean you have to quit your dreams because your phone is filled with photos of his/her squishy face instead of potential images for Instagram. This does mean your motivation for work will probably change. And at least some of your hard-earned income will likely be spent on toys and things you swore you’d never buy 😉


5. Time with your spouse is gold


Date nights are fab. But so are 10 minutes sitting at the kitchen table, drinking coffee, talking about the week to come. We spend Wednesday nights with our Life Group from church. Some of our best talks and time connecting are spent in the car, driving to and from Life Group. It feels like the old days when we were dating. Driving. Talking. Laughing.


It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something. Hang out with your spouse. Remind them they’re still No. 1 even though there’s a cutie pie who feels pretty darn close to being a No. 1 who sleeps down the hall.




Moral of the story: Motherhood is going to change you and probably your business (at least a little bit), too. And that’s more than okay. It’s a new season. It’s challenging but oh so beautiful and I’ve felt the most joy and gratitude once I learned to accept and abide by everything I said above. My hope is that these things help you feel all sorts of joy and gratitude, too. xo


What’s the biggest realization you had (are having!?) in your first year of motherhood, while still running a creative business? Talk to me! What’s worked best for you? Would love to hear so we can all learn and grow together <3




Categories
Business

5 mindset shifts you need to make to grow your creative business

We kick off every client’s coaching program talking about mindset. We can (and do!) teach every powerful marketing strategy in the book, but somewhere along the way of gaining momentum and kicking some business booty, it’s bound to happen…

 

The traction comes to a screaming halt (or dies a slower death, either way, it’s not fun). Panic steals Confidence’s spot and you somehow find yourself feeling paralyzed and desperate.

 

No matter how successful you are in business, no matter how many years you’ve been a wedding photographer or any other kind of creative entrepreneur, there are going to be frustrations, challenges or roadblocks that have the power (if you let them!) to knock you on your butt.

 

That’s why it’s so important to spend time to strengthening your mindset. You can’t have a strong business if you don’t have a strong mindset. If you lack one, you lack the other.

 

Okay, so far I sound pretty discouraging. But sugar-coating doesn’t do anybody any good. You get it! You’ve been there! How the heck do you stay as far away as possible from all that ick!?

 

Well, I’ve got 5 mindset shifts you need to make to grow your creative business. I’ve compiled this list from our own experience as wedding photographers and as business coaches for creatives and from the big mindset moves that have transformed our clients’ businesses over the years.

 

1. Give your day a chance.

It’s just too easy to go from waking up on the right side of the bed, ready to take on the world to comparing, criticizing and shaming yourself. Depending on what’s going on in your personal life or what you’re currently facing with your business, that downward spiral can happen in all of 2 seconds. I know because I’ve been there.

 

Take a look at what triggers you. What sets you off in the wrong direction? What makes you feel badly or unworthy? Is it scrolling Instagram when you wake up? Whatever it is, stop dripping those things into your mind and life. Instead, give your day a chance by implementing a morning routine that strengthens your mindset and manages your weaknesses.

 

When you start your day being proactive instead of reactive, you’re much more likely to make smart decisions, experience gratitude more regularly and be the talented creative entrepreneur that you really are instead of feeling like the ghost of the confident girl you once knew.

 

Not sure where to start? Here’s what my morning routine looks like.

 

2. Stop taking everything personally.

I’m an INFJ on Myers-Briggs, heavy on the F (Feeler), so this is one I’m always working on myself! I’m not saying don’t pour your heart into your business or give it your all…of course, there will be times we take things personally as creative entrepreneurs. These businesses of ours are pretty much members of our families.

 

However, there are going to be opinions, mistakes, challenges and setbacks. Not everyone is going to like you. Not everyone is going to say “YES!” to what you’re offering. Potential clients that really, seriously say they’re going to book with you…well, they might not. You’re going to get “NO!”s and you’re going to feel like Forrest Gump when nobody wanted to sit next to him on the bus.

 

And all of this is okay. It hurts. It feels like your world is crumbling. But, it doesn’t have to. Stop taking everything personally. If just for a minute, step outside of the situation. Pretend you’re an outsider looking in and ask yourself, “How can this situation be improved?” rather than saying to yourself, “I’m not good enough, I should have never reached out to _________ or quoted that price or, _________ (anything else you say to yourself when something doesn’t go as planned).”

 

This leads us nicely into the next mindset shift for creatives…

 

3. Learn from mistakes and move on.

Yes, you need to take your business seriously. No, you don’t need to beat yourself up over every mistake or wrong turn. Not every setback needs to settle into a scar.

 

Go ahead and give yourself a few minutes to feel the disappointment of the situation. Then, figure out how you’re going to move forward. The coaching clients of ours that see the biggest, most consistent successes in their businesses are the ones who put their big girl pants on and keep dredging forward, even if they think they can’t or don’t want to in that moment.

 

Of course, you don’t want to keep making that same mistake over and over again, so give yourself some space to see how you can do things differently next time. Write out some alternative actions you can take.

 

4. Be flexible.

This one can be a toughie, especially if you’re a type-A planner and/or perfectionist! Yes, having a game plan, a roadmap, clarity, direction (call it what you will!), is vital if you want to bypass years of indecision and heartache with your business. It’s so important that we started a business centered around it 😉

 

Here’s the catch: Entrepreneurship is full of surprises. There are opportunities and people and things hanging out in your future that right now that you have no way of seeing or knowing! Isn’t that rad!? But that also means, as you’re making decisions, trying new marketing strategies, building relationships, etc. you have to leave a little space for the unknowns and be willing to tweak and switch gears, if needed.

 

Your original game plan might not go 100% according to plan. But, if you have an open mind, are flexible and willing to bob and weave along the way all for the sake of the greater good of your clients, potential clients and personal satisfaction with your business, you’ll be so much better off than standing your ground if what you’re standing on is quicksand.

 

5. Get outside of yourself.

My fifth and last mindset shift I believe you need to make to grow your creative business is to get outside of yourself. I mean this in a few different ways. First of all, yes, you are the only one responsible for the success of your business; but no, that doesn’t mean you need to do it on your own. Get an accountability partner; join a mastermind; or better yet, hire a business coach 😉

 

Secondly, I mean that we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves. To-do lists, monetary goals, hours logged in, clients booked, and the list goes on. It’s easy to get sucked into the, “Oh, I wish I could meet you for a coffee date, but I have too much to do!” blues. Yes, you probably have a lot to do. No, you don’t need to say “Yes!” to every coffee date; however, getting outside of your head, your lists, your goals…it’ll do you good. Besides, building genuine relationships with industry friends is one of the biggest (and most fun!) ways we’ve grown both of our businesses. But, I’ll get into that another day.

 

Tell me! Which of these mindset shifts do you need to make pronto?! I know there’s at least one! Don’t be shy…leave a comment below and start implementing today if you are serious about growing your creative business.

 

 

Categories
Business

How to Use Instagram Stories for Business

If you’re anything like most creatives we know, you probably get hooked into watching Instagram Stories at least a few times a day. That’s cool. I do it, too. I love seeing what our clients and friends are up to. But, wouldn’t it be even cooler if your potential ideal clients were getting hooked into watching your Instagram Stories?!

 

Wouldn’t it be rad if you knew how to get their attention, give them value and how to use Instagram Stories for business?!

 

We see this tool being way underused by creative entrepreneurs. Yes, it’s fun to see some random flybys of where you’re at and what you’re up to, but a lot of the time I just feel like I’m either 1) being sold to over and over and over again or, practically the opposite, 2) there’s little intention or direction with what’s going on!

 

It’s an easy-ish fix to get those Stories up to par, but if you’re anything like me, you want to know why you’re spending your time and energy on Instagram Stories in the first place…

 

(Important side note: Before we dive in, I’d be doing you a disservice if I gave you all the goods below about Instagram Stories without giving you access to the entire content picture that’ll work best for your creative business! But don’t sweat it! We’ve done the work for you with our Content Creation Kit…oh, and heck yes, it’s free! So snag yours super quick and then hop back over here.)

 

How does Instagram Stories benefit your business?

 

  • Quick and authentic way to connect (Remember, the key to profitable marketing is connection, so there is so much potential here!)
  • Gives viewers instant gratification (Blog posts, like this, and newsletters and other lengthier forms of content marketing are so great for giving meaty chunks of value, but IG Stories is perfect for delivering quick tips, humor and brief glances into your brand!)
  • Works great as a supporting tool for Instagram and other platforms (Think of IG Stories as a place to show your audience a quick commercial of something else you have going on on your other platforms!)
  • Easy way to show your everyday-ness, that you’re human, too (Beautiful websites are fab! It’s important to make sure your online storefront is a representation of your talent and passions as a creative entrepreneur, buuuuuut, it’s important not to hide behind them! Your people want to connect with the everyday you!)

 

Okay, you on board for using Stories more intentionally now?!

 

Sweet. Let’s talk about how to do this!

 

What should you say on Instagram Stories?

 

  • Same stuff you’re talking about everywhere else! (Just say it in smaller pieces. Feel free to repurpose little pieces of your blog or even show a different aspect of your Instagram posts, for that matter!)
  • What are you up to? How does it relate to business? (Are you out scouting for a shoot? We want to see! Are you prepping a rad client project? We want to see! Are you eating cereal the same exact way you do every day?! We probably don’t want to see! :-P)
  • Value, vulnerability and entertainment! (What are your ideal clients interested in? What kind of questions are they emailing you about? What areas of your real life can they relate to…marriage, kids, travel? What’s your stance? What do you want to be known for? Creatively (we’ll show you how below!) show pieces of all of these things!)
  • Show what it’s like to work with you! (We prefer to do this in more subtle, behind-the-scenes ways most of the time, so viewers can enjoy Stories without feeling like we’re selling all the time, because that gets old.)

 

Here’s a quick 24-second example of how we’ve used Instagram Stories to encourage a coaching client and simultaneously share a peek behind the scenes of what kind of clients we work with.

 

(Another quick side note: We have an entire workshop where we share everything we know about creating content that connects with your peeps. So if you’re looking for more direction on using not only Instagram Stories, but your blog, newsletter, social media and content marketing, just as a whole, click here to check it out!)

 

Next up…

 

What’s the best way to share your content on Instagram Stories?

 

  • Personally – Show your face! Show us your quirks! Stay on brand!
  • Creatively – Be an art director! Use all those funky filters and tools to bring your story to life.
  • Concisely – Have a plan! Map it out! Get their attention and get to the point!
  • Completely – Tell an actual story!

 

Here’s another quick example (this one is 55 seconds) from one of our real life IG Stories. Watch for transitions; watch for use of color, movement and different angles; watch for the beginning, middle and end!

 


 

We believe Instagram Stories is much, much more than a fun, filter-y way to horse around on social media. We believe it is a key tool to modern marketing, especially for creative entrepreneurs who have some helpful media skills up their sleeves! When approached with intention and plenty of practice, Instagram Stories is a powerful marketing platform that has potential to bring raving fans and clients in the door.

 

If you want to jumpstart your content marketing game plan, grab our free Content Creation Kit (it even includes a weekly posting schedule!) so you know exactly what to post about on all your favorite platforms 🙂   

 

 

 

Categories
Business

14 creative entrepreneur leaders give advice for a successful 2018

As business coaches for creatives, we chat a lot with our clients about what they should be focusing on and when they should be focusing on those things.  But, there isn’t a magic formula that works exactly the same for everyone. There is so much to consider (our clients’ strengths, their experience, their goals, their audience, their lifestyle, what’s working best in the industry, what’s working best in other industries, etc.) when it comes to creating that custom game plan.

 

Maybe you already have your Word of the Year! Maybe you’ve sort of sifted through what you think you should/want to/need to focus on in 2018? Whether you have that tidy roadmap yet or not, we recommend soaking up some free and incredible advice from some of the top leaders and educators in creative spaces.

 

We asked some of our favorite people (some just happen to be friends, too!) leading the creative industries one question in hopes that their answers, all compiled together would give you…

 

  1. Encouragement as you head into 2018
  2. Direction as you’re trying to decide how you want this year to go
  3. Permission to figure out what works best for you and not do it all
  4. Hall pass to skip some of the business mistakes they’ve/we’ve had to overcome
  5. Insight into what industry leaders are up to and seeing if those things spark creativity or clarity for you

And so, we asked these super smart entrepreneurs…

 

If you had to choose one thing creatives should focus on in 2018, what would it be?

 

Focus on what you don’t have to do! I didn’t realize until the last couple of years that if I truly wanted to grow my business, I had to think like a growing business. When I started paying my sister $15/hr to do some work two years ago, I never could have imagined the growth and freedom we would eventually experience! Make sure you create space and margin in your life for your big goals to happen! // Katelyn James

 

 

Don’t let dollar signs blind you from your mission. // Brooke Saxon-Spencer, Belong Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For us, 2018 is all about structured flexibility. We’re going to set ambitious goals in every area of our life, and put a written plan in place to achieve every single one of them, while at the same time giving ourselves enough grace and margin to be flexible as we adapt to our new role as parents. // Amy & Jordan

 

 

Tune out all the noise and focus on your unique assignment here on this earth. // Lara Casey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make time to connect with people you admire, connect with people you can offer advice to, and connect with people who encourage you and support you. Make a list of people you want to connect with in 2018 and make it happen! Say yes when people reach out for advice, and at the same time reach out yourself. // Joanna Waterfall, Yellow Conference

 

 

We need to focus on doing it differently. The more and more the industry grows and the more crowded the space gets, it’s more important now than ever to lean on the creative part of creative entrepreneur. The principles of marketing won’t change. But it’s time for us to master the principles, and then do them differently. How can we elevate our content? How can we give a more high-touch experience? What can we do that shakes things up? // Ashlyn Carter, Ashlyn Writes

 

 

Focus on building relationships and creating video content. // Davey & Krista

 

 

 

 

 

 

My biggest mistake in past years has been rushing into the year with so many to-dos, too many ideas and no sense of direction. 2017 was the first time I took time to plan, look ahead and figure out what worked for my business (not what was working for everyone else’s) and in return, it was my most fun and profitable year in business! There’s something to be said for stepping back, waiting and making intentional moves forward! // Kat Schmoyer, Creative at Heart Conference

 

 

Declutter. The constant jumble of excess stuff leads to such discontentment for me, so focusing on getting rid of what doesn’t matter to make more room for what does matter makes an enormous difference in not just my job satisfaction, but my bottom line as well. // Abby Grace

 

 

 

The phrase echoing in my head for 2018? Do the things you need to do. It may sound simple, but it’s hard work figuring out what those things are, what they aren’t (hello, essentialism!), and cultivating the discipline and accountability required to do them well…. hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and beyond. But hey, the results will be worth it… right? // Jen Olmstead, Tonic Site Shop

 

 

Go after what makes you feel alive and take big risks to cross dreams off your list! Get off the sidelines and into the game! // Carrie Grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s focus on focus! Give your best time only to what moves the needle in your business (and real life!) and forget the rest. Routinely asking this question from Gary Keller (author of The One Thing) has revolutionized my approach to work… “What’s the one thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” // Callie Lindsey

 

 

 

Celebrating and sharing what makes you you! You have something so special to offer, just by being who you are. Your unique approach to your business and client experience matters… so what can you do in 2018 to let your light shine? // Andra Barkey & Kelly Zugay, With Grace and Gold

 

 

 

 

Part a) What do you want to be known for? It’s a big question. But, what good is it to build a business around something that doesn’t include the answer to that question! Part b) Have a plan. A roadmap. We’re talking marketing. We’re talking strategy. We’re talking business moves that feel like the perfect representation of you and business moves that feel uncomfortable (maybe it’s using more video!?) that not many others are willing to do.  // Becky & Jesse Morquecho (Yours truly!), Idealust

 

What stands out to you? What lines up with how you want your year to go? What words jumped out at you? What inspired you to take a different approach to 2018? We’d love to hear in the comments below 🙂

 

 

 

Categories
Adventure

Hot tubbing, Settlers of Catan + Skiing in a Winter Wonderland

Jesse and I say every winter, “We totally have to go skiing/snowboarding this year!” We play in the waves pretty often but it’s been forever since we’ve played in the snow. So, we planned a little getaway with some of our friends, to hunker down in a log cabin-y Airbnb in Lake Tahoe.

They had been getting snow for weeks before we arrived. And as we made the drive toward the lake, winding through white-walled roads with hidden street signs, that kid-on-Christmas excitement filled me all the way up.

We couldn’t believe the mounds of snow! And the big, fluffy flakes just kept on falling. We’d shovel the deck, for easier access to the hot tub and a couple hours later, inches had piled again. It was the most beautiful winter wonderland I’ve seen!

 

Jesse flew his drone and built his first snowman EVER (remember, he’s a Socal boy). I shoveled the driveway for fun and to get a workout (remember, I was born and raised in Wisconsin AND I love exercise). We sledded. He snowboarded. I skiied. We spent HOURS playing Settlers of Catan, thanks to Amy + Jordan (which is REALLY thanks to our friends Anna + Ryan)! We spent HOURS talking and laughing in the hot tub. Jesse + Cole got some Sherpa work in. (A new business these brilliant boys are working on!) Nicole made us the perfect chili for cozying up in our warm Airbnb as we watched out the window as the snow fell.

  

Lake Tahoe, we’ll be back. Same time next year sounds good to me.

 

 

Categories
Business

7 Things We Stand For

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Maybe you’ve been around for a while and you have a good idea of what we’re all about. Or, maybe you’re new to Idealust, new to us, and you’re thinking to yourself…

“Hmm. Becky + Jesse seem alright, but I’m just not quite sure yet.” That’s cool! We get it! There are LOTS of posts darting around out there in cyber space! But here’s the thing, we don’t want to be another random business that emails you about business coaching for creatives. We want to know what’s going on in your world (so we know how to best help you!) and we also want to be super transparent about who we are.

Sooooo…

In case you aren’t sure if you know what we’re all about or what we stand for, we figured we’d come right out and tell you 🙂

  1. We believe morning routines + date nights are sacred.
  2. We believe in getting outside of our comfort zones, in all areas of our life. Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) that feels awkward and uncomfortable. But, that’s the point. We know firsthand that’s where all the good stuff happens. What does this actually look like? Good question…
    • Going to CrossFit when we aren’t thrilled about the work out.
    • Getting in the same room with and building relationships with those who we admire.
    • Being frustrated that something isn’t working (even though we’ve tried a handful of times) in our business and not giving up. Tweaking our efforts and trying, YET AGAIN.
    • Adopting a baby!
  3. We believe that we discover our best ideas after soaking up copious amounts of sunshine and riding our beach cruisers or playing in the waves or hiking up mountains or taking road trips. Fresh air is, quite literally, one of our business partners. 😉
  4. We believe in doing what we were designed to do…and I don’t mean only with Idealust, I mean making the most out of absolutely everything we’ve been given (opportunities, skills, passions, etc.) and that’s why we feel so ALIVE!
  5. We believe we all have the freedom + capability to create the lives we want for ourselves.
  6. We believe that kindness + gratitude are key ingredients to being a successful entrepreneur.
  7. We believe that not everyone was created to be an entrepreneur, but those who are, well, it’s undeniable. Those dreams + ideas don’t fade away. You can’t sweep them under the rug. We believe there’s only one way to see if they’ll make it, and that’s to offer those dreams a chance. And we want to help you. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we started Idealust 🙂

I feel like maybe we can be friends now?

Categories
Business

What Do You Want to be Known For?

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If you could be truly excellent at only one thing, what would it be?

That’s a pretty intense question.

For all you Parks & Rec fans…”Am I right, Justin?”

In the sea of books that sits on our coffee table, I picked Essentialism, one I’ve been wanting to get to for a while. For me, in a time of big ideas, big moves, big decisions and big excitement in our life and business, it’s now more important than ever for me to stick to my guns. I like to help where I’m needed. I love to be part of all movements and ideas that support and encourage people to maximize their efforts and lives. I have a tendency to say YES! because I really do want to be part of all the rad things going on in this crazy creative entrepreneur world!

But guess what? If I say YES! to everything that comes my way, I’m letting other people’s agendas set the course and game plan for my time. If I say YES! to all that’s around me, I have to say NO! to the ideas and passions within me. Not sure about you, but I want to get those ideas and passions out in the world! I want to give them room to breathe, grow and manifest into the greatness I know there’s potential for them to be! And, in order for that to happen, I need to cut through all the noise and figure out what’s essential to me. What’s essential to our business. What’s essential in our life?

In this busy season of holiday parties, consumerism and high-demands, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed because you are also trying to make your dreams come true, and that takes time and effort and strategy. We encourage you to take some time to focus on these things, so you don’t get sucked up into the abyss…

What do you want to be known for?
What are you deeply passionate about?
What are your strengths and how do you enjoy using them?
What do you stand for?

Answer those questions. Prioritize all tasks that help you live a life and run a business that clearly represent who you are and what you’re working to achieve! Say NO! to the rest.

“We aren’t looking for a plethora of good things to do. We are looking for the one where we can make our absolutely highest point of contribution.” – Greg McKeown

Categories
Business Personal

Confessions of a Business Coach

I have shed some tears of frustration about our businesses. I have had ideas that just didn’t work. I have compared myself to other entrepreneurs, so much so, that my husband has had to ban me from social media. WHOA. Oh, the confessions of a business coach!

Have you been there?

If you’re there right now, I just have to say, YOU WILL GET THROUGH IT!

We get it. We’ve been there. And, as business coaches for creative entrepreneurs, we’re here to cheer you right out of that slump and equip you for success.

Categories
Business

Rip Off the Band-Aid

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You won’t see flat lays in our Instagram gallery.

A couple things to note before we get into this:

  1. In case you’re not familiar with the term flat lay, it’s this…styled photo of items. This could be: things on your desk, coffee + food, flowers, makeup, books, clothing, anything really! I’m sure you’ve seen them! They are typically clean, minimal + beautiful. An aerial view from above of a styled group of items.
  2. I do not dislike flat lays (I actually think they are very pretty!) or the incredibly creative + talented people I know (and don’t know) who curate, photograph and post them on their Instagram accounts. It’s just something I don’t do. It’s not how I think or dream or create.

And that’s okay.

In fact, it’s more than okay.

Think of that old saying…

“If So-and-So jumped off a bridge, would you?!” And we’re all like, “Duh! Of course not!”

But then we translate that to…

“If So-and-So (who happens to have 77K followers on Instagram) posts flat lays, does that mean you should to?!” And we’re all like, “Hmm. Not sure. Maybe?”

The answer is…
If you want to!
If it works for you!
If it works for your audience!
If it’s worth your time + efforts!
If it will get you where you want to go!

Once in a blue moon, you’ll see something sort of like a flat lay in our Instagram gallery. It’s not who we are, so we pour our energy elsewhere.

Now, this might seem suuuuuuper trivial. Like, who cares if we post a certain type of image on Instagram. But, it brings up such a vital topic, one we chat about regularly with our clients…

Just because successful So-and-So uses/writes/shoots/edits/says/acts/dresses/does anything a certain way (and it’s working really well for them), that doesn’t mean it’ll work well for you, or is you, for that matter. It’s less about the actual thing they’re doing that’s bringing success and more about how they’re tapping into their true, authentic self + brand…that’s what’s working for them.

This online world of comparison is getting out of hand. I see so many creatives trying so hard to be someone they’re not. And, I get it! It’s rough seeing her succeed when you’re trying hard and nothing is happening the way you want it to. But, I think that’s the problem…

Sometimes, we try too hard. We need to slough off the excess. The facade. The characteristics + decisions we’ve adopted + made because they worked for someone else. We need to say, “Forget flat lays! (And everything they represent in this example!)”

Get back to the core of your business. Get back to your talents. Your creative genius zone. Not hers.

Here are 3 questions you can ask yourself to get back to (or,  get to for the first time ever!) that space that is your very own, so you can make darn well sure that everything you’re putting out in the world (social media posts, emails, images, etc.) feels like and lines up with who you are + the essence of YOUR brand.

1. What are your strengths and are you making the most of them?
2. What do your clients + friends love about you?
3. What makes you different from others in your industry?

These are just 3 of the 16 questions we prompt you to work through in the first of four sections of our Brandmap. There are 4 key steps to creating a stand-out (and true to you!) brand in this noisy world. Being authentic (and ditching flat lays, if you want!) is the first piece of the puzzle.

TK finish…Brandmap button….

As you begin to gain confidence in your brand, you’ll find what works best for you. From there, you’ll create a masterpiece. A beautiful, successful business. A beautiful, honest life…

Categories
Personal

Live authentically

gallery_idealust limelife photography photographers for creative entrepreneurs_spinning at beach-1

 

Gutsy go-getters meet our guest contributor Natalie Edwards HERE!

A painfully shy child and someone who still felt her words weren’t particularly valid in her twenties; I have learned some profound lessons about the importance of speaking the truth and being authentic now that I’m a business owner. It was my yoga teacher Ana Forrest who first introduced me to the idea that to be truly great, I was going to have to stop editing myself. I had spent my whole life presenting a cut-and-paste version of who I was to others because I didn’t believe what I had to say held any value. Saying what I really thought was never something that came easily for me, and I would prefer to sit on the sidelines for fear of offending someone or looking stupid, therefore never allowing my true personality to shine through. But something beautiful happens when we begin to tap into our authenticity and speak the truth.

The first time I shared a very personal story on my blog about my struggle with addictions at what was a particularly turbulent time in my life (bad break-up, low self-esteem and deep-seated body image issues), I was overwhelmed by the response. I got the highest number of opens and clicks I’d ever had on an email and I also had the highest number of coaching inquiries since I had started my business, not to mention lovely emails and comments, and all because I spoke my truth and shared a piece of my heart with the world. I bared my soul and I was honest about my experiences and what they’d taught me. Although it can feel scary to do this, I believe the more authentic and truthful we are in whatever we do, the more we draw our true tribe to us.
“Although it can feel scary to do this, I believe the more authentic and truthful we are in whatever we do, the more we draw our true tribe to us.”

Where are you pretending in life or in business right now and perhaps dulling yourself down or editing yourself because you think that’s how you ‘should’ present yourself to others? What truth are you longing to share but are scared to?

When we speak the truth and share our personal story, we shine a bright light for others to do the same and for people to feel they can open up and trust us. In a world full of bullshit and niceties, people appreciate and are attracted to the truth. In the same vein, they are also repelled by it and that’s okay. I also happened to receive the most unsubscribes I’ve ever had from that email, but you’ll notice how I didn’t lead with that news because it’s not a negative, it simply means they weren’t ‘my’ people, and I wasn’t their cup of tea. No problem. Each time we speak the truth, not everybody is going to like it or agree with it, but what matters is that you’re being true to YOU, and you’re attracting the people who are meant to be in your life or business, and this, in my opinion, is the only way to live. Truthfully, openly, authentically.

So speak your truth. The world needs to hear it.