What a trip to Joshua Tree reminded me about being an entrepreneur

We have been putting in some long hours. We usually do this in waves. We put our heads down, do the work and hustle like crazy and then we take chunks of time off. Or, we create a schedule for a couple weeks that’s light on the commitments and heavy on the Disneyland date days.

So, we had just finished one of those long hauls. Let’s be real here. Jesse and I aren’t an overnight success. We’re underdogs who invest in ourselves and also discipline ourselves to make things happen. And by things, at least this last time around, I mean improve our plan to help you even more. To come alongside you better. To answer your questions faster. To show you we get it and we’re here for you every step of the way on this wild entrepreneur adventure.

Anyway, we had just finished one of those stretches where the stove gets dusty and my eyes are dry from staring at the screen and our brains our mush. The only right choice to make after these marathons is to get outside. To run. To explore. To climb big old boulders and watch the sun dip below the mountains.

And that’s why we planned all that heavy lifting before this Joshua Tree trip. Jesse and I like to map out our intense work weeks, strategically cushioning them with seeing Beauty and the Beast two times in one week and road trips.

We were only there about 24 hours, because we had to get home in time for our client coaching calls on Tuesday and to take our nephews to Disneyland on Thursday. But, you can experience so much beauty, relaxation and joy in just a few hours. Just a few minutes really. When you decide to.

We drove all the way across the entire Joshua Tree National Park. We were visiting my aunt and uncle with my mom and so that was our posse. Driving two minutes, pulling over, skipping through wildflowers, getting back in the car, driving three minutes, pulling over, laughing, breathing in the desert air, smiling at the sun, talking fast + free about all the colors popping out of the brown earth. Because of all the rain Southern California had this winter, the flowers showed up in all their splendor in this super bloom, my new favorite phenomenon that only happens every so often.

It was a sunshiny, beautiful whirlwind. And it made me realize something.

This is what our quick trip to Joshua Tree reminded me about being an entrepreneur…

Those long hauls of crazy work weeks do pay off. The discipline to do the things that not everyone is willing to do, yep!, that pays off, too. The heart + soul we pour into our art and ideas, it’s worth it. It doesn’t always feel like it, when there’s nothing but dry, brown desert dust in our lungs, but…

Oh, the beauty when it all comes together! After dormant winters and struggles and doubts, that super bloom of fulfillment and inquiries and influence you have in your clients’ lives! It is a colorful, perfect daydream come true. And it is waiting for you.

Those flowers will bloom.



Dealing with boredom at a job you created & (most of the time) love

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Boredom has some nasty effects on creative entrepreneurs. It makes us feel lethargic, lazy and drives us into a deep, dark pit of comfy blankets where we watch Arrested Development reruns instead of work. So I’m told.

Don’t get me wrong. Watching Arrested Development reruns IS fun, if we’re taking a day off and are actually happy about our current state. It’s not so fun if creative collapse and/or borderline depression have a foot in the door.

Sometimes boredom exists and we just have to deal with it. As creative people, we want to be inspired and moved and productive all of the time. But that’s not real life. Even if we outsource tasks that aren’t our strengths (accounting, SEO, etc.) and outsource tasks that aren’t the best use of our time, we’re still going to get bored. At these random little moments of resistance, we must push through! Practice discipline. Sit down and do our work!

Boredom usually happens when we get a little too comfortable with routine. Let’s stop getting comfortable with routine! Boredom for creative entrepreneurs looks like this:

1. We’re feeling uninspired.
2. It seems like everyone else is doing something awesome.
3. Thoughts like, “ugh, ick, bleh” run through our heads.
4. We feel antsy every time we sit down to work.
5. Our tasks seem tedious.
6. We’re overwhelmed.

These thoughts/feelings are valid. We can go ahead and slump and pout around our offices. Give a good yell or long and exaggerated sigh. And then, we have to knock it off! Boredom is our own fault. We are creative people, afterall. Let’s get creative with ways to keep our businesses and our mojo for our businesses riproaring in the right direction. There is beautiful and bright light out there, just passed the dark and swampy blahs. We just have some creative problem solving ahead of us. We need to seal up that little black box of boredom and chuck it in the ocean. Intention is half the battle. If we sit at our desks and think, “I’m bored. This sucks. Bleh. Booooooring.” That’s how our days are going to go.

If all we did, as wedding photographers, was meet potential clients, shoot their weddings, edit their weddings, design their wedding albums and deliver their images and did that over and over over and ooooovvvvveeerrrrr again, we’d meet a lot of awesome people and get to be photographers BUT, I’d get bored. Not to sound like I don’t love love and happiness or I don’t enjoy my job, but we crave newness within our routine. We thrive on ideas and adventure. So, we do all of those things over and over and over again, but we’re always giving ourselves new challenges along the way with these tasks and the time we have between these tasks.

A few examples of things we’ve said over at our wedding photography business when boredom crept in:

  • Let’s make a mini vacation out of that New Orleans wedding coming up.
  • How can we streamline album design, so we can get the books to our clients even faster?
  • Editing is getting me doooown. Let’s figure out our options for outsourcing.
  • You know all those people we know dying to learn how to use their DSLRs? Let’s teach them!
  • It’s been a busy few weeks, I’m sick of sitting at my desk, let’s watch Arrested Development reruns and eat ice cream (SEE!).
  • It’s been a busy few weeks, I’m sick of sitting at my desk, sunset run on the bay tonight?
  • Michael & Perrin LOVE film, let’s shoot a roll for their wedding and surprise them with it!
  • Let’s start taking our potential clients to get frozen yogurt instead of going to coffee.

Not every idea has to be monumental. But a little change in direction will get us to that bright, beautiful place where inspiration and productivity are bumping elbows, racing to our doors.