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Adventure Personal

The Best News of Our Lives!!!

We got the call.

 

THE CALL.

 

The one we’ve been waiting for since December 2016. This adoption process has been long. And trying. And it’s changed us. Did I mention long!? (We started the process in October of 2015.) We surpassed the 4-10 month estimated wait to receive a referral and waited almost exactly 12 months for this call.

 

But, we finally got The Call!!!! You know what this means?!

 

WE KNOW WHO OUR DAUGHTER IS!! THANK YOU, JESUS!

 

(YES, I AM YELLING!!!)

 

She is beautiful. She is happy. She makes us smile SO BIG. I can’t believe her birthdate (but we can’t share that yet) or where in China she’s from (we can’t share that yet, either). I also can’t believe (but should have known all along) how God has been taking care of her. It’s almost too much for me to bear, his overwhelming love and creative attention to detail in her little life. In how she fits into ours.

 

A few things you might be wondering…

 

How old is she?

About 17 months old.

 

What is her name?
We don’t know her name given at birth, but we do know her Chinese name, given from the orphanage (we can’t share it yet).

 

Will you be giving her a new name?
Yes, we will. We’ve known her name for the last almost 3 years! We may or may not be sharing that over on my personal blog 😉

 

When will you go to China?
Probably April, but we don’t have exact dates from our adoption agency yet. We’ll likely get the exact dates 3-4 weeks prior to travel.

 

How long will you be there?
We will be in China for about two weeks. We’ll be traveling to a few different cities for various appointments (medical, passport, consulate, etc.) Neither of us has been to China before.

 

Is she yours, for good then?
She sure is. Forever and ever.

 

How did you decide to adopt from China in the first place?
It’s a long story, but you can read about a glimpse of that answer here.

 

When did you get The Call?
Wednesday, December 6th, 2017 at 11:01am PST 😉 We were driving to the gym. I was crying my eyes out before the phone rang. Read the whole story here.

 

Can you pretty please tell me more?!
Yes, we can! There’s lots more about the day we got The Call, our daughter and how we’re doing about all of this over on my personal blog.

 

Not everyone gets this entrepreneur life. Because yes, admittedly, sometimes it’s cray.

 

You know why we do it though? I’m guessing they’re the same reasons you do it, too.

 

Travel is rad!
Flexible schedules are the best!
Unlimited (if you want) vacation days are a treat!
Doing what you love with people you love is seriously a gift!

 

But, here’s the deal, all of this is so incredibly wonderful because now, Jesse and I get to go to China for two weeks to meet and scoop up our DAUGHTER, without having to ask anyone if we can. We get to work from home, practically 24/7 and give our DAUGHTER a safe, secure and happy home.

 

And that freedom, that opportunity, that lifestyle…well, it doesn’t compare to anything else in the whole wide world.

 

 

 

Categories
Business

My 5 wisest words of advice for creative entrepreneurs

In the last 8 years, Jesse and I have created two businesses. The whole point of this entrepreneur adventure, for us, is to share all we have with the world and hopefully by doing this, we’ve made someone’s life better. Oh, and we definitely dig mid-day bike rides and soaking up sunshine on the coast (which certainly has something to do with us living and loving this gig, too).

Since a quarter of my life has now been spent in entrepreneurship, and I’ve had approximately 97 meltdowns along the way, I figured I’d share with you what I do know. My lessons learned over the years. My 5 wisest words of advice for creative entrepreneurs…

Grace
Take it easy on yourself. No matter what you do or don’t do; no matter if you meet your expectations for yourself or not, give yourself some grace. We are our own worst enemies. Think of the respect, grace and understanding you offer your best friend when times are tough. Are you that kind to yourself? I know I’m not, a lot of the time, because perfectionism wiggles its way into my mind and I can be really hard on myself. But the more intentionally I work on grace, the less disappointed I am. I am happier, freer and actually more productive and successful.

Boundaries
There are two ways I’ve learned to use boundaries to my advantage. The first is probably the most obvious: establish boundaries for work/life balance. Shut the office door at night. Put fun, social, personal things on the calendar first each week, so you don’t run yourself into the ground. Create office hours. STICK TO THE OFFICE HOURS.

The second way is this: Guard your heart. Not everyone is going to understand, be interested in or possibly even support your ideas and decisions in entrepreneurship. That’s okay. Keep those relationships about something else. Don’t pour out your heart about your business dreams to these people if you know their response will disappoint you. There are so many people who DO get it (umm, hello, we’re right HERE!!!).

Strategy
The fastest way to get to where you want to be is by having a strategy. This comes in all shapes and sizes, for all sorts of things like networking, how you spend your time working on your business and in your business, social media advertising, marketing . . . you name it, you need to have a strategy for it!

Ask yourself: What is my purpose? What can I do with this partnership, Instagram post or conference I’m going to that will better my business and take me to the next level? How can I make this a win-win situation for everyone involved? If strategy isn’t your strength (yet), write one of these questions on a Post-it and put it on your computer as a reminder to guide your business in that direction.

Persistence
Those who make it to the top of the mountain have had plenty of crummy days in the valley. But the reason they “made it”? Persistence. You will doubt your dreams. You will want to give up, for good. Don’t do that! Instead, cry it out. Do some yoga. Just breathe, and maybe get yourself a brownie, too. And then, tweak your plan and try again. Repeat after me:

“Fear, pride, comparison, naysayers, self-doubt and failure will not stop me from living to my fullest potential.”

Use those challenges and setbacks to grow and position yourself as a leader whose ways are tried and true.

Gratitude
Gratitude is a cure-all. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy and experience true joy. And it’s the absolute BEST way to start your day. Even in the crappiest of situations, there’s something to be grateful for. Nothing is too little to go unnoticed either! Wake up each day and set the tone for all that’s to come. Make it a new habit to inject gratitude into your day.

Soon, this new habit will shape your new sunshiny perspective. This is HUGE when you’re a business owner because there will always be ups and downs. The more successful you become, the more potential there is for complicated challenges. Gratitude is one vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to a solid mindset.

No matter what situation I’m in or challenge I’m facing, one of these words is usually the answer. Try them out. Let me know what words have taught you the most and help you be and do everything you’ve dreamed up for your business!

Categories
Business

I’m So Over Instagram

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Don’t get me wrong; it’s my favorite social media platform. We normally rave about it. We even have a course teaching you how to use Instagram + Facebook ads. We know how powerful a tool it is to build relationships + make money. Buuuuut…

It’s causing people we know + love unneeded stress.
It’s stealing time from other profit-producing activities.
It’s making people feel like they’re not good enough or cool enough (including me, at times!)

Instagram is all the rage right now. We totally get it! It can help you do incredible things in your business. But I wanted to check in with you and ask you a few things I ask myself every now and then…

  1. Is the time you’re spending on Instagram taking away from other important parts of your business?
  2. Are you taking all this community and encouragement OFFLINE (partnerships, coffee dates, sending referrals to these new Insta-friends)?
  3. Do you feel life So-and-So’s success is making you jealous?
  4. Are you connecting with people on Insta that make sense for YOU and YOUR business to connect with?
  5. Are you missing out on real life relationships because you’re on Instagram or looking for an Insta-worthy moment?

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in exciting movements + #hashtags. I just wanted to shoot it to you straight today…

Remember who you are, what your strengths are and why you started this business in the first place. Use Instagram to connect, encourage and be real with your people. Just don’t let it steal your confidence, joy + too many hours of your life! Create a content plan and posting schedule. Get in and get out and get on with sharing your beauty + creativity with the rest of the world!

Go get ’em (on + offline)!

Categories
Business

7 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Breeze Through Setbacks

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We all do it. No matter how far we’ve come or how successful we are, we all do it every now and then. We FREAK OUT!!! PANIC!!! We feel like life is over because of a setback or failure that feels like a dagger through the heart. The intensity of how much we feel these setbacks is valid, considering the amount of effort and soul we pour into our work and businesses.

But I’m here to tell you that failing is fabulous! Because guess what, you’re likely in this place because you put yourself out there, tried something new and got outside of your comfort zone and that, no matter what the outcome, deserves something so much greater than what we have the tendency to reward ourselves with. And even though you feel like throwing in the towel, you have an opportunity to take this setback and turn the bus around!

So, when you’re in freak out mode because something didn’t go as well as you’d hoped and you’re panicking about the state of your business and the state of your perseverance, here are 7 ways entrepreneurs can breeze through setbacks and get back to your go-getting, confident, money-making self in no time.

1. Get it all out.
I’m a firm believer in purging yourself of all limiting beliefs, negativity, self-doubt, fear, disappointment, frustrations, etc. as soon as possible. Vent. Cry. Be upset. But give yourself a time limit for all of this, because you have some really important steps to take next. Whatever you do, don’t stop here.

2. Focus on what you already have.
This is a great time for gratitude. Think about how far you have already come! Think about all the people who have worked with you and raved about you, your products or services. Go ahead, read all your incredible reviews. Also, take inventory of your current clients’ satisfaction level. Is there anything you can do to improve their experience? Go do that.

3. Shift your mindset.
A big part of why that setback sent you reeling is likely because you haven’t been strengthening your mindset enough as you should be. Have you been sticking to your morning routine? Check out The Miracle Morning. Page through Think & Grow Rich. Get off social media for a few days; no need to compare yourself to others in this fragile state. Instead, work on getting your confidence back ASAP.

4. Create a game plan.
Think back to what got you through your last setback. What worked for you? Do those things! What didn’t? Don’t do those things! If you’ve veered from your strengths, get back to them! Do what you’re good at and confident in to gain traction and momentum.

5. Add value for others.
It’s so easy to be self-absorbed when things aren’t going our way. When all you can think about is how you wish you could just catch a break, go be that break for someone else. Get outside of yourself and see what you can do to help someone else succeed. I promise this will make you feel better AND by providing value for others, down the road, they will provide value for you.

6. Seek advice from the wise.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. A lot of times, the answer to your problem is simple and just requires you to do a little tweaking. Get advice from your coach, mentor or other successful entrepreneurs in your life. Learn from their challenges, setbacks, and failures. Model after their perseverance and strategies.

7. Trust in the process.
You’ve likely been here before. I have. I have been in that place numerous times over my 7 years as an entrepreneur, and you know what, it always works itself out. So, trust in the process. Know that you will have another chance to accomplish what you hoped to do the first time around. Use this setback to make version 2.0 that much better! And then, get back to work.

You got this!

Categories
Business

We Are Strikingly Different

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We are very different from a lot of those around us. Those climbing 9-5 ladders. Those working on house projects one weekend after the next. There are people in our life doing these things. And we love them so. We are just strikingly different.
Our goals are rooted in freedom, creativity, travel and living out passion and skills we’ve been given. We are working toward working from a hammock in Costa Rica, and someday (hopefully not for a very long time!) dying empty, with all of our ideas and efforts left to better the world.

The contrast in lifestyle is apparent. And as a whole, it makes a lovely picture. But it’s so important to find community on our side of the fence. So, the distinct line continues to portray beauty, not hardship. Take some time this week to build your creative entrepreneur community. Schedule a coffee/work date with someone you know or someone you’d like to get to know. Take time to encourage and genuinely compliment those you bump into on social media. Freely and enthusiastically give out high-fives to other creatives, who are hustling but may be feeling stuck or too much like a #solopreneur.

We’ve all been there. We’ve felt isolated and like we don’t quite fit in with those on the other side of the fence. We don’t. We are #gutsygogetters. But that’s why fulfilling our purpose is so important. Being who we’re meant to be makes for a perfectly beautiful and balanced picture.

So remember, you are strikingly different. And that’s a good thing.

Categories
Adventure

Paper football showdown

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You know that voice that tells you it’s not going to happen, you’re just not going to win or make it or get what you want out of all of this? Get some duct tape and force that loud mouth to shut it. You know why? Anything is possible. Yeah, yeah, that’s cliche. But I know it’s true because I won a game of paper football that no one would have EVER guessed I would.

In-N-Out is our favorite place to play our version of paper football. The white slippery tables are perfect for sliding our meticulously folded receipts. If you haven’t had the pleasure of dining with us and aren’t familiar, each player pushes, tosses, slides or flicks the paper triangle across the table. You get a point if any part of the football hangs over your opponent’s edge. Back and forth. Back and forth. The game ends immediately upon hearing your order number called. Whoever is in the lead at that moment, wins.

I usually win. (Jesse will argue that statement. But come on, who are you going to trust?) But that one particular day, I wasn’t doing so hot. Jesse had the lead. 6 to 0. Bum town. 7 to 0. He was on a roll. 8 to 0. He was talking some heavy smack. I couldn’t wait for my burger to get to the table. Then, I got 1. And another. Our number was called. But, lo and behold, they brought us the wrong order! Game on. I still had a chance. Back and forth went the black and white receipt. Back and forth went the lead.

What happened next was wild. Never seen before in any of our MANY games of paper football. I got 9 points in a row and took the title (for a day). 15 to 9. I literally went from being all slouchy and defeated in our white burger booth to shaking my triumphant fists in the air.

Never underestimate how quickly the game can change. Never underestimate how quickly the game can change.

You’re trying new tactics and techniques, but you just can’t seem to make it to the edge of the table. You’re so close. You might have to make some big changes or change your perspective, altogether. You might have to scrap an idea, an approach, and work another angle. DO NOT GIVE UP. Something will pan out. You’ll book a new client. You’ll sell that piece you’ve been wanting to. You’ll meet someone who knows someone who’s exactly the someone you needed to meet.

This whole full-time entrepreneur life isn’t for the faint of heart. Success seems to come in waves. There are lots of valleys and mountaintops. When you’re working your way through those darn valleys, keep your head down. Keep making little itty bits of progress. It may not feel like it at the time, but those tiny steps forward add up in a BIG way. No matter how gradual or quickly that momentum comes, it’s key to win the game. Use it to your advantage. Let your adrenaline drive you to keep pushing, tossing, sliding. You’ll get there.

And when you do, as you shake your triumphant fists in the air, think back to that scoreboard when you felt like a zero, and celebrate all you’ve accomplished. Maybe with a chocolate shake.

Categories
Business

The Early Years of Entrepreneurship

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It was one of the happiest days of our life. Jesse called me from the car to say he was on his way home from his day job for the last time.

Part-time jobs. Full-time jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Security? Hmm, that’s debatable.

Three years prior, in early 2009, we blindly started a photography business. We had passion. We had some talent. A lot more passion. And we had other jobs. Part-time jobs. Full-time jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Security? Hmm, that’s debatable. But we had consistent paychecks for a while. At the end of 2010, we decided that I’d go full time Limelife Photography and Jesse would keep his full-time job so we’d have good insurance and security. We would shoot together, but I was to manage the business and clients we had and attempt to get a lot more. This was a step in the right direction. There was a little bit of relief and a ridiculous amount of hard work to come for both of us. We sacrificed in different ways to grow our business and simultaneously keep our marriage on the right track. The early years of entrepreneurship were rough.

Jesse would come home from a 15-hour day and I’d greet him with an attempt at dinner and a day’s worth of “This is what happened at Limelife…” I had to tell him everything! He was my business partner. My hubby. I needed to bounce ideas off my other creative half. I needed his opinion. I needed his okay on decisions & projects. And he needed me to shut up. He had just spent 12 hours in an ER cleaning up all sorts of nastiness, CPR-ing for long stretches and assisting in stabilizing organs and other important body parts. And he was going back again tomorrow. He was in need of downtime and Limelife was in need of momentum.

And we hung on tight to that “security.” To the “stability.” We clung to that job just in case.

We did this for almost two more years. Eventually, Jesse’s job went from full time to part time. And we hung on tight to that “security.” To the “stability.” We clung to that job just in case. Every couple weeks we’d have a hard conversation about how to make it work better. How to maximize our working time together and our days off. We read business books, dreamed of the future and talked about someday when we could afford to make it all happen.

After a lot of prayer and hashing out worst case scenarios, we came to this conclusion: We’ll never know if we don’t try it. And if we don’t try it now, who’s to say we ever will?

My heart was pumping super fast. He’d be home in 30 minutes. I scrambled around the office, the living room, the bedroom, the bathroom hunting for the book and quote I knew existed somewhere in our 1,000 square-foot world. I flipped pages and pages and pages. And then I found it. I took a bright orange Sharpe from my pretty collection and wrote it neatly, excitedly. And then, next to all sorts of congratulations signs I made for him, I clipped this one up on an Ikea gallery wire. Right next to his desk. His new full-time workspace.

We jumped. We got unstuck. We decided to act on our dream. Act on our LIFE. We left luke warm and went for bold. Went for guts. Went for risk and ruckus. And now, we’re alive and kicking and running with momentum. Sometimes it’s scary. But it’s the life for us. It’s hard work and it’s freedom. It’s creativity. It’s big ideas. It’s being together. It’s running wild. It’s adventure. It’s not for everyone. But it IS for a lot more people that know it yet. And we’re determined to spread the word. Share our experiences and realities and ridiculous moments to give those peeps a kick in the pants and lots of love along the way.

When Jesse walked in the door that day, there was no need for me to try to fill him in on what I’d been up to with the business. Instead, we stood in the office and hugged and cried and smiled and thanked God for that moment. For everything He’d done up till that point and everything that was about to happen. And then he sat at his desk and read a piece of crinkled printer paper. Thank you, Woodrow Wilson, “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with great vision, and with finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world.”

Ahh.

Categories
Business

Tips for introverted entrepreneurs

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I’m an outgoing introvert. I like hanging out in small groups, for a while, and then I like to come home and get into my sweatpants. You may or may not find me wearing those same sweatpants the next morning at work, in our home office. If I STILL have those same sweatpants on that evening, I know things have gotten out of hand and it’s time for me to go for a bike ride, meet a friend for coffee, or just take a shower.

It’s not just good hygiene. It’s good business.

I learned early on in entrepreneurship that it’s super important to be intentional with your schedule, especially as an introvert. As self-motivated as I am, too many office days in a row make me feel depressed. Too many meetings, shoots or events in a row drain me. Balance is king. It keeps me sane, and it forces me to get outside of my comfort zone and outside of myself!

Introverted entrepreneurs! Ditch the sweatpants and ditch the comfort zone. Staring at your computer won’t spark any creativity. I know you might just want to be alone. You might already have a long list of reasons why it’s okay that you’re a shut-in. BUT IT’S NOT OKAY! Being around other people can be hard work for us introverts. But we have to use our strengths to our advantage (small groups & one-on-one conversations), rather than letting our weaknesses (ginormous networking events or ANY room full of more more than 5 people) get the best of us.

A few tips for introverted entrepreneurs:

  • Hang out with other creatives, in small groups.
  • Make yourself go to one event a quarter that leaves you craving sweatpants and alone time.
  • Just listen. Be a sounding board for someone without co-workers.
  • Have coffee with a new social media friend. One-on-one dates aren’t so bad!
  • Invite an entrepreneur friend (or a small group) to your place to work.
  • Only schedule meetings on one or two days a week, so you can keep your energy high the other days.

Introverts! What else do you do to make the most of your work days and sanity?