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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!

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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)!

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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

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.

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Business

The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

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If you’re familiar with Seth Godin’s writing and overall mentality, you know that — through his powerful and clever words — he makes you feel like you can conquer any and every adversity that’s ever weaseled its way into your head or heart. And if you don’t, well, you’re just not living life to the fullest. Word to your mother, Mr. Godin. Thank you for being so severe that we can’t wiggle away from ourselves. Somewhere in the middle of The Icarus Deception, Godin says, “What I’m hoping I might do is get under your skin enough that you’ll ask yourself some hard questions about why you’re not achieving as much as you would like (and why you’re not as happy as you’d like to be).” Mission accomplished.

First order of business: Who’s Icarus? In Greek Mythology, Icarus’s father, Daedalus, created a set of wings (made of feathers and wax) for himself and Icarus, so they could escape Crete. Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too high or too low. We mostly remember the part about Icarus letting his hubris (self-confidence) get the best of him. Entranced by his ability to fly, he flies too high, too close to the sun and ends up melting his wings, falls to the sea and dies.

Godin says we’re consistently warned not to fly too high. But what about flying too low? Is that really a better option? Complacency. Settling. “Sit quietly, do what you’re told, and perhaps, one day, you’ll get out of the debt and be a winner.” No thanks.

And maybe you’re currently killing it at work. Maybe you are your boss’s righthand (wo)man. You’re smashing it for their success and happiness. But what about your success? What about your happiness? “Just because you’re winning a game doesn’t mean it’s a good game.” Yes, it’s frightening to break free from the cookie-cutter mold. I mean, cookies are one of the best comfort foods. Am I right? And maybe you’re currently killing it at work. Maybe you are your boss’s righthand (wo)man. You’re smashing it for their success and happiness. But what about your success? What about your happiness? “Just because you’re winning a game doesn’t mean it’s a good game.”

Okay, so it’s time to break free. It’s scary business. But guess what, it was (and still is!) scary for anyone that’s done it. “All of those people who you say are your artistic heroes…All of those people who have made such a difference in the world…None of those people were ordained. None of those people were pre-approved,” Godin reminds us.

Godin wants to know: How high will you fly?

Well, that’s up to you. That’s up to the ruckus you want to ensue. “We can be as safe as possible and it’s not going to generate growth, it’s not going to take advantage of the myriad connections we can now make, and it’s certainly not going to benefit you.” It’s up to you to share your passion and talent. It’s up to you to leverage your network to increase your impact, says Godin. We have a big, fat open door. Just waiting for us to connect, to grow, to influence. It’s called the Internet.

Whether we intend to or not, what we say and how we interact with anyone and everyone we meet, will somehow affect them. Godin says the only questions are: “How will they be different” and “How different will they be?” Every interaction gives us an opportunity to disappoint someone OR exceed their expectations. Of course, we all want to exceed the expectations of our clients/customers. “It’s easy to market and manipulate your way into the quick smile or the Broadway-theater obligatory standing ovation. What’s more difficult is to do the less-congratulated work of getting under someone’s skin, of changing the conversation, and of being missed when you’re gone.”

Godin says we need to dig deeper and invest in long-term connection, through our art. We must be genuine. We must get real with ourselves before we can expect anyone to really take us seriously. We must withdraw ourselves from the popularity contest and stand up for what we believe in. Create art and conversation that is meaningful. There will be naysayers and critics. Fear will pound at our doors. But Godin says, in this connection economy, in which we live, “it’s the person who doesn’t enter the arena who is punished…We’ve greatly exaggerated the risk of sinking, without celebrating the value of swimming.”

So, we must connect. There are endless opportunities for us to connect and influence online.

Here’s a good place to start:

  • Who do you want to connect with?
  • How can you make art and/or conversation that will connect with those people/groups?
  • What problems can you solve publicly?
  • What is your mission?
  • Who can you add to your tribe along the way, as you make progress on your mission?
  • How can you encourage others in their missions?
  • What forums or groups can you get involved in?
  • Who would benefit from you reassuring them?

“We built this world for you. Not so you would watch more online videos, keep up on your feeds, and LOL with your high school friends. We built it so you could do what you’re capable of. Without apology and without excuse. Go.”

Read the book! As with any of our book reviews and summaries, they are not replacements for reading the book yourself. You can get it here.

Categories
Business

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.

Categories
Business

Actualizing Your Strengths

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None of us like doing stuff we’re not good at. It’s not energizing and it leaves us feeling like neutered idiots. This, my dear friends, is why I’m a huge advocate for the StrengthsFinder® assessment. It’s such a great starting point for identifying what your core competencies are and how to create an environment where you can feel fully alive more consistently.

If you’ve never heard of the assessment before, here’s a little run down:

– Built on 3 decades of research (across multiple industries and nearly 50 countries).
– Measures the presence of talents in 34 general areas or ‘themes.’
– Talents naturally exist. Strengths must be developed and are the product that results when one’s talents are refined with acquire skills and knowledge.
– It’s a starting point for self-discovery.
– Signature themes (your top 5 results) are unique to that individual. 33,390,720 different sets of signature themes are possible.

That last number is why we use this thing at B!G DEAL BRANDING. It reinforces our belief that if you own who you are, develop your strengths and create space to function in your sweet spot within your business, no one will be able to touch you.  No one will be able to replicate the core of what you do because it’s unique to who you are. With practice, you will be able to provide consistent, near-perfect performance in a specific task. You’ll dominate your competitive landscape.

Does that not make anyone else excited? Even just a tad?

Here’s what happens when you’re not functioning in your strengths (this is straight up from the book Strengths 2.0):

– You’re quite simply a different person.
– In the workplace, you’re six times less likely to be engaged in your job (yes, the workplace includes your home office).
– You’ll dread going to work.
– You’ll have more negative than positive interactions with your colleagues.
– You’ll treat your customers poorly.
– You’ll achieve less on a daily basis.
– You’ll have fewer positive and creative moments.

Sound familiar? Need a Prozac? Kidding.

Here’s the deal. When we’re functioning in our strengths, it is PROVEN that we’re more positive, hopeful, confident and action-oriented. Most people aren’t living in their strengths because they don’t even know what their strengths are! So, the first step is to buy one of the following books:

1. Strengths 2.0 — Tom Rath (for the basic run-down of how this thing works — also the most popular)
2. Strengths-Based Leadership — Tom Rath (for those of you who want to know how your strengths play into leadership roles)
3. Now, Discover Your Strengths — Marcus Buckingham

Don’t buy a used book! The code that comes with the book is what gives you access to the online assessment. Only one code per person. Yes, that means you have to buy a book for each person who wants to take the assessment (which I highly recommend for teams). Follow the directions from the book and take the 30-40 minute online assessment. When you’re finished, you’ll get your top 5 results. Study them, interact with them, start carving out opportunities to practice them more regularly. If possible, get a certified Strengths Coach through Gallup to help you better understand what they mean. Whatever you do, don’t just look over it once and put it back on your bookshelf. This WILL NOT help you better understand what you’re capable of and how you can maximize your potential.

If you’ve completed the assessment, we’d love to hear what some of your strengths are and/or how this has helped you in business and life! Leave a comment below. And, stay tuned! Next week we’ll go over how to incorporate your strengths in your business.

Categories
Adventure

Don’t Let Social Media Get You Down

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Every few weeks or so, I’d get caught up in the tornado. Swirling round and round in a world of comparison, self-doubt and a good old-fashioned pity party. “Look how many weddings they booked.” “Look where they get to go.” And on and on. Poor me. I’d let social media’s negative effects creep into my veins until my blood boiled and my business partner cracked the whip. Jealousy and comparison are NOT allowed at Limelife HQs.

“A Facebook fast for you, Baby Cakes,” he said to me. The kibosh. An end to the madness.

So, for 10 days, every time I would have gone on Facebook, instead, I’d text and check in on one of my friends. I’d be thankful for something awesome going on in our lives or business. I’d get more accomplished! I’d read a business book. I’d brainstorm new ideas for our future. I made a plan and new approach for when I could re-enter the world from which I had been banned.

(All of this probably sounds a bit dramatic to some of you. It’s just social media. I know. “I am passionate. I am competitive. I strive for greatness. I am sensitive. And I know this mighty combination can also breed disaster without proper boundaries.”
But, unfortunately, some of my greatest strengths are also my greatest weaknesses. I am passionate. I am competitive. I strive for greatness. I am sensitive. And I know this mighty combination can also breed disaster without proper boundaries.)

These are the new rules I follow:

1. Use social media to encourage and motivate others.
2. Use social media to be excited about, but not brag about, our business.
3. Use social media as a tool, not a lifestyle.
4. Use social media as a tool to karate chop comparison & self-doubt. Be happy, not bitter.
5. Use social media sparingly (to post business-related content & encouragement to others, NOT to scroll a never-ending feed).
6. Never sign in to social media to check how many comments & likes our posts have.
7. Use social media to connect with clients & continue relationships.
8. Turn off all social media notifications on our phones.

My pity parties and sensitivity to social media, more than anything, reminded me to refocus. What’s important in life and how we run our business? Well, it’s loving others and doing what we love. It’s working hard & encouraging others along the way. It’s counting blessings, not comparing blessings. It’s dreaming big & being proactive about those dreams. It’s recognizing opportunities & walking through open doors. There’s no room in all that awesomeness for pity parties. No room at all.

What are your rules for social media? Leave a comment below. Or, tell us about it on Twitter!

Categories
Business

How to Make Something Out of Nothing

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I recently realized the nothingness that can exist as a creative entrepreneur. If it’s a slow month with fewer shoots or meetings, we could potentially set ourselves up with some rad extra recess. But then, of course, we wouldn’t be able to pass the class, aka: pay the bills.

So, it’s not always the best choice to take time off when nothingness creeps in. However, scheduled time off and a few random days here and there (might as well make the most of being your own boss!), are crucial to making something out of nothing.

For the first little bit of any particular work hiatus, I usually experience a slightly uncomfortable feeling: panic.

“Everybody else is working on their business right now! Things are happening out there! Movers and shakers are moving and shaking without me!” So, I take a deep breath, go to yoga. And finally chill out and begin to enjoy the freedom from the intense creative brainpower I expect of myself.

(Because, let’s be honest, being a creative entrepreneur can make your brain hurt. And, if we don’t take the time off, there’s no way in hell we’ll be able to create something out of nothing when we need to.)

So, we get out in the world. We skip rocks. We get tan, really tan. We eat bowls of cherries and see who can spit the seeds the farthest. We collect layers of sea salty goodness on our skin. We indulge in the pure glory of nothingness, that really is everything. Everything = the birthplace of each ounce of inspiration and creativity. Everything = enjoying our life, our marriage, our friendships, our adventures. Everything = textures, colors, laughter, dirt in our fingernails, sand between our toes.

When I step back into the office and punch the timecard in my brain, I feel pumped. Refreshed and ready. We look at the empty calendar and strategically fill it up, but not to the brim. There are hours set aside for managing what we’ve already created: responding to client emails, okaying timelines, editing, etc.

But once all the maintenance type tasks are complete, what are you supposed to do? How do you create money, jobs, relationships, success, satisfaction, a thriving business and happiness…out of nothing?

1. Allow yourself plenty of “nothing” time to get creative juices flowing.
2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The world is your oyster. (Two cliche sentences we firmly believe in.)
3. Reach out. Make the most of social media. Introduce yourself to new people.
4. Simply create. Practice. Do what you love. Share it with others.
5. See what you can do for others. Forget about yourself, your needs and your business.
6. Use the buddy system. Have another entrepreneur hold you accountable to your ideas and business plans.
7. Create a business plan!
8. Collaborate with others in your industry or an industry you’d like to be part of.
9. Search hashtags based on ideas, people groups and work you’d like to be involved in. Start a conversation with people using those hashtags.
10. Volunteer your time and creativity, but only where you want to. Offering something free to anyone and everyone will hurt you in the long run.
11. Read. There are SO MANY life-changing business books. Start with THIS ONE.
12. Check in with people you’ve worked with before. Show genuine interest in their lives and endeavors.
13. Review what you’re doing and figure out how you can do it better.

It’s pretty empowering knowing we’re creating our own work to pay the bills and live a life we love. I still panic every now and then when Nothingness rolls into town. But it’s that nothingness that gives us the opportunity to create something we’re proud of.