Coffee Break #17

:: A little collection of things I’ve read + relished around the internet recently ::

25 Reasons to Keep Making Stuff

“I was equating Netflix with self-care and downtime, but the truth is that creativity is a much more powerful form of self-care.”

I loved this post by my friend Marie. Why We Said Goodbye To Netflix on Weekdays

This. Is. Just. My. Face. – “My woman-face does not exist for the world’s collective amusement. I have things to do and life to live — and all kinds of thoughts to think. Sometimes I, too, look like I may be ordering a sandwich while mentally doing calculus, and that is okay. I am not a bitchface, resting or otherwise.”

Why We Pick Difficult Partners – I *loved* this video. 

What’s All This About Journaling? – I’ve been journaling a lot the last few months. The more I do it, the more I want to do it. I use my journal (a navy blue Leuchtturm 1917 covered in stickers) alongside my weekly planner. I keep a One Line A Day diary for each month as well as a page devoted to a gratitude list.

This really made my day: I Just Had The Most Surreal — And Profound — Flight Attendant Experience In My Life “On Thursday, as I boarded my flight, I instantly knew something out of the ordinary was happening when I was greeted by a sweet, 20-something puppy dog of a flight attendant who welcomed every single passenger onto the plane by singsonging the exact same thing ― something like: ‘Hi! I’m Zach! Welcome aboard and I hope you’re having an AWESOME day!’

He was so friendly it was almost violent.”

I’ve probably watched this ten times, and it cracks me up every time.

Life, lately: Springtime in the Sound

Hey friends. It’s been a quiet few months ’round here. Keeping busy with client work, with a new rescue dog, with trying to will the rain away. (It finally worked!)

Everything I’ve been jazzed about since our last check-in…

reading: ‘Rescuing Penny Jane’ – This will make you cry and want to volunteer at an animal shelter. Fair warning. // A few friends and I are reading ‘What Love Is: And What It Could Be’ this month. // I also really enjoyed You are a Badass.

wearing: new Aeropastale jacket (not on their site, for some reason, but similar to this one, which is cheaper anyway – score!), ‘She Persisted’ necklace, headbands from Texture after getting a haircut I’m especially bummed about (bleh), my new custom Timbuk2 bag. (Mine is black/reflective polka dot/grey.)

smitten with: blue hair, sunny days, dog playdates, my new Fitbit Alta HR – I’ve had probably 5 different FitBits through the years, and this is my favorite. I love that it has a heart rate monitor and is slim enough that it doesn’t bug me while I’m typing. It’s just super comfortable to wear. // Oh, also – Divi Builder. I resisted working with any sort of builder or framework for a really long time, but I have to say, it makes life easier for me and my clients. I’ve seen the light.

indulging in: Lots of time in the studio. Time to learn and practice. It feels so luxurious, but it shouldn’t, right? I’ve been working toward a slower work life for awhile, and I’m finally getting there – creating more time for creating. Also – coffee dates with R.T. every weekend. Just the two of us and maybe a notebook.

creating: my new bullet journal, my blog landing page (did you notice?), lots of art journaling. // This only tangentially counts as ‘creating’, but a lot of my non-work time lately has been spent training Finnegan, the shelter dog I adopted in early January. Training a large puppy is a lot of work, as it turns out. I was unprepared. We work together every day. He’s super smart, but also super stubborn. It’s been both exhausting and rewarding and we’re nowhere near “done”.

listening to: S-Town, of course. It’s fascinating and heartbreaking. I only have a couple of episodes left. #sadface

celebrating: Two years in the PNW! Already, somehow. My life is so, so different than it was when I moved to Portland in 2015. // Getting re-energized about lifting. I’m in two small groups right now, so every Friday and Saturday I get to lift with a trainer named Maria and 2-3 other women. I got out of lifting for a bit during the time when we were buying our house – I was just too busy and stressed and other reasons. I lift because I love it, so when I wasn’t loving it, I stopped. Now I’m back to 3-4 days/week and am slowly but surely getting back to where I left off.

looking forward to: The 100 Day Project – it starts today, and it’s my first year participating. I’m nervousexcited. You can follow along with me on Instagram.

Feast or famine, and other lies we tell ourselves when we're first starting out

I was asked by the gals at Evolve and Succeed to write for you on the topic, What advice would you give first year business owners? Oh boy! I’m so glad they asked. They must’ve known that talking to fresh-faced small business owners is one of my favorite things!

I feel like we hear a lot of the same advice over and over. I certainly did when I was first starting out. Some of the advice I got when I first started my business was actually just wrong. I still hear these things, though, so let me tell you about some common advice that’s worth not taking.

3. Go all in

When I first started my business, I heard a lot about how it was impossible to really get off the ground without investing all of your time and attention in the thing you were building. I understand where this is coming from, but for a lot of us, that advice is annoying at best and reckless at worst. I didn’t have a backup plan — I was single and didn’t have much of anything in savings. As such, I had part-time things the first two years of running my business. I had a part-time nannying job the first year, and a part-time work-from-home development job the second year. (I was also going to school at the same time – oy!) The nannying job didn’t eat up much in the way of mental resources, which was good for me and my business. The coding job certainly did, but I also learned a huge amount about running a small business as a result of being on the inside of a successful one. Eventually, I was in the position to “go all in”, and I have made a lot more money since making that leap — but the money I’m making now won’t retroactively pay the rent I would have missed if I’d been so resistant to the idea of a part-time job in the beginning.

2. Anything involving the words “four-hour workweek”.

It’s not going to happen. Well, okay. It’s really, really unlikely to happen. On the off chance that you’re doing this because you hope to someday not be doing it, let’s stop and reconsider. Building a small business is hard. It might be the hardest thing you ever do. (It’s certainly the hardest thing I’ve ever done — I haven’t tried parenting yet.) All of that energy and those tears may as well be poured into something you LOVE. And maybe you will someday get to the point that your lil’ biz is such a finely tuned machine that it barely needs your attention – but then? It will be a business you love so much that you can’t imagine not spending time in it.

1. Feast or famine

That’s a phrase you hear a lot when you’re first starting out. It might even be a phrase you say a lot. “How are things going?” “Oh, you know. It’s slowed down a bit. Feast or famine, right?” This is the biggest lie we tell ourselves. There’s no such thing as famine if you’re pouring yourself in to the growth of your business (provided you’re doing the right work and serving the right people). Looking back, any time business has felt slow for me, it’s because I’d taken a step back. I wasn’t engaging enough, usually in the form of blogging or keeping in touch with my list.

To further shatter the myth, I’d like to say this: It’s okay to step back. If my first two points didn’t make this clear, let me do so now: running a small business is really hard. You absolutely SHOULD rest. You need slow periods — but those periods are within your control, and calling them “famines” makes them sound like periods of suffering, when they can and should be the exact opposite. My advice isn’t “always be marketing” — my advice is to recognize that the ebb and flow is in your hands. You will need to rest, and not planning for periods of slow working will lead to burn out, which will lead to that “famine” feeling. Instead, plan a slow month once or twice a year. Go on vacation. Spend a couple of weeks reading books (business or otherwise) and write blog posts (or re-write your site copy) based on what you learned/what inspired you. Enjoy long lunches. (I’m just telling you about my ideal slow month now. It sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?) The point is to take the time to reinvest in yourself and your business.

Thanks for listening, and good luck out there!

Check out the links below. It looks like Halley and her team are up to good things.

Laser Launch blog party is a collection of stories from online celebrities about their second year experiences. Brought to you by: Laser Launch Package – a double whammy of expertise to get your next launch sold-out because your second year should be fun + profitable.

The new end of the road!

Hello, archive-wanderer! I’ve made the few years prior to this point private. I started this blog in 2008, and much of my older stuff is outdated, irrelevant, and/or written in a voice that I no longer identify with. Oy vey.

Sorry to disappoint, peaches. I recommend subscribing so that you’ll be the first to know when I write something new. (And thanks for your interest in going way back.)