(Originally published September 2018, slightly updated Oct 2021)
As a creative, I’ve spent a great many of years resisting against the formal rules of business.
Even as a PR and marketing consultant in the early 2000s, I refused many of the business norms of the time; I worked outside of the typical 9-5; prioritized soul-nourishing activities and didn’t own one typical business suit. (Amusing now to look back on this, and note how far or how different things are now).
On my entrepreneur journey, I tried unconventional productivity hacks, convinced myself that so many other life experiences are more important than a corporate pay check and learned the art of visualizing future wins – things that have become quite commonplace here in 2021.
Over the years, I measured my success, not on the number of clients I had or my income, but by how happy, stress-free and conscious my family and I felt. This is not to say that I don’t value hard work – on the contrary, I just value the freedom to set my own schedule.
This work-from-home situation, although challenging and highly frustrating at times, has given me a lot of insight into how to live my most fulfilling life. The past seven years of being a “stay-at-home working mom” or WAHM has been both truly rewarding and yet has also been challenging enough to leverage the desire for change; to now figure out how to still be a mindful parent, earn an income, schedule time for fitness, socialization and creativity AND build a fabulous new, abundant, fulfilling, money-making business.
(If you’re curious, I’ve spent the past seven years working as a freelance PR and marketing consultant; graphic designer, website developer, digital marketing specialist and program instructor to at-risk youth. I’ve also spent a lot of time volunteering in my community, spending quality time with friends and picking my kids up from school everyday.)
However, I now realize this new entrepreneurial venture will require an entire new set of rules. Not entirely unlike the ought to’s and should do’s I’ve rebelled against in the past.
The difference this time around? The difference is, is that after working with successful and efficient people, I know that it will be ultimately be those systems and disciplined action that will get results. I know that, for myself, I will have to buckle down, work with a calendar; schedule tasks and stick to it.
But the even greater difference, is that I will incorporate tried and true systems and traditional productivity strategy, while still maintaining my valued holistic approach (which is mostly what I encourage with my clients).
How to get work done (aka be productive and make money) and live the dream?
The first step to a holistic approach in business productivity and success is to figure out the WHY. In other words, what is the ideal result? Why are you doing any of this?
Yes, we all want to earn more money and attract more clients, but what do we do with it all? For myself, I want to feel purposeful and contribute, but I also want to travel. Like, all the time. I want the freedom to travel with my family and work from almost anywhere in the world.
Now, if you feel like you’re working essentially because you have to just to pay bills, it may serve you to either change your career or change your perspective.
So, I ask myself – how can I create a business that allows me to contribute and have plenty of free time and money to travel?
And while we’re at it, what else do I value? Independence, the ability to schedule my own work hours, quality time with my children, to be surrounded by beauty and kindness (mostly).
“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”
-Roy E. Disney
This is my why. These values are what’s most important to me. And I know, as a life coach and as an adult human, that if I don’t carry out my days doing things that are important to me, I won’t feel happy or fulfilled. If I’m not happy or fulfilled, I may wake up feeling caught in a trap. When in the trap, I may lose that fact that I am in control of my destiny and start blaming everyone and everything for my unhappiness.
So, I ask – what am I willing to do to create this ideal business? AKA, how much do I want this?
Now, this is a tricky question because we all dream about what we want. But many, no – most people are unwilling to do what it takes to get it. And there are a hundred reasons ~ don’t have the resources, don’t have the education, don’t know where to begin, are too old, too young, sore back, no sitter, too far, no startup capital, migraines, etc….
Eye on the Prize (or basket, or ball, or net…. whatever works for you)
But me, I want this. And to remind myself that I want this, I make my first order of business setting up a system to remind myself everyday.
First thing in the morning after drinking water, I journal. I do this before I start reading or scrolling; before outside influence starts affecting my thoughts and decisions. Throughout the day I meditate, practice mindfulness (to embrace the here and NOW), show gratitude and appreciation, read pertinent books, and look at my new Dream Board and other little visual reminders I have around my desk.
This may sound like a lot, especially if you haven’t yet set any habits to consciously uplevel your internal state. But as I said, I’ve been at this for many years and I know how important this FIRST STEP is for me in maintaining the motivation and perseverance to stay disciplined.
Primed for success, and motivated to take action, it is a million times easier for me to now get to work. To grind, to hustle, to follow instruction, to follow a schedule, to implement systems, and to continue to do this day after day, week after week.
So I ask you, what is most important to you? Even if you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? What would your days look like?
“Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.”
– Brian Tracy
Question of the Day:
How can you incorporate the things that are important to you into your life now?
to be continued….