Things I’ve Learned Along the Way ~
I’ve been reflecting lately on all the little (and very huge) things that I’ve learned along my path of going from being that gypsy girl who lived in her van to being CEO of this company that is crossing over into a 7 figure business this year. As a very experiential learner, I learned much of this the hard way. But by God’s good grace angels must have whispered some of it to me in my sleep as well. Here’s a list of a few things I wish someone would have told me way back when (not that I would have listened, but I’m getting wiser about that as I age). I hope you find a morsel of wisdom here.
Go with your gut.
I think that the very best thing you can do for your business is to cultivate and use your intuition. And it’s free! In fact, if you ignore it, it can cost much more than money.
Stand. Up. Desk.
I keep hearing the phrase “sitting is the new smoking.” While I think that’s a bit of an overstatement, I can tell you first hand that getting a standing desk changed my life. My body and mind are so much happier during my long stretches on the computer. I have one that can be lowered for sitting on those days I do want to sit or when my kitty needs a good lap. It makes doing data entry or more mindless work a lot more fun because I can put on some tunes and dance around a bit while I work!
“First, Attend To The Divine” ~ Danielle Laporte.
I am very selfish with my mornings. I refuse to schedule meetings, phone calls, or really anything in the single digit AM hours. This is my sacred time to wake up slowly and do what I do to connect my mind, body and soul. Starting my work day from this place ensures I’m able to focus, be productive and do valuable work. It means I’m going to breathe more deeply and not hold my shoulders high with tension. I used to just wake up and turn my email on first thing. This often put me in emergency mode and after spending a lot of time there, I’ve decided it’s no place to be.
Take a chill pill.
I think it’s great to give yourself a deadline for something, commit and go for it. Unexpected things are pretty much guaranteed to happen. If you get behind and your project goes from feeling like a joyful, challenging (in a good growth way), accomplishment to feeling like a literal pain in your neck that you are losing sleep over, it’s time to stop and remember who gave you that deadline. You are an entrepreneur because you are choosing to be your own boss. Be nice to yourself. This isn’t a permission slip to be lazy and not work hard. I’m just stating the fact that stress ages you and that you actually don’t want your project born from a place of constraint and struggle. That’s not the energy you really want to put into something, is it?
Get it in writing.
This is one of the most common bits of business advice and it’s also one of the most ignored. Perhaps someone has good intentions when they say “it’s cool, just let me do it, see what it’s worth to you and we’ll come up with something that works for us both.” Nice in theory, but it can be really messy in actuality. Make decisions, make a contract. It can save you from a world of misunderstanding and miscommunication. It’s how professionals work and believe me, it is such a joy to work with true pros.
Be good at saying no, but don’t say I can’t.
As Marie Forleo says, you gotta know how to get on the NO train. Your time is so very valuable and doing something because you “think” you should, because it’s a great opportunity, etc. often leaves you exhausted instead of rewarded. Tune in deeply to decide what really deserves to make it onto your precious calendar. But whatever you do, please don’t say “I can’t.” That’s just no way to program yourself to become a badass ninja at your craft.
Animated to-do list.
I read that marking tasks off an actual list, instead of just a mental one, makes you more joyfully productive. It truly works for me. Having a place to jot down to-dos as soon as they come to mind keeps my head space clear and free. That’s valuable real estate up there! Write it down and let it go till it’s time to do it. I love using Asana. It’s free and they also have an app, which is great for those of us who will come up with a very important to-do while away from your computer. The very best part is that you can “enable celebrations” in the settings, which leads to unicorns with rainbows and hummingbirds flying across your screen as random rewards. Love that.
Be present with your loved ones.
Beginning or running a business can be pretty heady. There were so many times that I was with a dear friend, but instead of hearing what they were saying I was lost in my mental to do list. Human connection is so so so important. Practicing presence is only going to help you drop in to being a better you. Don’t worry, you’ll get it all done. But you’re not a machine. And listen when someone you love says, “hey, you are working too hard. How about taking a break?” If you are in a relationship it’s especially important to make that person feel like a priority, before they have to ask.
Get another set of eyes on it.
Yes, you’ve read it over a hundred times and are sure there are no errors. Editors are angels. I’m sure one of your loved ones would be happy to go over it with fresh eyes. This goes for packaging, web content, promotional ads, etc.
Product Based Business? Don’t forget about shelf testing!
There are labs you can send your goodies to that can magically (seems that way to me) make time warp and let you know in just days what your product will be like in six months. If you’ve been reading my posts about my company history, you know I skipped doing this for the first several month…oops. This leads me to my next bit of advice for wholesale product start-ups, which thankfully I did do: launch at small, forgiving stores. When I had to do those painful recalls at least it was at People’s Coop and other sweet community stores. They basically nod, smile and place a new order. It’s no joke if you have to do a recall at Whole Foods Market.
Want to see some videos of Lulu’s Chocolate behind the scenes?
I’m in lovely Sedona this week and am doing short daily videos of my Lounge & Kitchen only on Instagram, so come on over and follow me there for some delicious fun!
Thanks so much for taking time to read my journal and if you know some entrepreneurs, please share this post.