Biz Talk

  • A new theme for 2021

    With the start of a new year comes a fresh outlook and a renewed sense of excitement. Can you feel it brewing, too? As everyone is ready to say a REAL BIG good-bye to 2020, the new year on the horizon seems globally anticipated.

    For the last few years, I’ve chosen a word to manifest for the next 12 months ahead. My word for 2020 was abundance and ohhh, I got it — love, business growth, personal growth — abundance in the ways I’d hoped, and in some totally unexpected ways, as well. It’s safe to say I’m wrapping 2020 with a LOT of gratitude.

    This year though, I’m changing it up – my word for 2021 is simplicity.

    In order to align my life and business to achieve more simplicity, I had to look inward, reflecting on the past few months. I looked at what processes need to be tightened up, programs to help me get better organized, types of positions I will hire for, and – both physically and mentally — started clearing out the clutter.

    I do truly believe hard work pays off, but I am officially OVER the way we glorify the hustle. Spoiler alert: It’s possible to have a successful business while living a simplified and balanced life, but not without a little forethought and a lot of intention.

    Here are some key ways you can adopt more simplicity in your business for the year ahead:

    Build Your Dream Team:
    Growing a business on your own is quite literally impossible. Knowing when and who to hire is key in ensuring you get the support you need to scale. Defining your role in your business and filling in the gaps (ahem, things you hate doing, or aren’t great at doing) is going to help your business thrive while simplifying your day-to-day in one fell swoop. A few roles I recommend looking into include marketing and social media, content creation, accounting or bookkeeping, virtual assistant, tech support, graphic designer, or movers (if you’re a stager, like me!).

    Create Templates
    Templates are the bomb.com, k? They literally exist to make your life easier, and I am here for thaaaat in 2021! Tired of doing the same task over and over again? SAME. Templates can exist for any facet of your business, and will help you streamline and save time. For example, I created a folder in my Google Docs titled ‘common email responses’ that I can just pull up and copy and paste in a new email message when needed. Other template ideas include Instagram stories, email newsletters, any supporting documents you send out such as a contracts, staging reports, or proposals! Simplicity Bonus: Take it a step further and hire someone to design these for you so everything is on brand and consistent. What a thought, right?!

    Content Batching
    If you’re anything like me, writing content is at the bottom of your to do list. Ooops! I’m always in a scramble to create new content (or worse, it doesn’t happen at all). One of the major things I plan to implement in the coming year is batch writing, scheduling 2 full days a month that are dedicated *JUST* to writing blog posts, newsletters, and social media captions. Join me – or, at least just wish me luck?

    Subscription Audit
    I mentioned this in a blog post last year and will be implementing this again, because it’s a total game-changer. How many of us have ongoing subscriptions or memberships that we don’t use or perhaps don’t even need? HI, HELLO, IT’S ME! I have so many I can’t even keep track anymore. But, no worries, because I have a plan. I’m going to list them all out (ALLLL of them!) and decide what I need and what can go. Take a moment to go through each subscription in detail to make sure you are utilizing what each one has to offer — there may have been some handy upgrades since you signed up! Having apps and programs that help you simplify your business are necessary, so make sure you take your time when you go through this list and keep the ones that will help you create more simplicity. It feels like a daunting task, but I promise — getting rid of things you don’t need in your business has the same effect as decluttering your home.

    For me, simplicity means happiness — and I am fully committed to calling more room for joy in 2021.

    Here’s a sneak peek at my to-do list for Operation-Simplify-2021:
    • Looking into purchasing a Sprinter van
    • Leasing a warehouse space and letting go of the 4 storage units
    • Hiring a virtual assistant
    • Utilizing a project management tool (Monday.com came highly recommended) 
    • Hiring movers
    • Batched content creation

    Wishing you the best year ahead in life and in business. I’m truly grateful to be on this journey with you.

    What are you looking most forward to in 2021? Drop me a line to share your plans for the year ahead!

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  • Blending business & happiness

    fact: business and happiness can coexist

    Owning a business can feel all-consuming, at best – and the idea of blending business and happiness often feels out of reach. I realized recently that my entire identity has been wrapped around being a business owner, to a level that just… isn’t healthy. Can you relate?

    While I take great pride in my business and its successes, I also recognize the value in figuring out who the heck I am, outside of it.

    Any entrepreneur will tell you: it can be a gruesome path. At one point or another, you will eat, sleep, and breathe your business. This is especially true in the beginning stages, and tends to rear its ugly head during major growth spurts. I’ve definitely experienced this over the years and now, on the heels of a period of significant scaling — I’m waking up to the fact that Re:Creative was taking over my life in a way I’ve never experienced before.

    My business may have been thriving over the last few months, but internally, I’ve been feeling the opposite. I’m super thankful to have a business that was able to survive an unprecedented year, when I know so many others have had to close their doors, but it hasn’t been without challenges. The stress of running, and growing, a business amidst the 2020 madness has taken a major toll on my physical and mental health.

    I’ve been reflecting, in a big way, and focusing on getting clear on what “success” means for me, while journaling about what brings me happiness and fulfillment *outside of the business*. Have you tried it? Highly recommend.

    Success and happiness look different for everyone and this is not a practice in judging yourself, but a practice in being HONEST about your needs and desires, when it comes to living a full life. If we work so hard but can’t, with certainty, say we’re happy – what is it all for?

    Here’s what I’ve learned through a few weeks of reflections:

    1. Make self-care a priority. This can mean different things on different days, and can adjust based on my schedule. On busier days, it can be as simple as lighting my favourite candle in my office while I work. Yes, something that simple can have a massive impact.

    2. Find a hobby. This was a major game changer for me! I love creating so I decided to take a virtual art class. Every Tuesday from 12 pm to 2 pm (yup right smack in the middle of a WORK day — WILD, right?!), I paint. Let me tell you – it feels SO damn good! 

    3. Explore new places. Yes, Covid poses a challenge, but this can still be accomplished close to home. Spending some time each month to discover a new hiking trail, a drive in the country, a walk in a different neighbourhood, visiting a small town or popping by that cool new coffee shop across town, have all offered me renewed joy and inspiration.

    These might sound like small changes, but my life feels different. These shifts have had an impact on the way I show up in my business and in my relationships with those around me. Not only am I happier but I’m more present (and pleasant), more motivated, and can make better business decisions, because my head is finally clear.

    What have you been doing to seek out happiness in your day-to-day and disconnect yourself from that not-so-healthy business attachment?

    I’d love to hear how you’ve been blending business and happiness.

    Drop me a line to chat about your own tips and tricks!

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  • A Big Business Birthday!

    Hey friend – how are you, really?

    For me, the last few months have been INTENSE. The most intense since Re:Creative launched, if I’m being honest. Starting a business is one thing, but driving expansion and growth in the midst of a pandemic is a whole other ball game. Ouuuuf. There have been many meltdowns. There was even a week when I cried every day. The struggle has been REAL, so if this past season has been a heavy one for you, know that you aren’t alone.

    September marked Re:Creative’s 5-year anniversary – I almost let it slip by without a pause to appreciate how far we’ve come. I had to consciously give myself a minute sit with how huge that milestone is. HELLO, having a business for five years is a big freaking deal! (But, let me just say – I think I’ve learned more about running a business in these last few months than in my total five years combined).

    As I pause and reflect on the last five years, I wanted to round up some things I learned along the way, and a few I wished I knew from the beginning. Whether you’re a new business owner or perhaps a seasoned one, these reminders will help you check in and remember how far YOU’VE come, too. Here goes:

    • Be yourself, be authentic. Yes, authenticity is a buzzword right now, but the lesson that comes along with this is, you can be professional *AND* be yourself. Not only does this make you feel better in your business day-to-day, it also builds lasting relationships with your clients, attracts dream opportunities, and creates a life you love.

    • Listen to your gut — when something doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t. Your intuition will never steer you wrong. Read this one again.

    • Get things in order when you start your business. Like, RIGHT AWAY, okay?! Business insurance, business license, business bank account, accounting software, client contracts. It can feel overwhelming (and kinda scary!) when you are starting a business to think about lawyers and accounting but trust me – you’re going to have to think about it eventually, and this will save you so much time and many headaches along the way. Your future accountant thanks you.

    Set boundaries with your clients and the types of jobs you take on. Be honest about what you need, set expectations, and stick to ’em – for your clients, and yourself.

    • Outsource the tasks you don’t enjoy. FOR REAL, friend. Did you start a biz to do a bunch of stuff you hate?! Yeah, me neither.

    • Preserve your work-life balance. This has been the hardest one for me. Hobbies, personal relationships, vacations, me time — these are essential in keeping you sane, happy and fulfilled. Lots to discuss here – stay tuned for a future post allll about this topic.

    • Create systems and processes for both the team and for yourself. Systems help ensure everything is running smoothly and efficiently. I created systems for the team but only realized recently that I need to implement systems for the tasks that I am responsible for, too! Also — continue to update your systems and add new ones as your business grows.

    • Don’t become complacent. Always be learning, invest in your education, seek new inspiration, and level up.

    Here’s the deal: Owning a business is hard. It can feel isolating at times. It can feel overwhelming and suffocating. It can be scary. It absolutely will be meltdowns in your car in the middle of the day. But it is also fulfilling, liberating and exciting. You take the good with the bad – and my goal is to help you recognize more of the good.

    From one business owner to another, you got this!

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  • Setting boundaries (for all business owners)

    Last week I chatted with my mailing list community about gaining a whole new perspective on my business during these challenging times. It took working with a 15-year old to come to the realization that I was no longer having fun in my business. In the email, I shared:

    “I tend to work REAL fast, staying uber-focused on each task… The result is LOTS of stress, and not a lot of fun. But seeing my career through the eyes of my new teammate, Nova, gave me a whole new appreciation for the job. Turns out, a teenager’s fresh perspective was exactly what I needed to feel re-inspired.”

    Seeing my business from the perspective of a beginner jolted me back into MY WHY. This may be different for each of us, but I started a business to have ultimate freedom to make decisions about my schedule, my time, and the types of projects I take on.

    But instead, over the years, I realized my business was giving me the opposite.

    As cities start to open back up and we are left trying to navigate what this new Covid-19 ‘normal’ looks like, I’ve been reflecting on what this means for me, as a business owner. At Re:Creative (and probably at your workplace, too!) we will be operating with a limited staff capacity, ensuring strict safety measures are in place at all times, and accepting shifts to the way we operate. This will include adding measures – and boundaries – that keep our staff, clients, and selves safe.

    But here’s an unexpected opinion, among unexpected circumstances: change might not be all bad, after all. This might be the new start we all need to start seeing our businesses through fresh eyes.

    Over the last month, while I have continued to work, I’ve also had the opportunity to sit back and find new perspective on my life and business. I’ve realized the parts of my business that truly feed my soul — which, you guessed it – also comes alongside realizing the parts that don’t.

    More so, I’ve started taking notice of new priorities –  the elements I can incorporate every day to “enjoy the little things,” as they say.

    The need for boundaries – in all elements of life and work – has been coming up BIG TIME. It took a world pandemic to show me the beauty in boundary-setting (even if some have been set for us), and a good friend to guide me to do some deep thinking. 

    When you have a one-on-one type of business model, setting boundaries is crucial, and something I only recently discovered I’ve been lacking.

    Here are some examples of the boundaries I’ll be working to implement:

    Service boundaries: Here is a truly WILD thought: it’s your business so you can set the rules. If you require certain things from your clients in order to complete their project, then make those expectations CLEAR. These rules and items are put in place so you can do your job well (which, feel free to remind them, they’re paying good money for!). You have the power to put protocols in place to ensure your process is respected. And if it isn’t, it might look like an additional charge, or pushing back the project’s timeline.

    Alignment boundaries: Getting clear about the type of work and clients you want to work with is key. Having a lack mentality (aka, taking on projects that don’t feel right just because you’re scared another one won’t come your way) almost always end with feelings of regret and resentment. Listen. To. Your. Gut. When something doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to turn down a new client or project. This “no” will make space for a “heck yes.”

    Work Hours: As a business owner, it can be super hard to locate our off switch… But the time we aren’t working is just as valuable. Recharging means more PRESENCE in our business, and our lives off the clock, too! Set your work schedule (hiii, you’re the boss, remember?!) and determine clear guidelines about when a client can contact you and expect a reply. Pro Tip: If you do find yourself inspired + burning the midnight oil on a whim, schedule your emails to send during working hours, so your clients don’t get expectations twisted! It’s up to you to enforce the boundaries you set.

    Task batching: I’ve heard the term task batching from a few business podcasts I listen to, and let me just admit that I could *definitely* benefit from implementing this concept. In a single work day, I jump around from different projects, to emails, to text messages, to calls, to social media. It’s… not the best way to foster efficiency when it comes to your workload. When you group together a list of similar tasks during a specific time period without interruptions, you will cut down on the time it takes for your brain to switch and refocus between different tasks. Maybe you have a “writing day,” or a “meeting day.” Whatever makes sense for your industry, set up firm task boundaries in your day and stick to them.

    Now that I’ve gotten a taste (albeit, mostly fleeting) of what it means to slow down, I want to ensure I am carrying this forward into the next chapter of this year, whatever that may look like. I took the past weekend to sit in my thoughts and journal about how I want my business to look, how I want it to make me feel and what kind of life I want to have. Taking this time to do that gave me the clarity I needed about the decisions I need to make to get there. Decisions that will serve me and my clients in the best way.

    So, ask yourself:

    What do you want your business to look like when this is all over?

    And how about your life?

    You can download a copy of my journal prompts right here.

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  • Protect your mental health

    Saturday morning I ran out for a grocery run – as you do, right? Only nothing is “as we do,” anymore, and things did not go well.

    In the middle of the grocery store, the anxiety from the week finally crept up on me. Feelings came flooding in, and it took everything in me not to ditch the cart and run straight out of there. I could barely focus, and my chest was so tight it could explode. 

    Talk. About. A Wakeup Call. This was mine.

    Our mental health can demand attention when we least expect it. Our world is going through one hell of a time and we need to be prioritizing our health right now, more than ever – which includes our mental wellbeing. You know all those people you want to show up for? We can’t, if we’re not showing up for ourselves first.

    Anxiety has always been a part of my life, and over the years I have uncovered a few things that help me cope. Here’s a peek into the practices I am trying hard to implement right now, to save me from another grocery store meltdown. I hope they’ll help you, too.

    1. Creating healthy sleep patterns! This means going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, along with a bedtime routine. Mine involves a hot shower, lighting a candle, dimming the lights and reading or journaling. I start this routine an hour and half before I go to sleep to wind down + settle into slumber.
    2. Limiting screen time. I knowwwww. But by scheduling it in shorter time increments, I’ve found a lot more peace. Try leaving your phone in another room, even for ten minutes, and see how you feel.
    3. Meditation is a pivotal part of my routine, but really, spending 15 minutes each day to calm your mind in any way will do the trick.
    4. Cutting back on alcohol, sugar and processed foods – we’re all reaching for the comfort of treats right now, but these can have a heck of an impact on your mental health when you over-do it.
    5. Movement every day. Yoga and jogging are what helps me right now and I have a heavy weight bag on delivery so I’ll be implementing boxing back into the mix! I’m also super craving a virtual dance party. Can someone please make this a thing already?! If you have any leads, let a girl know.

    And lastly, HUGELY – be kind. To yourself and to others. Your experience is not someone else’s experience– it’s time we all let go of judgement and release any shame.

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