Republic of Freedom http://republicoffreedom.com Small business strategy for location independent creatives Sun, 04 Dec 2016 12:10:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 I Believe In Us http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/10/i-believe-in-us/ http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/10/i-believe-in-us/#respond Sat, 29 Oct 2016 03:16:20 +0000 http://republicoffreedom.com/?p=17630 Remember when you were a little kid and you thought you’d grow up to change the world? Then we all […]

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I Believe In Us

Remember when you were a little kid and you thought you’d grow up to change the world? Then we all grew up and realized it wasn’t quite as easy as we envisioned.

I, for one, am not deterred. Now more than ever we have an opportunity to educate ourselves (thank you internet!) and use our voices.

Change toward a more human-friendly system is not something initiated at the top. It’s the product of millions of little voices down in the trenches gathering to create a roar that no one can ignore. Let’s do this.

 

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I Don’t Want To Fight Anymore – Video http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/10/i-dont-want-to-fight-anymore-video/ http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/10/i-dont-want-to-fight-anymore-video/#respond Sat, 29 Oct 2016 03:11:27 +0000 http://republicoffreedom.com/?p=17625 I wrote this piece in 2012 when my experiences in the 9-5 world were still fresh in my mind. I […]

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I Don't Want To Fight Anymore Video

I wrote this piece in 2012 when my experiences in the 9-5 world were still fresh in my mind.

I was tired of fighting to fit in.
I was tired of fighting to like my work.
I was tired of trying to conform to other people’s ideas of success.

I was tired of ignoring who I really was. So I quit everything and although I didn’t yet know the direction I would go, I marched confidently away from all that was no longer working.

This is my ode to quit fighting. My amazing community here at the Republic of Freedom pitched in to make it epically cooler than I could have imagined. If you like it, please share it widely. I would appreciate your support in getting this message out more than you know.

And if you dig the message, come join my community over here.

Want to read it again? Check out the original post here.

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Eight tips to help you get over Imposter Syndrome right now http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/10/eight-tips-to-help-you-get-over-imposter-syndrome-right-now/ http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/10/eight-tips-to-help-you-get-over-imposter-syndrome-right-now/#respond Mon, 17 Oct 2016 09:30:00 +0000 http://republicoffreedom.com/?p=17585 “If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends) ‘Am I REALLY a writer? Am I REALLY an artist?’ Chances […]

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8 tips to get over imposter syndrome

“If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends) ‘Am I REALLY a writer? Am I REALLY an artist?’

Chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is *wildly* self confident. The real one is scared to death.”

— Steven Pressfield “The War of Art”

I know the term itself should be self-explanatory, but here’s the definition of Imposter Syndrome:

“Referring to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

I would add that it also refers to those of you who think, “What could I possibly contribute that’s meaningful?” (Answer: SO MUCH!)

Ok, first off, can we just talk about how crazy-ubiquitous this problem is? And not only that, but statistically speaking, the higher of an achiever you are, the more you suffer from it. How ironic.

Not that famous people should matter, but here’s a list of highly accomplished ones who say they suffer from Imposter Syndrome:

Tina Fey
Tom Hanks
Michelle Pfeiffer
Neil Gaiman
Kate Winslet
Chris Martin
Maya fricken’ Angelou
Emma Watson
and (gasp!) Seth Godin

Ok, yeah, nice….but what does this MEAAAN?? It means that it’s just one of those dumb parts of being a human who’s trying to do good in the world.

You’re not weird or weak for feeling this way.
You do not need to be fixed.

But you do have a choice.

Your choice is to continue to allow Imposter Syndrome to take up critical head space, or activate some new tools to help bring you back to centre when Imposter Syndrome is actively trying to derail you.

(I hope you choose the latter)

Eight Things You Can Practice (actually, twelve)

NOTE: I didn’t just pull these out of my ear. These are things I actually do…all the dang time…so I can show up fully in my work and for my clients. It’s a decision, and it works really well when you create thought habits that stick.

1) Catch yourself in the act

The next time your brain starts the familiar cycle of, “They’re going to find out…” or “Who am I to…?” – catch yourself and ask the question: would I say this to my best friend? Would I ask my best friend (whom I think is the absolute bomb), “Who are you to charge those prices? They’re going to find out about you, you know.”

No way! It’s cruel. Catching your bogus thoughts as they happen is one of the most important habits to adopt.

If you really struggle with this, I highly recommend getting Kamal Ravikant’s easy but powerful read, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

2) Call it out

I know you know better. I know that, logically, you know your Imposter Syndrome is a load of hokey. It’s that classic head vs heart argument, and I want you to train your head to win on this subject. So when you feel the feels welling up…the “Who am I to….” messing with your confidence, call it out.

The same way you’d call out a groper on the subway, (“Hey, stop touching that lady!”) call out your inner critic with a, “Hey, stop messing with me! I have work to do. And if it makes a difference for even one person, it’ll be worth it.”

3) Do something, take action

The funny thing about self-defeating thoughts is that they usually exist in a vacuum. If you’re doing something…taking action…moving forward…the self-defeating thoughts have to fight harder for brain space.

Next time you find yourself questioning your validity, shift gears and do something. Anything. Sit down and write. Call or text a friend who’s great at calling you on your stuff. Go for a walk (moving your body is a great way to snap your brain back to what matters). Whatever it is, don’t give your Imposter Syndrome the time of day. Your hours are too precious for that.

4) Remind yourself that you have a right to be here

You don’t have to ask permission. You don’t have to have “arrived” (whatever the hell that is). And you don’t need to display a certain status or credentials behind your name. You’re a full-fledged human with a rich inner world and a life of experiences unique to you that have informed your worldview.

Your voice matters. Your opinion and expertise on the things you love and choose to leverage are much more developed than the average person. You have a right to be at the table with all of the other varying degrees of knowledge, expertise and commitment.

5) Own your successes (and write them down)

Come on…I know you’re squirming and don’t want to feel like you’re “puffing yourself up”…but let me put it this way: you’re an adult. In order to get this far, you have to have succeeded at some things. It’s just reality. In order to have a couple of close friendships and a reasonable career, you must have succeeded at some things. There is absolutely, unequivocally nothing at all wrong with this. There’s nothing wrong with calling something what it is.

Your successes make up the very fabric of your story. They’re part of why your story matters. Your expertise has the power to help others. So own them!! Grab a piece of paper and write the words, “I’m proud of….” and then write the longest gahddamb run-on sentence of your life, starting with when you did something courageous as a little kid and going from there.

6) Practice bravery

The only thing between you and where you want to be is the practice of bravery. Successful, knowledgeable people aren’t always successful and don’t have all the knowledge. They are trying and failing all the time. They admit their weaknesses and call in the troops for support.

Imposter Syndrome wants you to play small. She wants you to think it’s just little-old-you in the big wide world of More Important People. But ask yourself this: who have been the most important people to you…personally? Who’s had the biggest impact? What experts or famous people fall into that category? And how many of them do you feel are brave? (*sips tea quietly*)

7) Remember that there is no pie

Part of Imposter Syndrome is thinking no one will be interested in listening to you or hiring you because you’re not saying or doing anything that hasn’t already been said or done a million times. This is classic “pie” thinking. As in, there are only X pieces in the proverbial pie and they’ve all been spoken for.

WRONG. There is no pie! The pie is infinite! There will ALWAYS be people out there who need what you’re dishing out. Always always always. I could give you a million examples of why this is the case but I’ll save it for another loooong blog post. Just trust me on this one, ok?

8) Be of service

Before you write this off as being too hippie-ish, hear me out. Because this is important. And it works. Imposter Syndrome tells you not to be a peacock about what you know…strutting around like some kind of faux-expert that’ll soon be exposed (not like you would!).

The way you get those thoughts to take a hike is to come from a place of service. Whether speaking with a friend, working with a client, or writing a blog post, always start from a place of, “How can I help?” Your expertise will flow naturally as the situation allows and you’ll build your confidence in the process. Remember, it’s often the most humble that make the largest impact. How can you help?

Bonus Ideas For Creatives And Entrepreneurs

9) Remember that there can never be too many {insert your job title here}

Oh lordy this is a big one: the idea that there are “already so many web designers/coaches/bloggers/book binders/etc”…why would we need another one? (i.e. you) Because there can never be too many.

Think of any other job from the traditional working world. Can there be too many doctors? Too many mechanics? Too many teachers? Too many social workers? Ok, maybe the answer is yes if you live in a small town. You got me! But the internet isn’t a small town. The internet is 3.2 billion people big. I looked it up. THREE POINT TWO BILLION. Even if only a 10th of that number is interested in what you’re doing or could afford you, that’s still a pool of three hundred and twenty million people. (I think this is where I drop the mic and saunter off?)

10) Never over-promise on your knowledge

This is an easy one: operate at your highest level of knowledge and be honest about it.

You don’t have to be an expert at every single nook and cranny of your area of expertise. If you’re unsure of an answer, start with “To the best of my knowledge…”

Here’s a real life example from my friend Clara:

“I run parenting programs with families and sometimes (often) feel like, ‘How can I impart wisdom about this when I don’t have my act together and don’t do many of the tips in the curriculum because I just don’t have the energy and I’m overwhelmed. Also, my spouse is not aware of the strategies so how can I convince others when I haven’t convinced my own.’ I can usually talk myself back out of it and say that I’m doing my best and support is what people are looking for and that’s what I give and I give it my all.”

Look, just because you don’t have something mastered, doesn’t mean you don’t bring value by sharing your wisdom and being supportive. This is a perfect place to use, “To the best of my knowledge…”

Furthermore, we easily forget that NO ONE has “arrived”. We’re all striving in our imperfect ways. And the fact that you’re helping people is what matters. The fact that you show up fully is what matters.

11) If you’re a service provider, be hyper clear on what your clients can expect from working with you.

Then over-deliver.

For the love of all things holy, if your services page or your client contract is wishy washy, please let’s fix it. Don’t make vague promises you can’t be responsible for (like helping people find happiness or meaning…what if they don’t find it? Then you’re fubar-d). Be specific. You need to have benchmarks both for your own feeling of satisfaction but also so that your clients can see the value in your work together. Struggling with this? Tell me more in the comments and we’ll hash it out.

The over-delivery part? That’s the easy bit. Whatever you “deliver” as your service, go one step further. Send a small thoughtful gift in the mail once you’re finished working together. Fire off an email with a few helpful links or suggestions or an introduction that goes beyond what your working agreement entailed. Send holiday greeting cards at the end of the year to all the clients you worked with. Small gestures from a place of sincerity go a LONG way.

12) If you’re a service provider and higher pricing is what has your Imposter knickers in a knot,

…gather your testimonials from previous clients and remind yourself how much you’ve helped them in order to build your confidence. Don’t have testimonials? Send a message out to previous clients with a couple of key questions such as, “What was the most valuable aspect of working with me?” and “What would have made it even better?” Then you have data to work with. When we know better, we do better. When we see we’re helping (via feedback), we’re motivated to help more and charge accordingly.

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How to Stop Being an Obstacle to Your Own Success http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/10/how-to-stop-being-an-obstacle-to-your-own-success/ http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/10/how-to-stop-being-an-obstacle-to-your-own-success/#respond Mon, 03 Oct 2016 05:30:00 +0000 http://republicoffreedom.com/?p=17539 What if instead of sitting down to write this blog post, I trimmed my houseplants, then looked up the cost […]

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How To Stop Being An Obstacle To Your Own Success

What if instead of sitting down to write this blog post, I trimmed my houseplants, then looked up the cost of the ferry to Poland or flights to Italy for a couple of trips I have on the horizon, then watched a few episodes of Narcos, and then, because I felt guilty for not working, jumped into a Facebook group for freelancers to help some folks with idea generation?

By the end of the day, I’d have done nothing of real value for my business. While this scenario might sound ridiculous to some of you, others of you are nodding along in recognition.

Call it procrastination, call it self-sabotage…whatever. We’re all guilty of it to varying degrees. In my years of coaching clients, I’ve seen a lot of different ways this can manifest. But generally speaking, self-sabotage has three buckets:

1. Spending too much (fruitless) time on the internet

2. Avoiding actually doing the work

3. An inability to get over yourself

Believe me, I’m not sitting here in judgment – I’ve been…lived…breathed…drowned…in all three buckets. And the only way to get out of them is to name it and claim it, sister.

It’s time to stop being an obstacle to your own success.

If you’re not sure where you’re stuck – or if you do know but need some solutions – read on.

 

Problem #1: Getting Sucked into the Black Hole (aka the Internet)

Look, we all know that an online presence is mandatory if you operate in the digital economy. (Who doesn’t? Even people with brick and mortar businesses need to be online) The internet is a great (and necessary) marketing tool.

But don’t take that to mean that you have to be online or accessible all the time. You don’t. (Take it from someone who disappears to Antarctica every year.)

If you feel like you’re spending too much time on social media, you probably are. It’s tempting to get involved in all the relevant Facebook groups, have a presence on several social media platforms, and while you’re there, read All The Blog Posts.

What’s worse, it’s easy to rationalize the time spent as “marketing” or “education,” but if you’re spending hours on social media instead of doing the work, you’re really just procrastinating and pretending that you’re not.

Those of you rubbernecking on the information highway?

…slow your roll.

Darlin’, it’s easy to get sidetracked on social media when you don’t actually know what you’re supposed to be doing there to grow your business.

Do you have a social media strategy for your business? Be honest.

Do you know what you should be posting and how often, in order to grow your business?

If not, hit me up in the comments and let’s talk.

Second thing with social media is limit your play time. Set a timer if you need to, but get in and hold yourself accountable to getting out. If you’re hopeless like me, here are a few other tools to help you control the addiction…

News Feed Eradicator (Chrome App specifically to block Facebook)

Rescue Time (there’s a free version but the paid one is the best)

Cold Turkey

Stay Focused App (Chrome App to block anything distracting)

Self Control App (for Mac users)

Bottom line? Be protective of your online time and strategic with your marketing.

 

Problem #2: Actually Doing the Work

Be it a problem with time management, project management, or procrastination…whatever you call it, shit ain’t getting done. I talk about this a lot on the blog because I see it a lot.

Know that you need better systems in place? By all means, block out some time and get it done.

Struggling with procrastination? Try some of these techniques.

Still grappling with how to work for yourself? I’ve laid out some pointers.

Paralyzed by comparisonitis? Read this, Three Things that Happen When You Break the Comparison Habit or this, Make Competition Irrelevant.

If you need further insight and motivation, definitely read my favourite book ever: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

But if none of that works, do a gut check. Are you creating the business you truly want? And more importantly, do you know your bigger WHY? If your business isn’t deeply rooted in a larger Why then you might have to rethink things.

Bottom line? Figure out what’s holding you back and make a plan to do something about it. Not a one-and-done solution…but the creation of a new habit to overcome your blocks.

 

Problem #3: Getting Over Yourself

Ok ok, maybe the social media vortex or shipping your work isn’t an issue for you. Maybe you just need to get out of your own damn way.

That could mean:

  • Becoming more comfortable with promoting your services online
  • Developing your own confidence and believing that you belong at the table
  • Understanding how you can legitimately charge more for your services
  • Hiring help (much more economical than you’d think and a HUGE time saver)
  • Getting a part-time job to make ends meet
  • Admitting that your marketing plan isn’t working and trying something else
  • Reaching out to ideal clients to learn more about them so that your offering lines up with their needs
  • Scrapping a service that you don’t enjoy anymore

This is the worst! It’s the hardest! There’s no straight line from A to B and no one teaches us this stuff in school. Argh…who has time to figure all this out when you’re already busy trying to do All The Things?

I’ll be the first to tell you that this never goes away. You’ll always be the biggest thing in your own way. Which means you have to pay attention to that.

In order to grow you must must must do a regular assessment of where you’re stopping yourself up…where your thought processes are preventing you from growing bigger and developing your business smarter.

Bottom line? As tough as it feels to stare this down, I implore you to TAKE ACTION NOW. Pick one thing either from the list above or whatever’s been hanging over your head and decide to change your approach. Make getting over yourself a habit.

GRAB YOUR COPY OF 10 WAYS TO GET OVER YOURSELF + GET YOUR IDEAS INTO THE WORLD

Or book a session so we can work out how you can optimize your current system, offerings, and yourself to bring more ease into your business, while increasing your earning capacity.

And hey, don’t be a stranger: tell me in the comments if you recognized yourself in any of the above and, more importantly, what you’re going to do about it.

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Don’t fall for all the free shit http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/09/dont-fall-for-all-the-free-shit/ http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/09/dont-fall-for-all-the-free-shit/#comments Mon, 19 Sep 2016 05:30:00 +0000 http://republicoffreedom.com/?p=17529 So I’m sitting here with my homebrew Italian-style latte, sporting my comfy pants ready to tackle the day when I […]

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Don't Fall For All The Free Shit

So I’m sitting here with my homebrew Italian-style latte, sporting my comfy pants ready to tackle the day when I see a Facebook post advertising a program run by a freelancer whose work I’m curious about.

I scroll through her sales page to get a feel for the program (rarely do I buy anything but I like to give a looky-loo) and while I’m nodding my head thanking sweetbabylordjesus that she’s kept it concise and value-focused, saving me from the dreaded long-form 8-page scroll-forever will-it-ever-end gahddamb sales page experience, I nevertheless hit a wall. Where?

The free bonuses

Look, I know free bonuses are supposed to sweeten the deal, but there’s a good way and a not so good way of doing it. Starting with not blinding me with all of your free bonuses, son. It’s not even 9am yet!

The Not So Good Way

I give you this: When you add a bunch of free bonuses (usually from your freelancing friends), it’s not actually adding value, it’s adding overwhelm.

Honestly, when you’ve bought a program with a bunch of free bonus mini-courses attached, how many of those freebies do you actually use/consume? How many of them do you need RIGHT NOW?

It’s a tactic. It’s the same as seeing 30 velour clothes hangers on sale at IKEA for the price of ten. “Sweet deal!” screams your inner closet-organizing fanatic. But do you need 30 hangers right now? Have you just bought 30 new pieces of clothes or taken in a small group of refugees?

No, and you probably don’t need all those freebies either. Not right now. In a world of 5 bazillion things vying for your attention, the last thing you need is a .zip file full of stuff you feel like you should read or learn from so that it doesn’t go to waste. Nah. More time stress = no good.

Let’s quit it with the content-stuffing already and keep it simple.

The Good Way

Here’s the deal: If your program has tons of integrity on it’s own, it should sell itself.

One piece of bonus material that directly relates to the primary product and is immediately implementable is fine. But let’s be more discerning. Let’s be thoughtful about what we offer alongside our programs as well as how we make decisions about our purchases.

I’m not saying I’m a bastion of cautious consumerism. I, sometimes in that moment of need, come really close to an emotional purchase because “that program looks good and one day I’ll need some of those bonus programs.”

Know what I do? I hit up my assistant on Slack and say, “Hey, thinking of getting XYZ to increase my knowledge on blah blah and there’s this free thing and that free thing…” and in about one hot minute she’s able to show me whether or not it’s a good investment. (It’s usually not)

“Yeah, but Heather it’s only $199 for the program PLUS All The Things!” I don’t care. Save up that $199 you blow every second month on stuff you’ll never use and hire a virtual assistant instead to take care of all your non-genius work.

Marketing is powerful. We lose our objectivity when we feel a sense of scarcity. But don’t fall for all that free shit. And don’t try to peddle it either. Rather, create (and consume) work that stands on it’s own.

Smart Tip

Got a few things in mind that you know you need to grow your business? Here’s a way to avoid making an emotional purchase: shortlist exactly what you know you need.

Make a few categories…things like tech, social, design/graphic and…business strategy and then list within those categories programs that you’re been eyeballing for a while. When the time comes to tackle that part of your business education, go and purchase that specific program.

You can also sign up for AppSumo or a similar service and with luck, you’ll get a program you’ve been lusting after on sale.

Need help creating that signature program that’ll sell itself? Hit me up for a session and we’ll make it happen. Now, back to my latte…

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Eight of the best people that ever happened to Instagram http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/09/eight-of-the-best-people-that-ever-happened-to-instagram/ http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/09/eight-of-the-best-people-that-ever-happened-to-instagram/#comments Mon, 05 Sep 2016 05:30:00 +0000 http://republicoffreedom.com/?p=17453 Ok ok, I admit: you’ve heard me talk about some of these people before (like in my 2014 Twitter roundup […]

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Eight of the best people that ever happened to instagram

Ok ok, I admit: you’ve heard me talk about some of these people before (like in my 2014 Twitter roundup – which still stands, by the way).

But I’ve recently discovered some other Instagrammers that are absolutely fabulous and I thought you ought to know. Here’s the throw-down:

Paul Jarvis – Paul is that guy you want to live down the road from and hope that he’ll share some of his heirloom tomatoes with you once a season. He inspires me to be strategic about my business, eat clean and always live close to nature. #strategy #nature

Renegade Mothering – Janelle is the Queen of being an eloquent galvanizer of justice while simultaneously being stuck under a pile of children, a reminder to stand behind what you believe in and argue with integrity, and really good at making people who are afraid of having children think that maybe having children ain’t so bad. #badassery #workwithwhatyouvegot

Martinaturally – my client Martina makes the BEST delicious-and-easy food posts, hands down. Not even kidding, I feel healthier just by following her. She makes eating well feel accessible even to those of us that forget to eat and then scramble for something, and her short videos inspire me daily. #food #health

Dave Conrey – artist, art activist, storyteller, inspiration for creatives everywhere to share your process in full view…a visual storytelling genius, if you will. #art #advocacy

Leonie Dawson – man, this chick is awesome at marketing. She’s totally NOT my style but I learn so much about social media marketing just by watching her example. She’s also the queen of keeping it real with the selfies. No over-produced my-life-is-perfect BS. She’s made the ugly face cool again. #authenticity #marketing

This Wild Idea – Ermagherd, if you live in a perpetual state of wanderlust and love dogs, then this is the best account ever to follow. It makes me feel all the feels. It’s so real, and like a fairytale all at once. #wanderlust #photography

Marnie – the most ugly-cute dog on the internet with the best captions to boot. Her story will crack your heart open and her funny pics will keep you coming back. Two million followers can’t be wrong. #compassion #comedy

Wolfgang2242 – this guy shares the most heartwarming photo-stories of his life with 9 senior rescue dogs, Stuart the rabbit and Bikini the pig. It’s my favourite feel-good Instagram account. #heart #storytelling

Don’t forget to share with me your favourite Instagrammers in the comments. And include why…the why is important.

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The fastest way to burn out your business, your dreams, and yourself http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/08/the-fastest-way-to-burn-out-your-business-your-dreams-and-yourself/ http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/08/the-fastest-way-to-burn-out-your-business-your-dreams-and-yourself/#comments Mon, 22 Aug 2016 05:30:00 +0000 http://republicoffreedom.com/?p=17451 I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. I’m in that mood where I feel like your straight-talking lady-cousin […]

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burn out your business

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. I’m in that mood where I feel like your straight-talking lady-cousin who sees you need a little shake-up.

Want to burn yourself out? Have no money.

Darling, you cannot be productive, nor strategic, nor at your best professionally if you are constantly stressed about being able to pay your rent. There’s no freelance rulebook out there that says you have to leap and then just work your butt off while the savings disappear, and then keep working harder and suffer until something gives in order to “make it”.

This isn’t a one and done scenario. You need money. You have not failed if your first venture into full time freelancing doesn’t pan out. Going back to waiting tables or teaching yoga or whatever it takes is 100% completely unutterably FINE and no you won’t stay there because you’ll hate it after a while. But you’ll be giving yourself the gift of meeting your financial needs which in turn gives you the mental space to build your freelance gig in a non-desperate way.

You need money. And to hell with anyone that judges your decisions. The road to self-sufficience is a long one and there are lots of detours. This is 100% completely unutterably FINE and it’s no one else’s business how you make your dreams come true.

You need money. And you owe it to yourself to make sure your fiscal needs are met. And that’s it. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. You and I both know who will be laughing in the long run. And I believe in you.

Want to burn yourself out even more? Work with people you don’t like serving.

When you’re in the early stages and money is an issue, it’s so easy to say yes to every client that comes along because…money. And experience. We all need to hone our craft a bit until we feel legit.

But love, you’ll grow to hate your freelancing gig quite rapidly if you work with people you don’t like serving. Even one or two mis-matched clients can make work seem like some kind of seventh layer of hell.

For the love of all things holy, listen to your gut and don’t take on people who you get “the vibes” about.

Don’t work with people who seem weird online.
Don’t work with people who question your rates.
Don’t work with people who are unreliable communicators.

Your hours and energy are finite. For every mis-matched client you take on, you take away a space that could’ve been filled with one of Your People.

 

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Two Bulletproof Ways To Make Decisions http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/08/two-bulletproof-ways-to-make-decisions/ Mon, 15 Aug 2016 05:30:00 +0000 http://heatherthorkelson.com/?p=11385 I’m a Libra which basically means I suck at making decisions. I hate it when people ask me what kind […]

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Two Bulletproof ways to make decisions

I’m a Libra which basically means I suck at making decisions. I hate it when people ask me what kind of food I want to order in. Too many options! I’ll be happy with whatever. Someone should just decide for me thankyouverymuch.

If you ever catch me in a yarn shop, you’ll probably find me standing in the corner, arms piled high with yarn with a happy/paralyzed look on my face as I try to decide which skeins will come home with me. It’s a drawn-out affair often ending in me spending way too much coin.

That said, I’m much better at making decisions when it comes to business. Why? Partially because I’ve figured out that there’s a part of me that knows way better than my fence-sitting brain, and partially because of the fantastic brain of a former US president. Read on…

ONE: MAKING RESONANT DECISIONS

A very cool thing happened one day recently when I had a bunch of new consults. After every one I felt like I was high, and by the end of the day I felt totally exhausted. (in a good is-it-beer-o’clock-yet way)

It was way beyond a rational connection with each of the people I spoke with – it was a feeling I got. A sense of fit that was so clear it was like a ball of warmth in my chest.

I realized this was happening in a lot of areas in my life. Sometimes I would feel all Hell No and other times I would feel fireworks going off in my cells.

At the risk of sounding woo-woo, I started to make most decisions based on the way my body feels.

You know how it is.

Some things feel just a little bit off. You can’t place your finger on it, but…there’s some weird feeling…like if your stomach had a head it would be slowly shaking it back and forth.

Some things come across your plate and you feel your heart drop or your shoulders get heavy.

And sometimes you feel like you’ve got FizzPop in your brain.

It’s not surprising really. Your gut (or Second Brain) has 100 million neurons in it. (It’s science. I wouldn’t make that up.)

Problem is, we’re really good at responding positively to the good feelings and ignoring or mistrusting the meh feelings.

Charlie Hoehn in his interview on The Unmistakeable Creative talks about this exact thing.

So, Bulletproof Strategy #1 is: make decisions based on how your body feels. Trust that nagging feeling. And on the flip side, trust what energizes you. Commit to this.

 

TWO: MAKING SMART DECISIONS

You know how someone tells you something and you’re like, “Of course! That’s common sense!” Well, when I went through Seth Godin’s altMBA in late 2015 he reintroduced me to a decision-making tool that I’d seen a million times, but it just hadn’t clicked.

Enter, the Eisenhower Matrix.

Urgent vs important - Eisenhowers Matrix

Look, I’m not one to use specific tools or graphs. My default mental setting is fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants. But I can also vouch for the incredible and undeniable importance of creating good habits.

You don’t need to consult this sheet every time you make decisions. But let me invite you to try one thing: spend the next two weeks cross-referencing your to-do list every morning with this matrix.

Then, prioritize accordingly.

If you don’t see a significant difference in your daily progress, I will buy you a beer or a kombucha (you choose) next time I’m in your town.

Here’s the thing – once you get in the habit of assessing things based on Urgent vs Important, it becomes second nature. You slowly and steadily build the habit of working smart, while leaving your procrastination days in the dust.

Trust me on this.

It doesn’t happen overnight, but when you get in the habit you’ll be shipping more (and better) work than you ever have before.

So, Bulletproof Strategy #2 is: when stuck, use Eisenhower’s matrix.

Got some other ideas on how to make smart decisions? Pop them in the comments below.

 

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How to avoid the Freelance Booby Trap http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/08/how-to-avoid-the-freelance-booby-trap/ http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/08/how-to-avoid-the-freelance-booby-trap/#comments Mon, 08 Aug 2016 05:30:00 +0000 http://republicoffreedom.com/?p=17450 Last time I ran the Sprint webinar to prep people for 30 Days to Done, I got this bit of […]

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how to avoid the freelance booby trap

Last time I ran the Sprint webinar to prep people for 30 Days to Done, I got this bit of feedback from an attendee:

“My favourite bit of the webinar was the bit where you talked about thinking through the implications of shipping your work. You mentioned about not wanting to be tied into managing a FB community so all your courses are finite. I feel like that is a topic that I haven’t seen anyone else discussing, but it’s so important.

As we discussed yesterday I feel like I’ve got into a position where I keep getting requests and referrals to do the type of work I’m not interested in doing. I agree to the work because I need the money at the moment, but then get annoyed because it’s keeping me away form doing the things I want to be doing to grow my business. A lot of that has probably stemmed from not thinking through the implications of shipping my work.”

This, friends, is the Freelance Booby Trap: not thinking through the implications of how you offer your services.

This, friends, is the Freelance Booby Trap: not thinking through the implications of how you offer your services.

It’s true…unlike most coaches or consultants, I don’t have FB groups for my courses that require my ongoing regular presence. This would throw a stick in the spokes of my freedom bicycle now, wouldn’t it? One thing I’m clear on is that I want to help people, but I don’t want to be beholden to them forever and ever, amen.

You need to be keenly aware of what your business will need from you and whether you really want that.

The writer above did really well at offering a service he didn’t like delivering. What are the long term implications of that? How can he turn that ship around?

I used to run adventure retreats for entrepreneurs, and I still get asked when I’ll run the next one. But the truth is, after running three of them, I realized I didn’t like the long term implications of that business model.

So I scrapped it and focused my energy elsewhere. Just because people want something from you, doesn’t mean you have to deliver it. If your business (or an element of your business) isn’t serving you…if it’s not energizing you…it needs tweaking.

Your only “obligation” is to deliver your expertise in a way that feels right and expansive to you.

This includes the long game. This includes the implications for 3 and 6 months out. If you don’t think through where this project, service, or offering will land you in a years’ time, you might be booby trapping your business.

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Working for yourself feel like a slog? Here’s how to fix that http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/07/how-to-work-for-yourself/ http://republicoffreedom.com/2016/07/how-to-work-for-yourself/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 05:30:00 +0000 http://republicoffreedom.com/?p=17411 So you’re working for yourself, and you don’t have a boss or co-workers or weekly meetings or reports due. Gone […]

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how to work for yourself

So you’re working for yourself, and you don’t have a boss or co-workers or weekly meetings or reports due. Gone are the days of working in an office where you’re blocked from accessing Facebook on your work computer.

Being a freelancer is awesome because hey…you don’t have to deal with any of the above! You’re free!! Yay! Except working for yourself (and often by yourself) is a slippery slope to mid-week Game of Thrones binges and checking Instagram every 15 minutes. (Don’t wanna miss the latest Marnie post!)

This sucks big time.

It means that when most people leap they have to start from scratch and learn how to work for themselves. FYI, this is really freakin’ hard. No one tells you this. But entrepreneurship is one of the biggest learning curves you’ll ever find yourself on.

Even if you’ve been in business a while, you’re probably still struggling with managing all of the different pieces, and doing them all well.

Maybe you’re still googling: “How to work for yourself”.

So below I’ve listed out a smattering of the things you need to ask yourself while building your livelihood as an entrepreneur. Have a quick read through the questions below and identify the areas that you haven’t thought of or where you may have dropped the ball.

Cleaning up your proverbial business house can make all the difference in the world. Let’s begin!

 

Zoom Out: The Big Picture

What’s your Why? But not just that….Why this business? Why should anyone care? Why these clients? Why do they need you?

If you have no idea how to answer these questions, you’ve got some work to do, love. Knowing your Why(s) is one of the most crucial elements of running a successful small business. It’s the basis for the values you bring to the table, for all of the decisions that you make and the type of clients you attract. Do you know your Why(s)?

Structure: what deliverables do you have? What things must be done regularly in order to get clients or business in the door?

A lot of freelancers start a business and think, “Oh I’ll just put up a website with my services and then let people know on Facebook. Voila! Clients will come running.” WRONG. It’s crucial that you have deliverables to yourself, for your business, that you execute regularly. Why? To get people interested in what you offer and create an ongoing relationship of trust so that they (eventually) decide to hire you. Do you know what your deliverables are to generate business?

Zoom In: The Nitty Gritty

Accountability: What does your business need from you on a weekly basis? Content? Outreach? Bookkeeping? Follow up? What are your set dates/times that are non-negotiable for content?

It’s crucial that you think about the maintenance of your business otherwise things get left undone and it all starts to feel sloppy after a while. Blogging whenever the inspiration strikes? Following up on emails whenever you find the time? Not ok. This looks super unprofessional. Set yourself some deadlines and stick to them…such as a guaranteed bi-monthly blog post and a 48-hour follow up promise for all emails.

Accountability isn’t just about reporting in to other people, it’s about being accountable to yourself. That’s pro, baby.


Accountability isn’t just about reporting in to other people, it’s about being accountable to…
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When do you work best? What are your dedicated work hours and/or peak mental times?

Contrary to popular belief, just because the conventional work world has us sitting at a desk from 9-5 doesn’t mean that you need to do that when you work from home. Some people are morning people, some people are night people. Some people work best in short spurts. Figure out when you work best and then plan you work days around that. Because hey, you work for yourself…you can do whatever you want! (Just make sure you Get It Done)

Where do you work best? At home? Coffee shop? Co-working space?

This is one more thing to get honest about and then set yourself up for success. My friend Lynn goes ape-shit when she works from home alone but thrives in a co-working space. I, on the other hand, LOVE to work from home alone and occasionally go to a (quiet) coffee shop just to mix things up, especially when I write.

What are your greatest distractions? Social media? Kids? Netflix? And which of these distractions do you have control over?

Ah ha! That last bit caught you, didn’t it. Freelancers complain all the time about distractions and procrastination…but you have control over a lot of it. Kids interrupting, maybe not (though you can set working hours where no one is allowed to bug you in the office). But social media and Netflix? This is on you, friend. Only you can shut that shit down. It all depends on how much you want this “freelance” thing. No one is going to hand you discipline on a golden platter so you’d better start creating the habit now.

Every piece of this matters

I don’t have to tell you that having one tiny element out of whack can throw a wrench in your entire business wheel. My client Emma made one small change – she turned off all of the automatic social media notifications that came automatically through her phone and increased her focus and productivity dramatically. One little change = big positive result = greater income potential.

Take action now

This is just a snapshot of the jumping-off point for my signature program, 30 Days to Done – a program in which I teach you to increase your capacity to generate results. Or in plain speak, how to work smart and achieve your business goals no matter what your circumstances.

Tell me in the comments if you had any ah-ha’s that might help you improve your business.

 

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