The Entrepreneurial Chronicles

The Entrepreneurial Chronicles

I’ve been quiet the past couple of weeks. It’s not intentional – it’s because I’ve been launching a product, and given that it’s the first product I’ve ever launched (other than my books) it’s been such a journey, both personally as well as logistically.

Last year I had the idea to create a Tudor Planner. It would essentially be a weekly and monthly day planner with filled with Tudor history, music suggestions, and quotes. The idea occurred to me too late in the year to do anything about it, and so it went into the pile of good ideas that I never developed.

It came back to me about a month ago, and I thought, “hey, I should figure out how to make one of these.” At first I played around with using Excel or Word, and realized that wasn’t going to work at all, and so I downloaded InDesign. I know nothing about InDesign at all, and so I watched YouTube tutorials, teaching myself.

The result is that I now have a Tudor Planner available for sale. I’m using Blurb for Print On Demand, and I’ve launched with Facebook ads, as well as getting a reseller through one of my partners, Tudor Times.

It’s been a long road figuring out how the design works, getting a cover created, figuring out the Blurb template, creating the website, the website for the PDF download, etc.

And it’s been such a journey of removing my own money blocks, seeing where I am afraid, and overcoming that.

In the past 11 days since the Facebook ads have been up, I’ve been thrilled with the sales, which is also scary because the sheer work of fulfilling these orders is daunting. But I’m moving forward with it, and it’s opening up a whole new chapter in my life. The Facebook ads are having a happy side effect which is that my mailing list signups are increasing exponentially. I had just expected people to go to the site and buy (or not) a Tudor Planner. Turns out many of them aren’t buying right now, but are signing up for my mailing list, which is really exciting.

This is really short, but it beats nothing, and I just want to document where I’m at right now which is excited, feeling like I’m on the verge of something new and exciting, and simultaneously really frightened, having to step into something bigger than I’ve known before.

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Entrepreneurial Chronicles: The Importance of Routines and Habits

Entrepreneurial Chronicles: The Importance of Routines and Habits

So this is my, admittedly late, Entrepreneurial Chronicles check in. Last week was a pretty sucky week productivity-wise. Hannahbear was sick, so I didn’t get nearly as much work time as I wanted. She’s back in school this week, and I get 4 hours each day to myself, which is bliss.

I want to talk about habits today, since I’m keenly aware of their importance after a week like that where my entire schedule went to shit.

I don’t know if it’s just a Taurus thing, but I am a creature of habit, and I go all wonky when my routine gets messed up. Research has shown that daily routines are important for success, not just for executive suit types, but even more importantly for creatives. I expect creative entrepreneurs like me, combining both sides of their brains, would benefit the most from routine.

The thinking is simply that when you have the Little Things sorted out in a routine, it gives your brain space to think about the Big Picture, come up with new ideas, and create new things. I believe in this wholeheartedly. No mom who tries to get her kids ready for school while groggy herself can argue with the importance of routine for freeing up brain power.

Rituals fall into the same category. Many creatives have daily rituals that they stick to before they start to write, or paint, or create. It triggers something in you that says, “oh, hey, I know what’s going on here. We’re lighting a candle, we’re getting the coffee in the special Creativity Mug, we’re putting on Morten Lauridsen. It must be time to write.” The ritual turns the creativity on like a light switch.

Habits are the same for me. I used to write out in my to do list the same ten things every day: drink 8 glasses of water, listen to new music, exercise, do my morning pages and meditate, post to twitter, etc. It got old, writing all of this out. Why, I thought, couldn’t I have something that replicated them every day, since they were always the same? I wanted a tablet with them pre-printed, and room to add new ones.

Enter the habit tracker! Aha! A habit tracker! That’s exactly what I needed. These are habits that I wish to cultivate in myself so that they get worked into my schedule without me even needing to think about it. They just happen, the way I just breathe and don’t think about it. I needed something that would help me keep track of them until they did become so ingrained that they happened automatically.

I downloaded the iPro Habit Tracker for my android phone. There’s a free version, but I splurged $1 for the paid one. It lets you set up habits in different categories, and set how often you want to do them.

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For example, I know I want to listen to Millennium of Music every Monday. I set it as a habit, and it pops up each Monday for me to check off. There are certain things I want to do every day; exercise, drink water, log my food, listen to new music, do my morning pages and meditate, take my vitamins, read, listen to a podcast, post and check in with my Mastermind groups, do something nice for my hubby, and track my money. They get set up as daily habits.

Then there are the things I want to do regularly, but not every day. Write in my  blog, research for my podcast, buy the digital versions of my favorite UK magazines, clear up my digital clutter. These are habits that get set up for certain days of the week.

The great thing about the Habit Tracker I use is that you can also set categories you create. So I have categories like mind, body, spirit, relationship, and business. Then I can categorize each habit, and see where I might be lacking. Are all of my habits body related? Then maybe I need to add reading, or meditating.

A lot of physical planners come with habit trackers now as we become more aware of their importance, but I love the ease of use of just having mine on my phone. I scroll through a few times a day and check off the things I’ve done, and am reminded of new things I wanted to do. Boom, done, easy.

It took a bit of time to set them all up with their categories and time frames; maybe an hour to think of them all and decide how often I wanted to do them, but I am so happy with the result, and in the end it winds up saving me time and energy.

Once these habits become a part of me so much so that I don’t even need the habit tracker, then we’ll be on to the next step in being zen – not having your life go to absolute shit when your kid gets sick, and you’re not able to do them all. I really don’t do well when my routine is messed up!

Have you used a habit tracker? What was your experience like? I’d love to know what others think, and what kind of difference it’s made in your life. Let me know in the comments!

How I’m Building my Manifesting Muscles, and becoming the Entrepreneur I was meant to be

How I’m Building my Manifesting Muscles, and becoming the Entrepreneur I was meant to be

I am trying to check in once a week, logging my entrepreneurial activities, and the growth of my nascent business. Normally I would do this on a Saturday morning for the week previous, but this past Saturday got off kilter (young children have that power), and so here I am now.

I am realizing more and more that the reasons why I haven’t been successful as an entrepreneur before have nothing to do with my abilities or brains, but everything to do with my feelings that I don’t deserve it.

People where I grew up don’t just make a living from being an online entrepreneur who shares history, music, and travel. As my dad said to me once, early on when I was about 24 and wanted to become an online entrepreneur so that I could work from anywhere, “everybody wants that. What makes you feel like you’re so special?”

Touche.

So I got good jobs. I got steady jobs. I relegated my passions – writing, podcasting, history, music – to the “hobby” file. Nice to do, when I had the time, but not really something I can devote my life to.

Because that’s what people like me are born into, and deserve. Other people can do their passions for work. People who are born into money, or went to a really good school. People who have society connections so they can get patrons. Not people like me, from good Pennsylvania German stock. We work. It’s what we do.

As I do more work with the Law of Attraction, woo-woo head-space manifesting work, I see that in so many ways I have been repelling money from my entrepreneurial activities. I’ve had ideas that I did nothing with. I’ve pursued ideas only to drop them just as success was coming.

I haven’t put myself out there because of fear of what others would think of me. Really? I’m going to let a stranger’s opinion of me determine the level of passion with which I pursue my dream? I’m going to let a stranger’s opinion of me decide whether I do or don’t get to live the life of my dreams? Are you kidding me?

I’ve been doing a lot of online courses in the past year. Tribe Writers from Jeff Goins, the Leonie Dawson Shining Academy, Jen Sincero’s Badass Coaching program, I hired a business coach, and now I’m doing the Money Bootcamp from Denise Duffield-Thomas, and Mike Dooley’s Playing the Matrix.

You could say I’ve become an online coaching junkie.

But I’m getting something different and unique from each of these programs, and I know that they were brought into my life for a reason. The biggest thing I am getting from each of them is the grounding and knowledge that I am part of the universe. I have always known it, but there’s a difference between knowing, and really “getting” it. I “know” how to lose weight. Doesn’t mean I do it, or really believe I can.

Same thing. I’ve always known I was part of the universe. But in just the past few weeks I am really getting how connected I am to Source, to everything in the universe, and how I can work with Source energy to make my dreams come true.

Not only that, but because I am part of Source, and Source is part of me, my dreams are Source’s dreams. I was given these dreams by Source, and the universe wants nothing more than for me to actively pursue them. The universe will move mountains in order for me to pursue the life of my dreams.

I wholly believe this now.

Every morning I do Morning Pages. I’ve said that before. The new part I’ve put in is having an actual conversation with the universe. I write my questions, the universe writes back. I write my insecurities, the universe tells me what’s up. We go on like this for 3 pages or so, and by the end I’m feeling way more connected and grounded, and feeling powerful, and ready to take on the day.

In the past I’ve shied away from doing this kind of activity, feeling like I was talking to myself. How can I know it’s the universe, I wondered. It sounds like me. It’s probably just me talking to myself.

But. I AM the universe. So when I talk to myself, to those deepest, wisest parts, the parts that don’t surface as much as I’d like them to – when I talk to those parts, and give those parts voice, that IS the universe talking. That is my deepest, wisest self, the self that is fully in touch with her power, and has a million gazillion years worth of wisdom in her pinky finger. When I give her voice, I feel amazing, and like I can conquer anything.

So I am working on exercising my manifesting muscle. Last week I said I wanted to manifest three of my books sold. I did that. I also said I wanted to manifest 32 people to my email list (an increase of 10%). I didn’t do that. I said I wanted to manifest $500 from my business, and I didn’t do that.

I did: write an article on medium about my self publishing lessons so far, which was featured in the Art+Marketing publication. Completed and produced a Virtual Tour of Cambridge. Created coloring pages for my October giveaway for my newsletter. Started working on InDesign for my planner I’m building. Announced it all in my newsletter. I hit 10k steps every day. It was a good week.

Baby steps. We’re getting there. In a few years when I’m able to manifest $500 in a matter of hours, I will look back on this and smile at the me I was before I stepped into this greater adventure. I’m becoming a butterfly over here. One day, one product, one newsletter at a time. With magic, and fun, and laughter along the way. Weeeeee!

 

 

The Entrepreneurial Chronicles

The Entrepreneurial Chronicles

In addition to losing 40 pounds this year, something else I’m working on is becoming an entrepreneur. I shouldn’t say becoming because I already am one. I just haven’t translated that into earning cash yet. I’ve translated it into lots of podcast listeners, blog readers, super amazing activities. But I’ve had a block with actually making money out of it.

Oh, it’s easy to say, “wait, nobody makes money from podcasting and writing. It’s just a labor of love.” But that’s not actually true. There are plenty of people out there in the world making money out of podcasting and writing. Even writing and podcasting on really obscure subjects.

I’m part of a history podcasts group on Facebook, and there are at least 50 people in the group who are making living wages doing podcasting full time. I know for a fact that I am as smart and talented as any one of them.

So what’s been holding me back? 

I am convinced that what’s holding me back from being a really kickass successful entrepreneur is the same thing that’s been holding me back from losing weight, and really living full on. There’s something there about not wanting to be seen, not wanting to be noticed, wanting to just fade into the background.

I don’t know exactly what it is, or where it came from, but the first fear that always comes up when I think about being a full time podcaster who is making a boatload of money from it is, “but who are you to do that? What will everybody think about you doing that, especially when lots of them have way more experience in it than me?”

There’s something about being a showoff, or stepping in to where I don’t have enough knowledge, or something about being seen. I kind of want to get on with things and be invisible, which is how I was at my old job. I got on with things quietly, I went to meetings, but mostly I was just working at home doing what I was meant to do, and making amazing things happen, and nobody really even knew it was me doing it.

It was all meant to change this past year in Spain. I was meant to have lost the weight, and really become successful on my own. That didn’t happen, and now we’re still in Spain for the foreseeable future. I’m convinced that there’s a reason behind it. This is my second chance to make the amazing shit happen, and I’m not going to waste it.

So here’s what I’ve done so far.

I signed up for Weight Watchers at the end of July, and am down about 10 pounds so far. Which is great, but I am struggling daily. Yesterday I stress-ate 6 spoonfuls of peanut butter because Hannah refused to take a nap, was on a serious sugar bender, and literally every other word out of her mouth was either, “I want,” or “why?”

Oh my God, it was awful. I was seriously hiding in the bathroom shoving peanut butter into my mouth at one point. No joke.

But I logged it all into my WW app, and I still have 19 weekly points left, so I’m not too far off the game yet.

I also shelled out for a business coach. 

This was the hardest for me because I really think I know a lot about business. Like, I read business books, and I can totally see stuff in other people. I could be a coach. I see other businesses failing, and it’s like, “well hang on, why don’t you do xyz?”

So why do I need a coach?

Because you can’t see it in yourself. I realized that I spent the last year throwing an amazing amount of shit at the wall, and none of it really came to any kind of fruition. This is because, I suspect, I have been confusing the Universe. I recognize the whole Law of Attraction scene, and I know that I need to be laser focused and just stay focused on one thing at a time, and then I will be rewarded.

This past year I threw the following at the wall:

  • my podcast
  • self publishing courses
  • podcasting courses
  • my books
  • library consulting work
  • writing about ebooks in libraries
  • my blog
  • tours for the podcast
  • books with other podcasters

And so you see, the Universe had nowhere to actually make anything happen. It was too scattered.

So with the help of my business coach, I am narrowing things down and focusing. It’s all about Renaissance English History. I make that happen through:

  • the podcast
  • tours and retreats that are marketed through the podcast
  • historical books that are marketed through the podcast
  • doing business coaching for others who want to start a podcast or take their podcast and technology to the next level
  • virtual tours about the history of my favorite cities in England

See, it’s all much more focused on English history, which is my passion anyway, much moreso than just writing about ebooks for the sake of them. I’m quite happy to help people self publish, in the context of history.

I’ve been working with her for about 2 weeks now, and I’m already feeling much more laser sharp.

And so, I’m Law of Attraction-ing myself an amazing life where I get paid to study Renaissance English history, and help others to discover and explore their own interests in history. 

Hooray!