It’s been a minute since I shared a personal post. Basically, it’s long overdue. Back in the day, I used to share a lot of personal bits – nothing too TMI or anything. But those reading the blog were able to catch glimpses into my life, home projects, a cross country move, occasional recipes, and more. Why did I pull back? Well, for many reasons, but here’s a few…
- Crazy enough, some people reading along eventually became real-life, in-person clients. A couple even figured out where my new house is located based on the fact they walked past it. Whoa, I know! And another interesting bit, last Fall a woman who’s been reading my blog from its early days (we’re talking way back in the day), contacted me for with a project. She knew my story so well there were events we chatted about even I had forgotten. Amazing! In a non-creepy way. She lives local and was able to figure out I was less than 15 minutes away in order to hire me. It was one of the best mornings spent last Fall, to be honest. That day fell during a particularly tough work week. Brought me right back to my old blog roots, craving for time to project and blog away at home. And it only solidified some of the feelings I’ll be sharing below.
- I was feeling as if the more I shared, the more people would know. But would they hire me if I was writing personal things on the blog? Would it make me appear unprofessional? I’ve been wondering how my professional business and blog would overlap. How people will view me and my professionalism.
- Of course, I also have to find the time to write and that’s been hard to come by with a growing professional organization business.
I want you to know that I took last year’s reader survey results to heart, and promise to share more. Be more real. Get in here more often to share the ins and outs. Like, for example, the fact my crawl space flooded a couple weeks ago and we’ve been dealing with the aftermath ever since. And then it flooded again earlier this week. It’s a doozy – will share all the details soon.
Staying in My Own Lane
Today what I wanted to chat about are my efforts to get focused and stay in my own lane. Owning a small business (managing the ins and outs), working with clients several days a week, staying engaged with an online community, having bigger dreams and goals for the blog / my business, swimming in a sea of future project (and product) ideas – it is all consuming. But somehow, the online world sorta swallowed me whole and I’m trying to crawl out to re-focus on what I WANT TO DO…not what THE INTERNET says I should do.
Conferences and Webinars
A couple years ago I branched out and attended my first blog conference. I attended the same conference again last summer. Since then have attended a few more, including the Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker event in NYC. Doing so has led to meeting the most incredible people and friends. Each is unique in their blog focus, but several branched off into creating and selling digital products / courses.
There was a period of time when every week there was some sort of webinar I was being introduced / invited to. An invite would arrive in my inbox and I’d be like a dog to a bone….”Oh, that’s for me, I need to be a part of that live webinar!”…or “Oh, that’s a new podcast I need to add to my playlist!”…or “Hey, I have a free 4-day training course I’d like to include you in!”. All leads you to join someones e-mail list…which means more e-mails are coming in with more info and more leads down even more rabbit holes.
I’m sorta done.
Actually, I was done last Fall.
So What Gives?
Month after month I’d find myself listening to and watching other people succeed at their goals…while falling short on my own. They were capturing me with their great ideas, products, info, trainings and courses (and don’t get me wrong – still love and need the help) but I wasn’t putting anything to work – or at least putting forth 100% of my effort. Why? Because I was already so overwhelmed and had my own business to keep my nose in. I had my goals written down, but wasn’t making traction on anything. And if I was, I certainly wasn’t taking anything to completion. Talk about frustrated!
The one area I was successful was my work with clients. My schedule was packed with clients and they were all happy. But again, in my minimal off time, I was giving giving giving or absorbing other people’s info…not focusing on doing doing doing for my own sake.
I think the tides shifted when I felt this sense of exhaustion from taking in so. much. info. Too much info. We can only take in so much, right?
Getting Down to Business
At the end of December, when my schedule slowed during the holidays, I spent quiet time writing down what my goals were. The entire long list. I won’t bore you with that right now, but you’ll see a small glimpse in the following image. In my new goal planner (shared here), I carved out a small section for actionable goals. My entire list of goals is organized by category in Evernote, but I chose the top 12 to focus on “right now”, wrote them on post-it notes, and added them to a sheet of paper in my planner…
Yes, one is blurred for the moment.
Some of these tasks / goals are necessary, like legal topics, taxes, getting help by way of an awesome VA, and my logo (little story behind this one – wait until you hear it!). But once I had these 12 in my face, staring me down, I chose one at a time to sprint on. Some are not completed yet. For example, I hired an attorney (love her!!) but there is a process involved with legal that takes time. But I can now proudly say the ball is rolling and that’s more than what was happening last year. Because remember last year NOTHING was happening – ha!
What Needs to Change
Fact is, having these in my face on the daily, coupled with my motivation to focus on and stay in my own lane (not get wrapped up in everyone else’s stuff), has pushed me to actually getting sh!t done. Here’s some highlights:
- You may notice that more content has been showing up on the blog. This is due to a new blog schedule that allows for writing time to be added into my week. I love writing and sharing, but unless I plan the writing time for the freshest points during my day, it won’t happen. I was really pleased when I hit publish on my grocery store game plan post. You have no idea how long that’s been sitting in Evernote…how long I’ve been wanting to share that with you.
- I’m excited to share that I was accepted into an Evernote certified training program that I completed this week. I’m awaiting word that I passed and am an official member. Once I know, I’ll be able to add this as a service I can offer to clients – in person and virtually! Can’t wait because many of us struggle with digital organization….and it may give me the chance to work with many of you, which would be amazing! I’m seeing a lot of video trainings in my future!
- I finally dug into Lesley’s book, What the Tech?, in order to make some site updates…all on my own! Not paying a web person! The idea behind her book is to learn how to work on your website on your own…and save the money. I’m proud to say every tweak you see has been done by me. This will continue – and again, can’t recommend her book / course enough!
- Really really excited to share I’ve finally dug into the writing of a very special e-book. This will be my first digital product offering. The writing time must be scheduled so I’ve carved out 1-2 days per week for writing. In order for the book to launch in a month or two, I have to be deliberate with a writing schedule. And in order for that to happen, I had to figure out where my time was going. Turns out being pulled away by other people trying to share a course, training or their endless e-mails….that will do it! Now, I magically have plenty of time in my schedule for writing.
There’s more success on goals, but the point of this post is to give you an update on me personally…and I’m sure many of you can relate to what I’ve shared.
Funny – focusing on staying in my own lane and keeping my head down in my own work has immensely fired up my motivation. Like there’s no stopping the Sam train. haha!
Look forward to sharing more with you and hope you’ll comment to let me know if you too have been feeling that wave of webinars taking over your FB feed or e-mail inbox.
Here’s the staying in your lane!
So true! Great advice, can’t wait for your e-book.
GREAT post. Love this line…I’m trying to crawl out to re-focus on what I WANT TO DO…not what THE INTERNET says I should do. DITTO for me, too. It looks like you are off to a great start. Going to check out the book you mentioned… What The Tech. I would love to do my own design changes and not have to pay someone.
Thank you so much! Funny, this post was literally free-flow writing for like 45 minutes…and when that happens, you know it’s genuine feelings. I’ve been wanting to share this for a few months.
YES! Definitely, check out Lesley’s book. Her videos are the best part because she shares the screen and shows you exactly what to do and where. I need a visual in the tech world because there is too much lingo I’m unfamiliar with. Speaking of, she also has a glossary of tech terms in her book, which is rather helpful!
What a great post! I was recently in your position where I was getting so overwhelmed by everyone else’s emails and newsletters and blog posts that I was feeling defeated because I wasn’t focusing on my own goals. I finally am focusing and I’m seeing great success! Good for you!!
ps: I’d love to chat with you regarding that need for an awesome VA 😉
Awe, thank you! I’m so glad to hear you were able to pull yourself back into your own lane too. It’s so hard because it’s just too easy to get pulled into what everyone else is up to. And as a blog reader (I am too!), I’m sure it’s really hard to stop reading once you get going. Those feed readers make it too convenient! 🙂
Are you a VA? I did hire one and she’s incredible, but I always know people looking for a VA and I am hoping to grow a bit more after this launch….so who knows. Maybe my own team will grow a bit. 🙂
Oh I’m glad you found a great VA! I’m looking to become a VA. I’ve been an assistant in the “real world” and now I’m working from home, so it’s a great way to transition while building my side business.
I’ve been feeling the same way, but with doing so much crew work for other organizers. While I am enjoying the extra income, and I seem to learn something new on almost every job, I can’t help but do the math in my head and realize how much more profitable working with my own clients would be. Also, taking into account possible referrals from those clients. One of my goals this year is to start to focus on increasing my own client base. I love the term “staying in your own lane” and with permission, would like to use it as my personal mantra! Thanks for sharing Sam. Here’s to a focused and successful 2017!!
So so good to see you here! Oh my gosh – I totally agree! I didn’t realize how much crew work you were doing. That’s great for the experience, but I can see what you mean by doing the math / the referrals / etc. We all somehow end up in some space that isn’t our own…and I think it’s because we have big hearts and it’s hard to say no. I know how involved you are with the conference planning too so I can only imagine how many directions you are being pulled in.
Yes, please use the mantra – I’ve been using it for a few months and it’s working really well. I’ve also been asking myself a number of questions when someone has been presented to me. If it doesn’t fall in line with my mission I have to nicely say no. Not forever, but for the short term it’s ok to pull away from things and “go dark” in order to focus on your own business. It’s so imporant!