Studs and Duds: What’s Working + What’s Not

Welcome to the first edition of a new column I’m calling “Studs and Duds”. Every week, I’ll be here (personally – even though I have a lot of incredible contributors, this one will be all me) giving you a remix of what my life is like as a business owner (bringing some special attention to the struggles and realities of entrepreneurship – the “duds”), highlighting some awesome brands that have caught my eye with their shine, and sharing some of my other interests with you, such as my sweet tooth for fashion.

I’ve been about a half an inch away from losing my mind this week. I spent Monday and Tuesday up to my ears in technical website issues (that I still haven’t fixed), which left me next to no time to dent my to-do list (that I’m already super stressed about conquering because I’m trying to fit in a gazillion things before I go out of town next week).

Then, on Wednesday, I read this incredible piece on Sarah Kaler of SoulPowered. I’ve been following this Gem and her story for awhile and I knew it would be a great read, but what I walked away with was a much more valuable reality check. This ex-Lululemon executive chose herself over a snazzy corporate career. Sarah used her passion to identify a problem she could solve and a gap she could fill resulting in a six-figure business BEFORE she even had a website!

And that’s when it hit me. Why am I even freaking out right now? Why did I let my website debacle take up so much of my week, so much of my sanity, and so much of my mental space? It’s not my website, my social media channels, or my email list that makes or breaks my business. IT’S ME. If I break, my business will too, but if my website breaks, it will heal. This isn’t new information to me, but sometimes all you need is a reminder of what your best asset is, and that is YOU. Thank you, Sarah, for the inspiration and for getting me back on track this week!

If you’re stressed, you can witness my grandparents (failing) but attempting to explain Twitter here. I literally almost pee my pants every time I watch this.

Aside from gladiating (well attempting to at least) my website earlier in the week, I’ve also been concentrating on re-organizing my editorial calendar and hosting the #DecideToShine Decision Making Challenge. At the end of 2015, I launched the #ShineInto2016 Challenge on goal setting, which went incredibly. We had 20 members total sign up at $10, many of which remained engaged throughout the entire, rather intense, challenge. I put so much of myself into that challenge and I didn’t keep any of the profit – I gave it to the person who completed the most exercises. I kept hearing around the web and from creative voices I admire that I should be doing, “more of what works.” In my perspective, the first challenge was a success, so I upped the price of the second one, decided not to give away the profit as a motivator, and rushed the launch (because I got super excited about it – I know, I have a problem with that).

I was expecting this challenge to be a hit because the first one “worked”, and well, I had a total of 3 people sign up (aside from the #ShineInto2016 Challenge members, that I invited back free of charge, and the VIP Gem Nation members). Even though the launch was rushed, the content is second to none. I can knock out rockstar content in a short period of time, so I’m here to tell you that killer content is not everything (we can come back to this later because this post is already getting lengthy).

Remember that you are creating a life, not making a living.[ Print: The Higgins Creative ($18.00) ]

Remember that you are creating a life, not making a living.

I have a lot of moving parts going on in my business right now, because I used to believe in not putting all your eggs in one basket. At first, that seems like a great approach, but now I can tell you it’s exhausting. Serious question, when did hustling become more important than living? As I continue to rehabilitate my lifestyle in 2016 (less hustling and more living), I’ll continue to share my journey on how I plan to accomplish more while doing less so that you can hopefully do the same… I definitely have a long way to go in figuring things out (like reaalllllly long… I’m not even sure how to describe what kind of business I own anymore), but I know that life is too short to keep letting the hustle get the best of me.

Let’s talk about who is shining!

Marquita Bell of The Body Buffet

If you’ve been here before, you probably know that in the past 6 months or so, I’ve unquestionably found my voice in talking about the real experiences that come along with starting a business: the good, and more importantly, the bad. Even though I am comfortable opening up about what I’ve been through, and what I’m going through, its not always easy to get other people to talk about the struggles behind entrepreneurship. The owner of The Body Buffet, Marquita, has been so supportive of my mission since we connected on Instagram in November, always diving head first into whatever conversations I start. This blog post she recently wrote is an incredible example of what it looks like to begin understanding the strength that lies within the struggles.

Tyler Wetta of Ancora

In the chaos of life, it’s so easy to get absorbed into our own world. To forget that business is about people, and about hearts. Ancora was created to entertain the idea that people can change lives for the better, to lead by example and make it about others. The brand serves as a reminder not look over the importance of spreading kindness in a busy life, no matter how big or how small of an act you can give. Even in those crucial moments when someone is having a rough time, kindness is always free, and regardless of what we are going through, we can always be a light to someone.

Lilah Higgins of The Higgins Creative

This is where you can find the delightful prints featured in the photos of this post. For Lilah and Zac Higgins, what started out as a way to make money with their designs, turned into a entire community of makers. Lilah is one of the most down to earth personalities to ever be a part of my social media feeds. While generating real, genuine support for creatives with a beautiful minimalistic vibe, The Higgins Creative believes that making is inseparable from being human and living.

Tell me about your studs and duds of the week below in the comments, Gems! What’s working well for your, and what isn’t? 

Photo By: Kate Stutz Photography