Let’s Chat: Valuing your Time

 Let's Chat: Valuing your Time(image via Small Fry)

As a small business owner, it’s completely understandable that you’d want to answer every single email that pops up in your inbox and to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. If you haven’t hit your desired level of success, it’s easy to think that what is being pitched to you will ultimately be amazing and perhaps career changing. But here’s the truth, more often than not, those emails are just a distraction and you’re probably wasting more valuable time than you know. Now, before you immediately click away from this blog after reading that, hear me out.

I spend a majority of my time on email (sadly, it’s not all glitter and candy over here as my Instagram might have you believe). So let’s say I get 10 emails from companies asking me to share their super cool product with you guys, but that they cannot pay for the ad space, aka they want me to work for free. If I take the time to reply to each and every one, that’s an hour out of my day writing emails that don’t help my business. An hour I could have been making, planning, or emailing brands I actually want to work with. And if I do this each day, that’s THIRTY hours a month that are completely gone. That’s not okay.

The reality is that you have far more important things to be doing than spending all day on your email. At the end of the day, remember that your time is really all you have. Don’t waste it on those who don’t appreciate or understand that.

If you also suffer some inbox madness, here are a few tips and tricks to save you some time along the way:

1. Limit the number of times you check your email in a day. I know, it sounds impossible. But really, think about all the time you waste checking your email in a day and how distracting it can be. Seriously, starting today or tomorrow, make a notch on a piece of paper for every time you check your mail (phone counts too). You might be surprised how many times you passively check.

I try my best to check 2-3 times a day, once in the morning, afternoon and evening. That way, once I reply to everyone, I can put it away and focus completely on something else.

2. Step away from the computer at night.. well at least social media and email. This was by far one of my biggest takeaways from Kari Chapin at Craftcation 2015. Give yourself time to decompress and be a person. Plus, what groundbreaking email have you received for your business after 10pm? Mmhmm, that’s what I thought.

3. Delete emails. So, remember that generic email you got from that company that wants you to work for them for free in exchange for promotion on their super cool site and it’s going to send you tons and tons of traffic? Yeah, delete it. 99% of the time, it’s not going to send you enough traffic to make up for your electricity bill being late that month. Why waste your time responding when it’s clearly not in your best interest? PS also see charging what you’re worth if you’re working for free.

4. Disable notifications on your phone. Every time your phone beeps or lights up, it’s easy to want to check what’s going on immediately. I recently disabled my email notifications and can’t tell you what a time saver it’s been. Now I have to open the app and refresh if I really want to check my mail. It also helps save battery life, so win-win!

How do you value your time? I’d love to hear your tips & tricks in the comments!

 

 

Let’s Chat: Rejection

An open discussion on facing rejection as a small business owner and how you can use it to push you forward. (via Instagram)

Rejection. Woof. The worst.

But there’s no way around it, it’s part of business. You’re going to get rejected, more than once, and from projects you want so bad it hurts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. And that doesn’t make you less of a person. I know when we feel the sting of rejection our initial thought is to run and hide. In one fell swoop we somehow forget all the good things we’ve ever done.

Even if it doesn’t come through on these blog posts or on my Instagram, I’m no different. Just the other day I was turned down for a project I really wanted. But instead of checking out for the rest of the day and fixating on the bad news, I sent out five more emails that will hopefully evolve into other projects I really want. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point, but I use rejection to drive me. Because letting it hold me back is no longer option. There’s too much to be done.

You too have too much to do. So, here are a few tips for pushing through and picking yourself up:

1. Archive. Get that email out of site as soon as you’re done responding (if necessary). Don’t let those bad vibes linger.

2. Pick one thing to make you happy and do it. Go buy a cupcake. Treat yourself to flowers. Take a 45 minute break to watch an episode of one of your favorite shows. Or this video. It’s okay to take some time out and reflect.

3. Remember, you are not your business. Even though you put your blood, sweat, and tears into your business, it is not who you are as a person. You are not getting rejected, your business just isn’t the best fit for whatever reason.

4. Get moving. Dance, go for a run, walk around the block. Just step away from the computer and get your blood pumping.

5. Make a list. What are other projects you want to work on? Make a list and set those into action.

Rejection is scary and it hurts. But how else are you going to get what you want unless you take that risk and ask?

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.”– Eleanor Roosevelt

Let’s Chat: Charging What You’re Worth

Free #GIRLBOSS Printable(Free #GIRLBOSS Printables, get ’em!)

It’s been a while since my Let’s Chat column, but man am I so ready for this topic: charging what you’re worth.

I’ve been self employed for over a year now and have learned that it is difficult to ask for what you want in terms of compensation. As a small business owner, not only do you have to assess your worth with a number, but you also have to get someone to agree to it, all while still trying to make rent each month. It’s a vulnerable position to be in, especially when you’re just starting out.

Well friends, it’s tough love time. It’s time to cut the crap and stop holding back. Stop letting nerves determine your success. Stop talking yourself out of what you want in terms of compensation because it makes you nervous, or because you think you’ll lose an opportunity, or that you’ll offend someone. Chances are you won’t, because most situations can be negotiated, or they weren’t going to happen in the first place. How do you expect your business to grow if you aren’t asking for what you need in order to make that happen?

While rejection stings at first, it’s nothing compared to the feeling of defeat from not going after your dreams. And let’s face it, dreams take money. So, with that, here are some ways to pump yourself up:

1. Make a list of everything you have to do to complete what you’re pitching to remind yourself that your time is valuable. It doesn’t hurt to also throw in the cost of materials.

2. Go to your website, and find your favorite project/product that you’ve made. Isn’t it awesome? It is.

3. Dance to an upbeat song.

4. Get a pep talk from a friend. Don’t have a friend? Email me.

5. Let it go. What’s honestly the worst thing that can happen? Now, what’s the best?

Remember: this is your business, nobody can ask for what you want except you. Send that email, and send it proud!

What are your tips for pumping yourself up?

 

Let’s Chat: Staying Motivated

Comparison is the Thief of Joy by Carrie Waller(image by Carrie Waller of Dream Green DIY)

After your positive responses to my post about creative ruts, I decided that today I’m officially starting the column ‘Let’s Chat’. Each post for this column will be about a certain topic; I’ll share my tips and would love to hear from you in the comments. I think there’s a lot we can learn from one another and I can’t wait! Okay, let’s do this:

Now that the holidays are over, I’m finding it a bit hard getting back into the swing of things. I have big dreams for my business and how I’d like it to grow this year, but the day to day has been ROUGH. Not only am I a bit distracted, but I find myself pushing to-do tasks back a day or two, even though I have the time to do them that day. Of course I think this is just a sign of post vacation blues, but it leads to a bigger question. How do you stay motivated? Here are my tips for staying on track:

1. Give yourself time… and don’t feel guilty. I’ve noticed that after small breaks in the day that I have a natural tendency to get back to it. I know it’s hard not to feel guilty about taking time for yourself when there’s a mountain of work, but it really does help. Even treating myself to a walk mid-day helps me refresh my mind instead of letting it continue to burnout.

2. Actively look for inspiration. Part of being motivated is feeling inspired about the work you’re doing. If you’re hearts not in it, it’s easier to think ‘what’s the point’. Surround yourself with things that inspire you. Go to a museum, buy or make something just for yourself, make an inspiration board. Do whatever keeps those creative juices flowing.

3. Give yourself a pep talk. This may sounds cheesy, but it’s really hard to do work when you feel down about yourself or what you’re doing. Remind yourself why it is you’re doing what you’re doing. If that doesn’t work, instead of looking at anyone else’s work, look back on past work and see how you’ve progressed. You kickass. Know it, own it, get shit done. A little positivity goes a long way.

4. Treat yo self. If all else fails, make a rewards system. Or at least watch this Parks and Rec clip.

What helps you stay motivated?