Are you ready to dive back into your business after a summer break? Did you take time off for the summer? Or did you just feel less productive because of the nice weather, the travel, the kids home from school? Whether you took a proper break or not, a lot of you asked me: How do I get back to work?
Take a fresh look at your goals.
It's possible your life shifted over the summer – maybe your kids entered school or maybe you entered a new relationship or maybe your had a great moment in your business (like a big show or wholesale account?) that's shifted how you think about your business.
It's normal for what you wanted then to not be what you want NOW. So pull out your most recent goals (you do write them down each quarter in Map Your Business, right?) and ask yourself: Do I still want this? How do I want to go about moving towards it?
Take a fresh look at your days. What worked before might not work now.
When do you have time to work? When do you want to work? When are you most focused? When is the best time to do each task? Would you rather batch types of work on certain days? Or in certain hours?
Take a fresh look at your expectations.
How much do you expect to get done in a day? In a week?
How are you feeling about your productivity? Do you need to lower your expectations? Do you need to shift your productivity towards a more impactful work?
Give yourself grace.
It takes a while to get back in the flow of things. If you are working more now than you have been, you may need to ramp up slowly. Coming back after a break NEVER goes how you plan, so get comfortable with that.
What do you need to be gentle with yourself about?
I dramatically simplified my business this summer. Today I'm going to share what I did and more importantly, how you can simplify your business in just a few questions (but a lot of heavy thinking).
As you know if you’ve been listening for awhile, we’re getting ready to become foster parents and one way we’re preparing is by getting very clear about what our priorities are.
Now, before you start worrying, my business is a big priority. Not only because it pays 100% of our bills, but because I LOVE IT. I love the podcast, I love helping you guys, and I love what I do.
But, over the 8 years since I started creating my courses and books, my site has just kept expanding and expanding and I have kept added new stuff (something every 6 months or so!) without editing anything down and looking at it all in one go. So if you’ve been business in a while, your business might need a spring (or autumn) cleaning as well! I’ll share what I simplified my business into and will suggest some questions that can help you simplify if you need to.
My mission: Help women make empowering decisions in their income, their enthusiasm, and their emotional help.
First, I identified my favorite bits + my long term goals:
My mission means I really just want to do two things:
Helping people build businesses (Starship and mentoring through my doTERRA business)
Helping people take care of themselves via emotional wellness.
I most like to:
Create community and culture that encourages support and friendliness.
Second, I got clear on what are the BEST ways I can do those things:
(I did this with the help of Joeli, of JoeliCreates.com, who does 1:1 sessions if you need some clarity.)
Podcasts allow me to communicate important, helpful stuff clearly
Instagram gives me interaction and connection and allows me to provide daily bits of encouragement.
My classes are MOST helpful when they build on each other, when you're focusing on what matters, as opposed to one-by-one, so I put them together in the Starship Program.
Community is my favorite place to be and let's me go deeper with clients. I have the Starship Community to help makers and artists and students in the Program, and the Enthusiasm Builders community to help people who have wellness based businesses with doTERRA.
I'm still working on the best way I can help people take care of themselves, via essential oils (ie, in-person classes, webinars, FB groups, etc). I'm measuring the impact, both in the moment and ongoing. So far in-person classes and video consultations are the best, but I'm still experimenting around this.
Third, I stripped all my offerings down to the work that does the two things I want to be doing (helping women build businesses, and take care of their emotional wellness):
You can get my classes and my help via group coaching inside the Starship (not open now), and that's it – you can't buy my classes separately anymore (because I'm stripping down to what's most effective)
I don't sell books from my website anymore. My books are the easiest way to get started working on your goals or your marketing, but ME shipping them is the least effective way to get them to you. Amazon is super efficient.
Only 1:1 consultations (which are free!) to help you make a daily plan for self-care and emotional wellness, using essential oils.
Workshops and group coaching for people building a doterra business.
The even more boiled down version is this: I just do a few things now: Podcast, IG, consult with people about self-care and help people build businesses via group coaching – either in SS or for their doterra business.
Questions to ask yourself to simplify, re-calculate your path, or just get some clarity:
What is your mission? (Who are you here to help? How do you do that?) (Learn more about your Mission here)
What do you long term want to be doing?
What actions do you most like?
What are the specific ways you do that?
What are the most EFFECTIVE ways you do that?
What can you let go of to focus more that?
Is this guiding you towards where you want to go?
I hope these questions help you simplify your business and I hope you enjoy all that I’ve got here at TaraSwiger.com.
I follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list with me on Facebook and find all the posts here.
Everybody knows it's too risky to have a business. Everybody is following their passion and making a million dollars doing it. Everybody knows you need to be on Instagram. Or have an email list. Everybody knows you can’t grow on Instagram on anymore.
Which of these statements is true?
It depends on your own personal “everybody”. Today we're going to talk about who “everybody” is and how upgrading your “everybody” can improve your life.
Today we're going to talk about how your concept of “everyone” is shaping your biz and life and happiness, and how you can trade it all in for a better “everyone”.
We'll get into the specifics in a minute, but before we do I want to remind you that the Starship, which is a brilliant way to improve your “everyone” is open now. You can find it at Taraswiger.com/Starshipbiz. It's a 90 day program that will help you uncover your mission, your profitability and your best marketing plan.
I first came across this idea of a personal “everybody” in Martha Beck's Finding Your Own North Star, but psychologists have been studying it for awhile – they call it “the generalized other”.
All of us have a concept of a (or many) “generalized other” – it's what you think other people think about you. It's what you mean by “other people” or “everyone”.
We use this concept of “everyone” to determine our actions and to figure out what's expected of us.
However, it's faulty. Because obviously there is no uniform “everybody”. Everybody doesn't come to the same conclusions or have the same beliefs or live the same life.
But your personalized idea of “everybody” can feel large and overwhelming and uniform.
Martha Beck writes, “everybody’s Everybody is composed of just a few key people.” You may have a few different groups of “everybody” – everybody believes this is the best way to parent, everybody says this is what you have to do in business.
But this is really just a few people.
You consider these few key people's opinions when you're making your own decisions. And this is how your “everybody” holds you back – if your “generalized other” is the wrong people it'll keep you from feeling like it's safe or “right” do something. The wrong everybody is people who haven't done what you want to do or just don't know about the things you care about.
In order to fit it, belong and stay safe, you won't do what “everybody” disapproves of, or what “everybody” fears.
The solution: Upgrade your Everyone.
This doesn't mean you break up with the people in your life, it's just that you don't let their opinion shape YOUR opinion. You pick who's opinion and examples you're going to pay attention to.
It can be really simple to start – you just get to know people who have done and are doing what you want to do. You get to know people who have really different lives than you.
You've already upgraded your Everybody a few times in your life – when you started going to friend's houses. When you started your first job. When you met other makers.
To grow the next stage of your business or dream, you may need to upgrade your everybody.
This is why the Starship, my online community for makers and artists, and other groups like it, can be so powerful – because you meet a whole bunch of others you can adopt into your “generalized other”.
So instead of believing “everybody knows you can't make money with art,” you will meet people who DO make money with art. You will realize that there's another set of Everybodys who believes the exact opposite of what you originally thought.
You can also solve this everybody-problem by becoming conscious of who is in your “generalized other and consciously choosing someone else.
For example, if everybody believes you have to have a huge Instagram following in order to make your business profitable, you need to find people how have smaller followings and who are still succeeding at what you want to do. And then when you're thinking about how you’re going to grow, think about them!
They may not be doing exactly what you’re doing, but go find those people. And then when you’re thinking about growing, make sure they are in the “generalized everybody” that you’re thinking about.
Whenever I’m doing my New Year planning, or Mapmaking I take a minute and I ask: Who is going to be on my advisory board? This is your internal advisory board. It’s basically staffing your generalized other.
Just ask yourself: who do I want to give me advice? Who has the kind of life I want? Or the kind of attitude I want to incorporate into my business this year, or next three months?
This can be anyone you want. You want to staff your advisory board with people who you admire – their business, or what they’ve accomplished, or their personality. Ask yourself: who do I want to be on my advisory board and write them down.
Then when you find yourself asking: what should I do here? Or what direction should I go in? Sit down, get quiet, and ask your advisory board. Ask yourself: what would “business owner who I super admire” do in this situation?
You don’t have to have met them, to guess what they would suggest. It’s just a fun way of getting out of your own head, and getting out of the generalized other of your family or your community, and into the generalized other of people who are doing what you want to be doing.
If you'd like to upgrade your everybody with a bunch of makers, designers, shop owners and teachers who are building amazing businesses, and you'd like to explore your own dream, plans, profitability, and marketing, check out the Starship Program – taraswiger.com/Starshipbiz. You can sign up in the show notes to meet some of those everybodys in a short series of emails.
Where should you spend in your business? What actually matters for a profitable, thriving business? And how in the world do you get there? Today we’re going to discuss the foundations of a healthy business.
Today we’re going to talk about what really matters in your business. Now, these are the foundations, but this isn’t just for new business owners. In fact, if you’ve got your business together and you’re wondering how you can scale it, or make it more profitable, or make more sales, the answer is almost always in these foundations. But before we go into foundations, I want to remind you that Starship is open right now.
The Starship was just overhauled and GOOD NEWS, when you join, you are walked through these foundations, in a series of classes that serve as deep dives into your business. Over the course of three months, you’ll be guided with weekly lessons in these foundations, plus you’ll get access to our community, where you can ask your questions 24/7, our weekly check-in to hold you accountable, and monthly group coaching calls with me – where I will go deep on whatever your question is.
In the past, I’ve just given you access to the classes and told you “take what you need”, but I’ve learned over the last 6 years that the biggest transformation happens when work on your foundations in a specific order, and when you have access to ask your questions, when you’re held accountable and when you get coaching help as you go.
And now, when you’re done with the 3 month program, you can choose to stay inside the community at an affordable price. As I mentioned, we go through the foundations, but the Starship is for a business that’s set up – that knows what it sells and know how it will sell it. Maybe you don’t have sales yet, but you’re committed to this business and to doing the work to make it thrive.
Now, let’s talk about what those foundations actually ARE!
There's so much you *could* focus on, but there are a few areas where, if you focus, you can dramatically improve your results. They are:
Clarity of your own biz dreams (as opposed to what other people have or want)
Honesty about where you ARE
Breaking down the gap into goals, and the goals down into actions
Profitability (you gotta know your products will make money)
Marketing (someone's gotta buy your work – marketing is how you communicate with those buyers)
These can be split up into 4 main areas:
Mission and Mapping (everything from big-picture to this-month goals)
Effectiveness (not just doing things quickly, but doing the right things, and feeling good about your workday)
Here’s the good news: Just knowing that these are the areas that matter can help you defeat the “OMG WHAT DO I FOCUS ON” overwhelm. You can just come back to this list: Which area needs work? And then work on it!
What’s super cool is that these areas actually all build on each other – you can’t get a clear picture of your marketing if you don’t what your mission is and you don’t want to do marketing until you KNOW your item is profitable. And you can’t reach your number goals (which we talk about with profitability) unless you actually, ya know, share your work with the right people, using the right language.
In other words, working on ONE area is working on ALL areas. It’s like a fractal. Everything you do is reflected around your business. When you work on how you want to communicate with your people, you’ll see the same words and feelings show up in your Mission. Or… exponential: working on one area improves that area (and often improves sales), then improves the other areas, which improves sales.
When I got really clear about my Mission – what I wanted to do in the lives and businesses of makers and artists, my marketing became so much more clear. From the words I use, to the topics I talk about, to the images I use. I suddenly know what to say, because I know what the end goal is; I know what I want my work to do in the person’s life. And that has improved my sales – it doubled within a year of getting ultra-clear!
So how about you? Which foundation of your business needs work right now?
As you think about that, you may feel really frustrated that you’ve wasted your time on other things, that you didn’t focus on the main foundations and instead got swept up in figuring out the perfect hashtag for your photo – that is ok! We all do it. We all read a blog post or listen to a podcast that is about a specific tactic and without asking “is this what matters to my biz right now?”, we dive into learning about it and trying to implement it.
A while ago a few friends started talking about Facebook ads. So they’ve been talking about it in our group and I have to admit, even though I KNOW advertising isn’t where I want to spend my energy right now, it was tempting! It’s so tempting to work on something that’s outside of my strategy.
On the other hand, a lot of makers tell me that they’ve avoided thinking about ANY of this. They just make their thing, put it in their shop… and hope it turns into a business.
And you know what?
If that’s you, you’re not alone either. That is absolutely where to start. You haven’t done anything wrong if you haven’t started working on profitability or marketing yet. There is a tiny tiny percentage of artists who just make their work available and it all sells out. They don’t have to do any marketing and the numbers magically work out.
But those are the unicorns. And you may be a unicorn, but if you have big dreams for your business, I don’t want you to waste your precious life waiting around to find out.
Instead, I want you to do the work that makes your biz successful, so that you KNOW it will be. So that you don’t have to rely on outside circumstances, or being “discovered” or wait for someone else’s approval before you build the business you want.
And how do you do that?
You build each of your foundations. Here’s a few things that each foundation needs.
For the foundation of Mission and Mapping, you may need to:
Define your dream biz
Get clear on your Mission
Identify your assets and support
Choose a goal
Create a plan to reach that goal.
For Profitability, you may need to:
Know your numbers and how to get them.
Identify the profit margin for each item and your Break Even Point
Variables to experiment with
For Marketing, you may need to:
Improve how you talk about your work
Make it easier for strangers to find you
Look at how you build a relationship with potential customers
Identify how customers buy + make it easier for them
Work to keep customers happy and coming back
For Effectiveness, you may need to be:
Doing what matters each day
Keeping track of all your tasks
Streamlining all of your recurring tasks
Getting the level of accountability you need in order to get it all done
So which one of these, in your business, needs your focus? Which one of these matters MOST for you right now?
If you want to work through each one of these and discover everything I listed for each one, join us in the Starship, it’s open now and it closes in a week. Learn more at taraswiger.com/starshipbiz
In the new Starship, we cover every one of these foundations, and we explore your answers to these questions: What are your goals? Who are your people? What is your ideal workday like? And instead of feeling overwhelmed about figuring it all out at once, you work on each area, one at a time, over the course of three months.
And all along the way you have support, encouragement, group coaching with me, and accountability.