Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change

Month: September 2013

Sounding the warning trumpets

The Starship closes to new members tonight (Monday). If this is the warning you've been waiting for, beam up here.

Although it's always bittersweet to close the doors, the real magic begins as soon I shut down the transporter beams, because I get to turn my attention the Captains inside the Starship…and I have some very exciting plans for them (and you?):


  • Live Map Making starts next Monday. We do one piece of the  Map Making Guide each day, and at the end of the week, we have a plan for one goal to work towards in the next three months. Even if you feel totally unsure what your goal might be now, you're sure to have a plan you'll love by the end of the week. I can promise that, because it's always the people who are totally new to this kind of planning that end up exclaiming: “This has totally changed the way I think about my business” (Beverly said that last quarter)


  • Solo-sessions! I sit down (well, on the phone, Skype or video chat!) with each and every captain who wants to, and we strategize their next steps together. Sometimes we're planning your next launch, sometimes we're brainstorming solutions to that pesky I-have-no-time problem. Sometimes you get on the phone with something that has dragged you down for months…and we've solved it in 15 minutes (This happened with Holly last month. I kept saying, “Are you sure you don't need to talk more about it? Or..something?” “Nope! All solved! Ready to get to work now!”)(Extra special – I no longer offer Solo-session to anyone outside the Starship. Becoming a Starship captain is the only way to work one-on-one with me.)
  • Holiday Sanity! This four week party leads you into a sane, relaxed holiday season. We create a plan, and keep each other gently accountable to do everything from making gifts, to filling holiday orders. This is the fourth year that I've held Holiday Sanity and it's always a favorite!

Whether you're frustrated because you don't have a clear path, or you're dreading the holidays because they overwhelm you – we're going to laser in on the problem and zap it, by finding what works best for you.
So if you'd like to get that (which is only happening live this quarter) beam up heretoday. 

yes to adventure

And if now isn't the right time…I'll see you next quarter!

PS. A few explorers have written that they can't afford to pay the entire registration at once. Of course, not! MOST captains come aboard with the payment plan, so don't be shy about using it, sugar.





Three Questions to a business you love


“When it’s time to make a decision about the growth of your business, what do you do?

Do you look at other people and their business models, advice, or classes? Do you look for a well-worn path? Do you despair at the glacial pace of your growth, in comparison to everyone else’s?

It can be hard to know what to do next. There are so many paths to success – getting more press, getting wholesale accounts, doing big craft shows, creating a popular Etsy shop.

But the key to growing your successful business (while continuing to love it) isn’t in any one of these paths.

The key to business happiness is to explore and define what you really want.

Read the rest of this post (& find the Three Questions) on Lucky Break! 

Want to explore a business you'll love?

Get the free How to Explore e-course!
You don't need to get more done, just more of what you love. 
Embrace your multitudes.
Get the help you need in your exploration aboard the Starship (closes Monday!)


Is your business kind?


“Is your business kind to you?
Does it treat you well, encourage you and make you feel fabulous?
Or does it wear you out and make you feel like you should be doing more more more?

It's easy to be hard on yourself. You look at what other people are doing, the success they're having, and you wonder why you're not doing that. Comparison is the thief of joy, and our businesses are rife with opportunities for comparison. You might worry that you don't know enough, you don't do enough, you are not enough.”

Read the rest of this post (& learn how to make your biz kinder) on Kind Over Matter.

Want a kinder business? Try this:

Trust Yourself
Learn from your jealousy
Remember that you don't need  to grow
Use the tools that work for you.
Stop waiting for validation.

Join a community dedicated to building kind, sustainable, YOU-filled businesses! 





The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the finds on Fridays, and you’re invited to join in.
You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The view

Forgot my notebook at home, so I mind mapped today's writing on a napkin. #makingdo

#foundwhilerunning: kitty cat!

Auditioning all-over pink for Boston trip. Will it last the whole week? (This after 3 washes). #hmm

Excellent (pink) mail day!

I am so grateful* for:

  • New Starship Captains! I've been surprised and delighted by every captain – getting to know them is a highlight of my week!
  • Old Starship Captains! Well, they're not all that old, but the Captains who have been on board for a while have been sharing their stories with me (you can find some of them here + here). Their words are confirmation of the amazingness we're building together, and I can't imagine anything better.
  • Ana. She's made my upcoming workshop in Boston a total delight to plan.
  • Jess! This week she's edited + created some much-needed improvements to the Starship and, well, my life. (I also understand that she's almost booked up. If you need a little more space in your world, she's your gal!)
  • Good news: I'll be teaching at TNNA in San Diego in January! Yay!  (details to come)


The finds:

  • Haley encourages us to rethink how you talk about your craft. I couldn't agree with her more!
  •  Flora Bowley’s Bloom True has reopened! I truly loved the class experience, and I have 4 paintings (my first ever!) to show for it, so I’m happy to recommend it. Class begins September 30th!
  • I finally decided on my plane knitting for Boston – another Color Affection! (My last one was started on my last trip to Boston, with yarn from my book launch at Gather Here…but I lost it just a month after finishing it!)
  • I'm trying all-over pink hair for the first time ever (picture above) and I love it! Since someone always asks, I use Manic Panic in Hot Hot Pink. It's vegan, and doesn't have all the icky chemicals of other hair dyes.
  • Speaking of icky chemicals, I've been on a major detoxing of the chemicals in my life. I couldn't do it without EWG's database for beauty products (I've switched shampoo, soap, mascara.)
  • And the week wouldn't be complete without marching bands and The Fox:

What did you explore this week?

What you can learn from jealousy



I work with artists (artist = anyone making their work – writers, painters, makers, coders) who are amazing when it comes to following their own path with their art. They're not worried about fitting in or being weird. They do their own thing, wear what they want, and infuse their entire life with their personality.

And yet…
They don't think their go your own way mentality applies to their business. Or, they don't realize that they're comparing their business model, offerings, and success to someone else's. They try to fit themselves into a model that worked for another artist. They see a tool working for someone else and when they apply it to their own and hate it, they think something is wrong with them.  Although they would never, never tell themselves they have to have a  9-5 or wear a suit to be a real adult, they regularly tell themselves they have to be on Twitter, or blog, or {fill in the blank} in order to have a real business. 

I do this too! I see someone using a tool to connect with a rapt audience, and I think: Oh no! I'm doing it wrong! …and I feel bad about that.

But darlings, we have to remember: There is no One Way to have a business.

There are a zillion ways to build a business. There are a trillion tools, a million ideas, a hobjillion paths. Your job is the find what works for you. Because when you force yourself into something that isn't you, your business becomes awkward and clunky.  You'll feel guilty, exhausted and icky and your work will suffer.

And yet, just knowing this, doesn't seem to get those other people out of our heads. It doesn't stop us from looking at what other people are doing and thinking, I should totally be doing that. 

So let's shake up these assumptions, eh? Let's break the hold they have over us and bring them into the sunlight.

What are you judging yourself for not doing? 

List all the things you see other people doing (well) that you wish you were doing. 

(Really! Take out your notebook and make a list!)

Now let's learn from this + stop flogging ourselves!

This list is a reflection of  your perception of what a successful business does. It's not reality. Yes, the things on your list worked for someone, but not for everyone. 

But this list is also a great learning tool. Every thing that you think you should be doing is a clue into what you desire. Instead of focusing on what you're not doing, let's use it to learn more about you, how you work, and what you value.

Do you see any similarities between things on the list?
Perhaps you've listed a bunch of social media tools, or a bunch of in-person events.

What do you think these things would bring into your life or business? 
Make a list of the qualities or experiences you think you'd have more of…connection? confidence? encouragement?

Now, look at this second list – is your business lacking those qualities? What do you want more of? 

This is your new to-do list!

Instead of focusing on the specific tools and models, focus on these qualities. Find a new way to bring it into your work. 


Need help? Leave a comment and I'll help you brainstorm some other ways to bring your list into your business!



Want more you  in your business?

These questions are the kind of exercises you'll find inside the Starship! Beam up here to get more! 






What we do well

Put on your party hat and press play on the playlist – The Starship is now boarding new captains!

This happens just four times a year, and only lasts about a week (we're already half full, so I'll close the transporter after another 5 cadets). If you've been hanging around here for a while and would like to see what it's all about, go here.
(If you'd like to be reminded before it closes, you can sign up here.)

Today I want to celebrate the Boarding Party by sharing what The Starship is really great at. You see, The Starship is not just me.  It's a whole community of clever, hilarious business explorers who show up for you – they answer your questions, cheer you on, and celebrate (and tweet) your newest products. I am quite surprised by what The Starship has become in it's 2+ years, it's entirely different than what I expected.

Honestly, The Starship can be hard to talk about. For starters, it's not what I expected. It's more communal and far more encouraging than I could have planned. But it's also that, just like you, talking about how amazing my thing is feels weird. I'd rather you just experience it and then tell me how much you love it. I'd rather not have the spotlight on me, I'd rather highlight what you are doing . And the last reason that it's hard to talk about is that the success of the Captains is entirely their own. Yes, The Starship helps you get where you want to go…but you have to do the work. You have to implement (and reiterate). So I never want to claim the successes without first celebrating the person who did all the work!

But! Every week I challenge the Starship Captains to get really clear about what makes their thing special, and then share it with the people who will love it. I'm finally taking my own challenge and experimenting with being really bold in declaring: This is what we do well (and this why you'll love it).


The Starship…

reminds you of your successes. I think of The Starship (and my role in it) as a vessel of celebration (pun intended!). It holds our joys and our challenges and, when we need it most it, The Starship reminds us of what we're capable of.

shares expertise. Whether you're writing a press release or looking for the right platform for your next product, we've got members that have done everything from knitwear design to Public Relations, from self-publishing to traditional publishing. If you've got a question, we've either got the answer, or can find a resource that does.

equips you to reach your goals. Whether your goal is about your income, your direction, or the way you work – we have a library full of tools to help you first get clear on your goal, and then work towards it. The most important thing is that you're going where you want to go, not just where you think you should go.

holds you gently accountable. Once you've got your destination, we check in regularly to make sure you're moving towards it. But this isn't imposing or judging – you let us know what you want to accomplish in the next week, and then you show up to let us know if you did it or not. If you've met or exceeded your plan, we throw confetti and celebrate. If you've fallen short and are feeling bad, we encourage you. We remind you of your past successes.


If this sounds wonderfully appealing, you can read more about The Starship (and join!) here.


Your turn!

Make a list for your own product or service. What does it really do for the buyer? And then share it with the people who will love it!


Are you near Boston?

Enjoying very old buildings...


If so, I wanna meet you!

Boston is one of my favorite cities to visit (did you know my book launch party was in Boston?) and I'm so delighted to be returning. While I'm there, I plan to eat at Veggie Galaxy, drink lots of coffee, and meet some of the most creative creative businesses around!

I'll be in Boston from October 1-4 and I've got a handful of ways we could hang out:

  • Take a my class at Cabot Street Studio
  • Attend a my workshop at Gather Here
  • Have a cup of coffee with me

You can RSVP to any (or all of these) here. And if you've got a friend in the area, I'd love it if you shared it with them. Just send 'em here.

Are you near Boston? Think you can make it?

Leave a comment and let me know!




A declaration of freedom

This morning I was delighted to open my email and read the following declaration from new Starship Cadet, D. Frost. With her permission, I share it here, in hopes that it inspires you to declare what you really want, in your business and life:


I declare my independence from the thoughts that weigh me down.

From the doubts, limitations, & labels I put upon myself.

From the opinions & expectations of others.

The ideas I have that hold me back are not who I am, not part of what makes me ME.

They are just tourists I've allowed into my picture of the world, & they no longer serve me.

I am free from fear, from doubt, from desperation.

I am free to hear the call of my inner voice, free to walk the path that feels right to me.

I am free to laugh & wonder & admire & create.

I am free to love myself & honor what I feel is true & good.

I am free to appreciate all the wrinkles & folds of the universe, without resorting to old reactions to unexpected situations. Free to tread the fine line between creation & chaos. Free to tumble, to make mistakes, to absolve myself the not-so-unforgivable sins of temporary failures.

I am free to differentiate my self-worth from my financial worth, & my personal success from my monetary gain. I am free to hold myself apart from the convention, “The more you do, the more you're worth.” I am free to trust my heart, & free to reject any idea that conflicts with what I want for myself.

Above all, I am free to not know all the answers right away. I am free to linger in the void, where creation burgeons fresh each moment, & nothing is trite, prepackaged, or stale. I am free to submit to the unknown, to allow new ideas to flower, new answers to form, & new opportunities to emerge.

I am free to become whatever I want to be.



How to Stop Comparing Yourself


Today I'm sharing the secret to STOP comparing your business to other people's, over at Leonie's.

“Five years ago there were two businesses, led by golden-haired maidens – one a painter, one a yarn-maker and explorer. These two maidens met in an online businessy forum and got to know each other. Over time, their business flourished. They both found themselves helping other women build their own dreams + businesses.

Yep, I'm the yarn-maker and Leonie is the artist. Over the years as I've watched her business flourish and expand expand expand (as her family has!) I've been blessed to get some behind-the-scenes peeks into how she works and thinks. And through it all I have been overwhelmingly happy for her. Overwhelmingly joyful at every bit of good fortune that comes her way.

But here's the truth of the matter: I don't feel unfettered happiness for every business I see flourishing.”


Need more encouragement to stop comparing? Read this:

And don't forget to get the free mini-course on How to Be an Explorer of Your Biz

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the finds on Fridays, and you’re invited to join in.
You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The View

Breakfast in bed with @spajonas's book. #perfectweekend
Cutting fabric for a new, secret-ish quilts.
Yay! My @alex_franzen print fits perfectly! #abovethecouch  (Frame still needed. Yes, I used washi tale to keep it up for now)
Charbroiled butternut + black bean rancheros. Yum. #whatveganseat #vegan



I am so grateful* for:

  • Butternut rancheros. Yum!
  • Random gchats with Ana.
  • Clarity around integrity (and the bravery to make changes).
  • The stories that current Starship Captains have sent  me! Inspiring and humbling, I'm so happy to be a part of their journey! (Stories are shared here.)
  • The editing power of Jess. She radically improved everything I sent this week!
  • Excellent questions from future Starship Captains. (You can find my answers here.) This is the most exciting time – when everyone's about to beam aboard!
  • My new star sweater.
  • That at home feeling.



The finds:


*My gratitude list is a new part of the Adventures. Join me in listing what you're grateful for!

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