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229: Taking Parental Leave, with Stacey Trock

Just because you run your own business, doesn’t mean you can’t take time off. Learn more about taking parental leave at TaraSwiger.com/podcast229

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Whether for planned or unplanned circumstances, it’s easy to feel like taking time away from your business is committing career suicide. Totally not true! In fact, taking leave from your business can provide an opportunity for valuable revitalization of your business trajectory and your life!

In this episode, we’ll cover the basics of a plan for taking a leave from your business. So whether you’re adding a new member to your family, taking time out to care for a family member, have a medical emergency or are taking a well-earned sabbatical to dream big, this episode is for you.

Basic timeline of a leave

A typical leave can be characterized in three phases: a complete leave (where you don’t lay a finger on a business-related task), a ‘maintenance mode’ (where work for a very limited number of hours, focusing on only the most essential tasks) and a ‘rev up’ phase (where you slowly transition to ‘life as usual’).

The more that you can plan in advance for an efficient maintenance mode, the more successful you’ll be!

What are your goals?

To optimally plan your leave, you need to know first where your business is at and what your goals are. To do this, you’ll need to document how you’re currently spending your time and gather your full current budget (income and expenses). Only then, will you be able to identify the essential tasks you’ll pare down to during your leave. You want the most bang for your buck (or, limited hours!)

You may identify a financial goal (to make X amount per month during your leave) or a business-related goal (i.e. to maintain your current customer base) for your leave. You will probably not experience growth during your leave time, but you’ll be focused on making the most happen in your available work hours.

Plan in advance: how to trade time, energy and money

If you are entering a planned leave, then you have the luxury of time (not so for an unplanned leave caused by an unforeseen emergency). The easiest strategy for keeping content consistent during a period of leave is to ‘work ahead’ before your leave begins.

A leave may be a time when you want to consider hiring help to take on tasks that you won’t have the time to complete. It is best to document your business procedures and search in advance of your leave to find the right fit. Hiring someone from a hospital bed is probably not the best timing!

I encourage you to look at your whole life when planning. Maybe during your leave period, you decide to hire out the cooking of meals to leave more time to dedicate to your business. That’s totally legitimate! You’ll be able to make these types of decisions once you’ve completed documenting how you spend your time and setting your priorities (goals).

You ready?

By the end of this episode (even if you’re not taking leave), you’ll feel ready to streamline your business and focus on the essentials!

Book recommendations:

Find me!

If you’re looking for more information about taking/planning a maternity leave, you might like my Creative Live class: https://www.creativelive.com/class/returning-work-after-maternity-leave

Stacey Trock is a consultant in brand management and social media. She helps small businesses engage authentically with their customers by developing both long-term content plans and live social media event coverage. Stacey teaches and writes about business for Creative Live, industry organizations and trade magazines. You can find her at StaceyTrock.com

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

228: When you have too many ideas

Every creative person generates a million ideas. And if you have a creative business you need those ideas to keep your moving forward, but sometimes they can get overwhelming. Learn what to do when you have “too many” ideas at TaraSwiger.com/podcast228

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Have you found that whenever you're really busy and you do NOT have the time to work on something, you get a MILLION ideas for it?! I know! Me too!

So what do you do when you have too many ideas? How can keep from losing them? How can you keep creativity flowing? How can you be sure to choose the right one?

When I asked the Starship what topics they most wanted me to cover on the podcast, this came up over and over: What do I do when I have too many ideas?

First, know that you are not alone if you both have times of NO IDEAS AT ALL and ALL THE IDEAS, OMG! That's just a natural part of the cycle. Creativity and business is cyclical, you'll have times of planting, times of harvest, times of a totally fallow field (I grew up surrounded by cornfields in rural Ohio!). The important thing, the vital thing to keeping your creativity healthy and alive is to RESPECT the season you're in, don't try to push it. So when you have no ideas, just rest and get to work on the things you've already planned. When you have ALL the ideas, don't try to squash them down or ignore them.

Now, you can't always work on the ideas you have as soon as you have them! And some projects take a long time so even if you start right away, it's going to be a while before it's finished. So what do you do with all those ideas? You don't want to squash them, but you can't work on them?

The super simple, obvious answer is to WRITE THEM DOWN.

Ideally you're going to write them down in the same place every time, so you can find the list when you're out of ideas!

Here's a few things to keep in mind when writing your ideas down:

  • Put them where you'll find them again!
  • Look at what else you have coming up, and see if an idea fits in to your plan?
  • Does it have a deadline (like a Black Friday Deal idea)?  Does it need you to work on it by a certain time to make it happen?
  • Prioritize what you'll work on, based on what your current goal is, what makes sense for your business, and what you're enthusiastic about.
  • Keep going back to the same list and adding to it, all the time.
  • Review the list regularly! Ideally you'll do this when you're planning and thinking about your goal for the quarter and at the very least every 6 months. Maybe some of the ideas fit with your new goal, or maybe your goal is to implement an idea you still love.
  • Don't be precious about your ideas, you will have a million more. Cross out ideas you're not still excited about!

What I do:

  • If it can be done this week, write it down in my daily journal
  • If I’m not sure when to do it, I add it to a big list in my quarterly planning journal
  • If it has moving parts or a deadline, put it in Asana

That's pretty straight forward right? That's what I thought, so I was confused by the panic that this question seems to elicit in people and I wondered: Why does it upset people to have lots of ideas?

I have a few possible ideas:

  1. It's frustrating to be excited for something and not get to work on it right away. But trust yourself to come back to it, and then DO come back to it, and you'll build up that self-trust, you'll start to believe that you WILL get to what's important, and you'll start to feel less upset about it over time (I can tell you this is true from experience!)
  2. You worry about picking the RIGHT idea. You worry that if you have to pick between your ideas, you won't work on the right one.

I can understand that, but I have a secret for you that is going to totally change your life. Are you ready for it?

There is no right idea. There is no right answer.

I'm serious! If you have an idea for an Instagram Challenge you want to hold and you have an idea for a Black Friday Sale, you know what? Both ideas will go great. Both ideas are likely to grow your business! There isn't a RIGHT choice between the two – pick the one that either makes more sense for your current goal, your current ability and/or your current enthusiasm level. That's it!

One way to look at this is that there is no “right” answer, because no one knows the answer! You have to try it and see!

The other way to look at this is that EVERY answer is the right answer! Taking action, at all, in your business is better than NOT taking action. EVERYthing you do, if you pay attention and learn from both the successes and failures, is going to be progress.

Remember, there are very few things you need to do in your business. They are, in this order:
Have enough products in your shop (that are priced right)
Show up consistently, communicating with your community (where your buyers are)
Reach out to new audiences (like doing a craft show, getting in shops, etc)

Within those areas, you're going to have a goal or a focus – pick the idea that aligns with that current goal.

And above all, trust yourself!
You are going to have more ideas!
You are going to implement the really great ideas.
You are going to move forward.

Don't let too many ideas keep you from taking action. Take action, and you'll get more ideas.

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

227: What I’m Reading: October 2018

I explore my enthusiasm by reading… a lot. Learn all about the books I’ve been enjoying over the last month at TaraSwiger.com/podcast227

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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.

(The usual disclaimer applies.)

What I read this month:

You can hear more about Recovery and Simplicity parenting on my book + self-care podcast! 

What I was reading in October in 2016, in 2015, in 2014!

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

226: Why you self-sabotage

I did not want to talk about this. I have been avoiding this topic for years, even though it's something my listeners and clients ask all the time: WHY do I keep sabotaging myself? If you feel like you sabotage your own success learn more at TaraSwiger.com/podcast226

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I did not want to talk about this. I have been avoiding this topic for years, even though it's something my listeners and clients ask all the time: WHY do I keep sabotaging myself?

If you feel like you sabotage your own success, today’s episode is for you.

So last week I put up 5 different podcast ideas for the Starship to vote on what they most wanted me to talk about…and you know what got the most votes? Self Sabotage!

Even though I've been asked this a lot, I've avoided talking about it because…I think it's possible you are NOT sabotaging yourself. Sometimes the things that look like self-sabotage are actually just you taking care of yourself!

For example, if you wake up with a headache, like I did last Friday, and you decide NOT to work on your To Do list, even though it's very big and you have a deadline…is that self-sabotage? Or self-care?

Now, since we're talking about ME, I bet you'd say: Tara! You have a headache, take the day off, your business will be OK!

But if we are talking about YOU, you'd say: Oh, I really should have worked, I have things I know I am supposed to do! I totally sabotaged my list by not working!

And girl, that's just wrong.

So before we talk about REAL self-sabotage, we gotta get clear that every time you don't work, every time you take a break, every time you decide NOT to show up for something, it's not necessarily ruining everything – sometimes it is you taking care of yourself, or giving yourself what you need.

When I asked you (on instagram) for your examples of self-sabotage you told me:

  • When I get an opportunity, but believe I can’t do it, so I don’t follow through.
  • Setting a big goal and then getting sidetracked or not planning, and deciding: “well, all hope is lost!”
  • When I’m scared. I plan a big thing, and then don’t follow through (like a big launch, where then I only send a couple emails instead of doing everything I had planned).

Why you self-sabotage

  1. You are experiencing more success than your set point is comfortable with (Upper Limit Problem. This is the book about it.)
  2. You don't think you deserve it. (Imposter Syndrome)
  3. You actually don't want what you're working towards.

You'll notice that each of these reasons is actually…self-care! You're protecting yourself from what you think you can't handle or don't want.

What you can do about it:

1. Get really specific about what the self-sabotaging activity is and why you did it.

Ask yourself:
What am I trying to protect?
What am I afraid of?

This is important because a lot of women TELL me they are sabotaging themselves and when I ask for specifics, they hem and haw, “Well, all the time. I'm just never following through, I never do.”

Girl, that is a belief you have about yourself. It's a belief, not because it's true, but because you keep saying it to yourself. As long as you keep repeating this and believing it, you're never going to be able to move forward.

Until you can believe the opposite (“I show up for what matters. I can do what it takes”), replace it with the truth, “I'm not sure what's up, but I'm doing my best. I'm protecting myself.” Move towards trusting yourself to show up by getting clear on exactly what you do and when you do it. Get clear on why you're doing it (what you're protecting yourself from).

2. Let go of the fear.

The next step, after you know what you're afraid of, is to look at that fear head on. I like to do fear-setting (from Tim Ferris):

  • What's the worst that can happen?
  • Do you think you can handle that?
  • If not, how likely is that to happen? (Usually, not very likely, or at least not for very long.)
  • What is the much more likely (smaller) thing that may happen?
  • Can you handle THAT?

This is the time to use all the tools you have to release fears – therapy, journaling, essential oils, tapping – whatever works for you!

3. Notice all the ways you DO show up for yourself.

Do you buy groceries and cook meals?
Do you read sometimes?
Do you spend some time crafting?
Or doing anything you love?

THAT is showing up for yourself. YOU ARE DOING IT.
And it's transferrable! If you show up in this way you can show up in others.

4. Show up for yourself, even more. And make note of it when you do.

Self-sabotage isn’t something to beat yourself up about. It’s something to take care of yourself in the face of.

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

225: Post-summer Renewal FREE WORKSHEET!

Getting back to work after a break is never as easy as we’d like it to be. Learn how to kickstart your work and business after a summer break, and get your FREE worksheet at TaraSwiger.com/podcast225

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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?

  1. 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?

  1. 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?

  1. 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?

  1. 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?

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

224: How I dramatically simplified my business

If you’ve been in business for awhile, it might be time to do a spring (or autumn) cleaning. Learn how I simplified my business at TaraSwiger.com/podcast224

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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:

  • Write
  • Talk
  • 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.)

  1. Podcasts allow me to communicate important, helpful stuff clearly
  2. Instagram gives me interaction and connection and allows me to provide daily bits of encouragement.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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):

  1. The podcasts encourage people, for free. Explore Your Enthusiasm helps you in your business, Take Care of Yourself does it in your self-care. So I do them and then have a system for sharing them (on iTunes, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram)
  2. 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)
  3. 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.
  4. Only 1:1 consultations (which are free!) to help you make a daily plan for self-care and emotional wellness, using essential oils.
  5. 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.

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

223: What I’m reading: September 2018

I explore my enthusiasm by reading… a lot. Learn all about the books I’ve been enjoying over the last month at TaraSwiger.com/podcast223

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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.

(The usual disclaimer applies.)

What I read this month:

Parenting books:

Fiction:

Use the plugin Library Extension, to see if these books are at your library, from Amazon.

What I was reading in September of last year, in 2016, in 2015, in 2014!

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

222: Upgrade your “everybody”

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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.

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

221: Foundations of a healthy business: What you truly need to succeed

When you have a solid foundation in your business, anything is possible. Learn more about the very fundamentals of building a beautiful business at TaraSwiger.com/podcast221

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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)
  • Profitability
  • Marketing
  • 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!

(Not sure HOW to work on it? Or where to start with each area? This is what I teach in the Starship.)

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.

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

220: How do you keep going when everything is GOOD?

It’s easy to find information about what to do when things are going wrong in your business, or when you’re striving towards your goals. But what happens when you’ve reached your goals and things are going well? Learn how to move your business forward even when things are going great at TaraSwiger.com/podcast220

Play

How do you keep going when everything is GOOD? Or FINE?

What if you met your goal, so you're not feeling super motivated? Or you've gotten excited about a new project? How do you keep your consistency on what's already going well?

Today's question comes from a Starship Captain who asked, “How do you stay focused on the parts of your business that are already going well, when you've got a new project you're excited about?”

I'm going to answer her question in a minute, but first I wanted to tell you that the Starship is what makes this podcast possible. I don't take advertisers and I don't spend a lot of time on this podcast selling my stuff because of the Starship. Also – the Starship gives me almost all of the topics I cover here – either the questions and conversations come up naturally, or I ask the Starship once a month: what do you want me to cover?

If you want to ask your questions and get them answered, the Starship is going to open next week! It has changed up a bit, so if you’d like to be the first to hear about the changes, sign up at taraswiger.com/starshipbiz!

Now let’s get to the question, when everything is great, how do you keep going?

How to keep going:

  1. Systematize everything.

You can systematize and streamline everything (so you have more time to focus on fun stuff!) by…

We talk a lot about this in the course on Taking a Break, we guide you through each step. The course is now only available in the Starship community, you can find out more about that when it opens, by signing up at taraswiger.com/starshipbiz

  1. Decide on the results and the effective minimum dose.

What do you really want to accomplish in the area that you’re not focusing on? What is the minimum you want from it? Being really clear and decisive on what you’re willing to accept from the area of your business but doesn’t have a lot of focus, is so important to your own peace of mind. It’s fine that not every area of your business is your main focus at a given time, but we often beat ourselves up later, once we see the results. So determine the results you’ll be ok with, and don’t fret if things decrease while you’re working on the new thing.

When you know the results that you want, experiment with what is the minimum effective dose of effort required. Answer the question: What do I need to do to get those results? It’s entirely possible you’re doing a lot of things you don’t need to do, to get the exact same results you’re getting. We often talk about doing more and trying more and adding more, but it can be even more effective to reduce what you’re doing, to do less.

The great news is, identifying the results you want and the minimum effective dose that it takes to get those results is SO helpful when you go through a period of time when you can’t work as much on your business – maybe your kids are home from school, maybe a parent is sick, maybe you’re about to have a baby. But knowing what it takes for your business to survive at the level it needs to survive can give you a lot of peace of mind and clarity when you need to step away from your business… or when you just want to go in a new direction or try a brand new thing.

  1. Get accountability

Even if you've been doing it for years, if you feel yourself start to slip, get accountability.

You can do this casually with a friend, or you can do this more officially inside a group like the Starship where we have weekly accountability check ends and accountability partners. But often, when people aren’t doing what they want to do, the easiest solution is just to build in some accountability. Get someone who is expecting them to do what they want to do, someone outside their own brain, who won’t accept any excuses.

I talked more about this is episode 73, how accountability can help you reach your goals

And about how accountability can help you be more productive in episode 122.

I want to end by giving you permission to follow your enthusiasm!

It will lead you in exciting new places and new opportunities. Don’t be afraid to let yourself out of your box and into something new!

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

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