Hello! I am back! After a summer of pre-recorded episodes and rebroadcasts, I am back with you in nearly-real-time! Today we are going to talk about how to recover from your summer – whether you took time off, or you got tons of work done, or you did a bunch of craft shows or you went on vacation – how do you get back into it and move forward and reach your goals for the year?
Today I'm going to give you an update on my summer, we're going to talk about how to learn from the summer and move forward, and I'll share some changes I'm making in my business!
First, I have to thank YOU for sticking with me over the summer – for staying subscribed, for sharing the show with friends, for leaving a review on iTunes or comments on YouTube and for those of you who supported the podcast on Patreon – I'm going to be thanking my patrons AND linking them up over the next several episodes. If you want to support the show and get some bonuses every single month, head to Patreon.com/Taraswiger.
Thank you to long-time patron, Jacie of BandofWeirdos. Jacie makes the most awesome geek-inspired pins, patches and I proudly wear my Band of Weirdos pins, Cat Spock and “Slayers Gonna Slay” on my jean jacket.
A giant thank you to long-time supporter, friend, and Starship graduate, Lisa Check of Flying Goat Farm. Lisa is a farmer with angora goats and sheep, whose fiber she dyes and spins into beautiful yarn! If you want to get yarn that is well-loved from animal to needle, head to FlyingGoatFarm.com
I had a summer that NEEDS to be recovered from – on May 30th, two toddlers came to live us, ages 2.5 and 3.5. The sisters are sweet and so loving and they have just flourished. The young one went from quiet and shy to a little chatterbox in the last few months and they are both just so totally fun and silly. ADJUSTING to living with two toddlers has been its own challenge. I spent the first month napping every time they napped or left the house. We're blessed that they were already enrolled in a preschool, and to make the transition as easy as possible for them, we've kept them there, even though it means driving an hour round trip, twice a day.
It looks like they'll be with us until the end of September, they have a court date September 26th, and we'll hopefully know a bit more after that. If you want more updates or to see the very adorable back of their heads, be sure you're subscribed on YouTube, where I share a weekly vlog or your watching my Stories on Instagram, for daily updates.
So now that we're three months in, I'm at the spot where I feel pretty capable of thought, on most days, which is significantly better than how foggy I was all summer. So I've been thinking a lot about how to get back to work, how to move forward.
I know many of you are in the same place. Maybe your kids were home for the summer and so you didn't get as much work done. or maybe you traveled a lot for shows, or for fun. Maybe you don't have any particular reason, you're just ready to move on from the summer and get back to your business.
Plus we're about 4 months from the end of the year, so you may be feeling a bit freaked out about the goals you set and how you're going to reach them.
To start with, we're going to expand on the good. Yes, I am sure that there are a million things you didn't do and a million projects you're behind on. But if you try to operate from a feeling of “behind”, you're going to feel scrambly. (Spellcheck tells me that's not a word, but I've decided it is.) And you can't be productive when you're scrambly.
Let's start by answering the following questions:
- What went well this summer? (list anything, even things that aren't work related!)
- What in your work was easy?
- What were excited about?
- What new ideas did you have? (You might need to flip through your planner or journal for this)
- What projects are you excited to work on in the next season?
- What did you try this summer?
- What worked well? What didn't?
- Why do you think that is?
(THIS is the lessons you learned this summer! It is so easy to NOT learn them and make the same mistakes again and again!)
Next, let's zoom out:
What were the goals you had for 2019?
(If you've got Map Your Business, pull that out and look at it. It guides you through doing this every quarter but maybe you need the reminder to open it again?)
Which of the goals have you already met?
(You may be surprised! Almost every quarter I hear from a Starship Captain who already reached their yearly sales goal and they DID NOT EVEN KNOW IT.)
Which of these goals do you want to let go of?
(Maybe you just don't care about them, or they aren't the direction you want to move in.)
Which of the goals really excite you?
This is your OFFICIAL PERMISSION to let go of all the goals that don't excite you. You may come back to them later, or never. But let them go for now.
Don’t skip this!
You may be listening right now and thinking, yeah, yeah, review my goal, I'll do that later. I need to get back to work NOW. But please, don't skip this. This is a very important step in being productive AND in staying on the right track.
It is SO easy to just get stuck in the day to day of what you think you should do, without it ever lining up with and moving you towards, what you really want.
It is also very easy to get burned out and disappointed because you're not hitting your goals and you don't feel like you're making progress.
Do you know what solves both of these problems?
Regularly looking at your goals and CHANGING them based on what you really want, what's actually WORKING in your business, and focusing in on how you're going to get them.
Then create a plan:
So the next step is to look at the answers to your questions and start to combine it into a plan: how can you work more on what has you excited? How can you reach the goal based on what you learned this summer? What other ideas are you having?
At this point you may be noticing that this doesn't look anything like following someone else's blueprint for your business. Your plans and ideas might look totally weird. And you know what?
THAT is how you build a business that stands out, that doesn't blend in. Learning lessons from YOUR business, from YOUR customers, then applying them to YOUR enthusiasms. It may lead you down a weird path, but you'll be moving close to what will make you feel fulfilled and to a business and product that YOUR people will like.
I did this process myself, and lemme tell you what I came up with!
But first, a giant thank you to long-time Patron, Marrietta of Inner Yarn Zen. She dyes beautiful yarn and when I popped over to InnerYarnZen.com, I noticed that she has yarn advent packages available, inspired by both Game of Thrones AND Outlander!
Now, when I did this process myself, here's what I came up with:
Even in the busiest time with toddlers, it was always fun for me to do a few things – chat live with my Starship Captains each week, read books, watch booktube videos and make videos about what I was reading, or my planner, or whatever struck me. I participated in several reading challenges and vlogged my way through them (vlog = daily or weekly video journal) and it was SO MUCH FUN.
Now, that's only tangentially related to what I do for work (which is guiding and inspiring women to create sustainable businesses and lives around their enthusiasm). But it was following MY enthusiasm and it was giving me energy (I could do more than just nap!), so I gave myself permission to focus on it this summer.
And it's always easy for me to host the weekly accountability check-in in the Starship, which is great, because I love what the Starship provides to creative women, and I want to open it to even more makers and artists this fall. I've got a list of new bonuses I'm creating and tools I'm making for Starship Captains, and I'll be announcing those soon. You can head to Taraswiger.com/StarshipBiz to be the first to find out about it.
So that's one area of my business and focus settled – I find it easy, it aligns with my goals and with my bigger mission. Check!
But what about this area that was so fun and easy, making more videos and talking about books? Is there a way to integrate that more into my life?
One of the things I tried this summer was participating in the reading challenges, and hosting a book club for my Starship Captains and essential oil customers. That went SO well and had such a great participation and feedback I knew I wanted to do it again. So looking for connections and putting it together with some other new videos I want to make, I realized the answer was to host a new book club for ANYONE who wants to join, and give those same people all the weird videos I want to make every month.
For $2/mo you can support the podcast, get at least one extra video each month, and join my book club – where you'll vote on the book and we'll read it together. If you want to support the show for $7, you can TELL me what to add to my own reading list each month, get a shout out on social media, and pick the specific topics I cover on the podcast. Head over to Patreon.com/TaraSwiger to join the book club and get extra videos.
Nothing about this podcast will change – you'll still get new episodes every Wednesday, FOR FREE, and the full transcript here at TaraSwiger.com/blog. And if you subscribe on YouTube, you get a video every Monday, usually a bit of behind the scenes of running my own business. If you support the show, you get extra videos, the book club, and more, but most importantly you make THIS free show more sustainable, so I can keep helping more women craft the business they want, so I can keep encouraging you through hard times, and so I can keep taking time to parent my foster kiddos.
Thank you so much for being here, wishing you an enthusiastic week!
How to listen
- You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
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Find all the podcast episodes here.