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306: Seasons in your Business

What if you are just not getting things done? What if you just can NOT get things done? Before you start beating yourself up, ask yourself: is this just a season of my life?

I recorded this episode over a year ago, when I was a brand-new mom, but it's so appropriate for what we're ALL going through right now – a completely new season in our life and business. So we're rebroadcasting it (it will come automatically to your podcast app if you've subscribed), in hopes that it will help you feel some peace about where you are right now.


Today we're going to talk about how to identify the season you're in, and what to do about, to be both as productive and GENTLE as possible.

My aim is to guide you to living an enthusiasm-filled life…which includes doing work you love, spending time with people you love, and feeling GOOD while doing it.

I was recently asked the question on Instagram: I feel like I'm in a season of my life when I can't get a lot done. Am I alone? Can you talk about this?

First, let me preface today's episode with some background: two months ago I didn't have any kids. We became foster parents last September and on December 17th a two year old girl came to live with us, for an undetermined amount of time. And let me tell you – one of the first thoughts I had about my business, when my head came above water, several weeks later was: I can't believe I ever talked about how to get stuff done. I had NO IDEA what it was like to have a 2 year old at home. It is insane. Especially when you have no warning and you're a stranger to the 2 year old, and they've gone through some recent trauma. But even if you’ve been with them from day one, it’s bonkers.

So here's the truth: I have no idea what you're going through. Maybe you have 4 kids. Maybe you have a sick partner. Maybe you just lost a parent or loved one. Every situation is different, and my situation and way of dealing with things is built from what I need, from what works for me (and sometimes it doesn't even work for me!). So you'll have to take what applies, leave what doesn’t, and find what will work for you.

In my experience, there are several different seasons in every business, that continue to cycle throughout the life of your business:

  • Idea/inspiration – when you start to dream and get inspired and slurp up Pinterest and blogs and videos
  • Creation/exhalation – if you inhaled a lot of inspiration, you need to let it out via creation. This is where you begin to turn your ideas into action, into real projects or relationships or products
  • Working away at what you started – After the initial super-creative part of the process a LOT of our projects have kind of a boring “keep going” part. It’s not new and exciting, but there’s more to be done. This might also be maintenance mode. As Kurt Vonnegut said,  ‘everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.'
  • Rest – sometimes you’ll go right from creating to new inspiration and new creation but a lot of time your field will just need to lie fallow. You may just need to rest before you get another breath of inspiration. This is the time that you may worry that you’ll never have another idea and that everything is falling apart. But it’s just part of the process. Fill up your well and keep yourself healthy during this phase.

So those are the seasons in your business, but there are also seasons in your LIFE. Seasons where you’re actually not going to be in any season of creation or inspiration because you’re putting your attention on other projects in your life. It may be parenting, or a relationship, or getting well. That’s ok. That’s part of being a human!

If you are in a season of not getting stuff in your business done, you are NOT alone. I didn't work for 4 solid weeks. And now that I am back to “work”, my working hours are a fraction of what they were. Not only that but now the part of my brain that was free to think about strategy and business plans is now thinking about temper tantrum strategies and did she have any green vegetables today and is that a rash?

Now, I could be frustrated about that, or feel hopeless about it, or freak out about it (my income is 80% of how we pay the bills…so it's kinda important.)

But this is only a season of my life. Yes, she'll only be 2 years old for a short season. And because we're doing foster care, she may only be with us for a short season. But above that, the overwhelming NEWNESS of everything is ALSO a short season. We won't be in this everything-is-new-and-requires-decision-making season forever. Even after just a month of being together, so much has become easier. We have routines, we have go-to meals, we have regular activities to do together. I'm not saying parenting every becomes EASY or that I'll ever get back the huge percentage of my brain I used to think about my business, but the season of it being THIS INTENSE is fleeting.

And let me even more honest with you – before this season of being a new mom to a toddler, I went through a season of deep depression where I could not get my normal stuff done. Everything was hard. It started with fogginess, then things got physically hard, then hopelessness, then there was just apathy. (It’s real hard to get things done when you don’t care about anything.)

Even though that season was SO hard and I never want to repeat it, it was a season of healing. I needed to learn the lessons I learned in that season. It was NOT a season of ideas, creation or working. It wasn’t that restful (although I did rest my body a lot.)

Now that I’m more mentally healthy and I’m moving out of the intense brand-new-kid season, I’m in a season of transition, where I’m trying to find my new rhythm, my new normal. As much as I would love to just hop back to work-mode when I can work, I’m finding that I need to learn how to transition from mom-mode to work-mode. So this is a season of figuring-it-out. I’m not quite to creation, as I just transition into figuring out how to work.

And I know many of you are in an especially hard season. Maybe it's depression. Maybe you're taking care of a sick family member or partner. Maybe you've recently experienced loss. These are all seasons where your work is just NOT a priority. And hey, that's ok!

We are trying to build businesses that ENHANCE our lives, that bring enthusiasm and joy and connection to our lives, so those same businesses (and our plans for our business) need to allow for that life to show up and take over sometimes.

Are you in a difficult season right now?

If you're not getting stuff done:

  • Is it a season?
  • Is there a timeline?
  • Are your frustrated because you can’t do what you WANT to do? Keep track of your ideas.
  • Stick with the routines that make you feel like yourself (ie, shower, walk the dogs, get coffee)
  • Recognize the season and give yourself grace.
  • Realize when you’re in the NEXT season, and allow the change to happen.

I hope this has helped you navigate whatever season you’re in!

301: 3 Mistakes to Avoid in your Creative Business

NOTE: I recorded this episode before the world changed pretty dramatically. We'll be talking about how to manage all this in my Facebook group and in upcoming episodes of the podcast. We're in this together. 


Why do you feel stuck? Why isn’t your business growing? It could be one of these mistakes that are common in creative businesses. I want to help you avoid these mistakes, so let’s dive right in. 

I’ve been working with product makers – yarn dyers, bag sewers, jewelry makers – and designers and shop owners for the last decade! I’ve been getting up close and personal with them, in my community, the Starship, since 2011. So I have seen a lot of what holds us back in our business, and what to do in order to move forward with confidence and profit. 

Today I wanna talk about three of the mistakes I see makers and designers make, in their thinking, that holds them back. If you want to avoid the three mistakes most creatives make in running their business, check out my free workshop on the 4 Foundation Method to a Thriving Business, where I explain the mistakes AND teach you how to avoid them (or fix them if you’ve already made them!).

This is not about shaming you. If you recognize yourself in the mistakes I’m about to share, that’s ok. Realizing you’re making a mistake is the first step to fixing it! So there’s no shame about making mistakes, there’s only learning and changing going forward. Ok? Ok! 

Here are the mistakes so many of us make in our thinking:

MISTAKE #1: Waiting for everything to be ready. 

Here’s the quick solution for this: Recognize that everything will NEVER be ready. 

Waiting for things to fall into line, for the timing to be right, for the technology to all work will leave you waiting for the rest of your life. 

One of the first questions I got last week was about how much of my journey I had planned or if I went with the flow. The truth is I had NO idea where my business journey would lead. I could have NEVER imagined the work I do now or the life I have now. There is no way to plan for what your customers are going to want from you in 2 years or 5 years. You can only show up today and listen to your customers and learn. You learn through trial and error over and over again. 

Nothing will every be ready because you’re not going to know any of those things you’ll learn BEFORE you get started. 

And if you’re waiting for your plan to be perfect, you’re going to be too attached to it. If you act when it’s PERFECT, then you’ll think it’s too perfect to change and adapt, and it will absolutely fail if you don't adapt. So you see a “perfect” plan that you wait for, is doomed to fail. 

So just get started today with what you do know and be prepared to fail and learn and try something else. 

MISTAKE #2: Waiting for YOU to be ready.

Guess what? You’re never going to be ready!
And you’ll certainly never FEEL ready!

And that’s ok, you are allowed to do what you want to do even before you feel ready! 

Because, just like your business, you are going to learn from DOING. You are going to be the kind of person who has the business youw ant by DOING what the business you want needs you to do. 

And if you really feel like you’re not good at DOING things, I have news for you! 

You do not need to be BETTER, you need a plan for how to follow-through. You need a plan that’s built from who you actually ARE, not who you wish you WERE. 

This is why I talk about the 4 Tendencies so much (go to episode 122  to learn more about the 4 tendencies) – if you know how you best work, you can make a plan that works FOR YOU. If you need accountability in order to get stuff done, by all means, get accountability! If you need to work from a list, work from a list! 

If you need to listen to the reasons why you need to something, well, that’s part of my teaching style – I will tell you exactly WHY we do things in our business. 

Don’t wait to be ready, decide you’re ready enough, embrace who you are and create a plan that works for you. 

MISTAKE #3: Being afraid of other people’s opinions. 

Oh man, I feel this one, deeply! It’s why I’ve done a few podcasts episodes about exactly this! (episodes 270 + 271 ). Most of us get stuck in this mistake from time to time, whether we’re just starting or we’ve been in business for a decade. 

When makers join my free Facebook group (fb.com/groups/taraswiger )I ask them what’s holding them back, and would you be relieved to know that over a quarter of respondents say something about fear and other people’s approval (or disapproval)? But they’re definitely not alone! 

Just like the other mistakes, this one can be avoided by changing your belief.
First, realize that other people aren’t thinking of you that much. (How often do YOU spend judging other people’s behavior and actions?). 

Very few people are thinking or judging you. 

The next question is: so what? DO you even know for sure that they will disapprove? If so, do you want them to run your life? 

Do you want to stay where you are? Frozen by their (perceived) opinions?
If not, that’s the belief switch: Realize that you are not AFRAID of their opinion, you actually don’t care to live your life by their opinion. 

So there you have it – 3 mistakes you may be making in the way you’re THINKING of your business. The next step is to look at the mistakes you’re making in RUNNING your business. To learn how to avoid (or fix) those mistakes, join my free workshop!

Remember: you can always listen and subscribe in your favorite podcast app! 
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3 mistakes to avoid in your business

300th episode! Q+A – your questions with my husband

It's the 300th episode of the podcast! OMG!

Celebrate with me in this episode as my husband and business-encourager asks me YOUR questions. We discuss the very twisty journey that brought me here in my business, how I plan my weeks, and how I order my coffee.

Listen in by pressing the play button below or see our adorableness by watching the video above. 

Questions were asked by Starship Captains Theresa Burich of Serenity Ranch Handmade and Dawn Craig of Fairy Tale Yarn Co.

Help me celebrate by:

  • Leaving a review on your podcast app! (Here it is on Apple Podcasts)
  • Joining the free Facebook group where I'll be going LIVE this week with a celebration!

Explore Your Enthusiasm episode 300