Making the decision to travel full-time as a family was probably the most exciting (and life changing) decision we’ve made since deciding to start having babies. We packed up our house, put everything we owned inside a storage shed and took our three kiddos to explore the world. But before we got on that first flight bound for London, there were some logistics that were really hard to wrap my head around. Probably the biggest being, how I was going to condense my big office (that I absolutely adore) to fitting inside a backpack. I can’t even tell you how much time was spent trying to figure out how this was ever going to work. I searched on the girl boss’s version of Google (Pinterest of course) but with no help. That’s why I wanted to blog about this, maybe someone else out there is trying to figure out how to become truly virtual too. My plan was to work while we traveled, so I needed all of my essentials. It’s funny because I had always thought of myself as “virtual” since I do work from home but I quickly realized that I only seemed to know how to work from my big pink chair. I needed to learn a whole new skill. I needed to learn how to work from anywhere in the world. From London to Hong Kong, Tokyo to Bali… All places we’ve been in the past year. I had no idea how this was going to work! So the challenge was to fit my office into a backpack. I needed to get down to the absolute necessities. I’ll admit there were some moments where trying to convince myself that gold staples and pretty Kate Spade trinket dishes were not crucial, it wasn’t easy! What can I say, I’ve always been a sucker for the details. Knowing this change was coming, I worked my way down from dual monitors to one monitor to finally a laptop. I purchased a portable storage drive from Costco and got everything that I was going to need, stored on the drive with a backup in the cloud and a backup in Dropbox. It was important to have a portable hard drive that did not rely on internet connection to get what I needed because I knew there were times I might have zero access for days. Today I thought it would be fun to show you what made the list, and after months of traveling what has become my absolute must-haves. This is it! This is my must have list. The only thing not pictured is a universal adapter for my laptop charger by Twelve South. I got mine from The Apple Store and love it because it gives me one extra USB port, and let me tell you – that extra port becomes incredibly valuable when you have as many devices as we do and you’re looking at an outlet that is not a match to all your charging prongs. I also knew I would need a mouse! Most wouldn’t need it but I’m special (and not in a good way in this instance). Even after months of working on my laptop now, I’m still slow with the trackpad. With a mouse comes the need for a pad, so my weekly schedule notepad doubles as a mousepad. So in the backpack, I have one medium size zipper pouch that holds my portable hard drive, mouse, small notebooks, pens, earbuds, and thumb drive. Then I have a larger journal for sketching out ideas and thoughts, my schedule pad that does double duty as a mousepad, and a little coin purse for money, transportation cards, and Starbucks gift cards (my typical workplace when I need a quite space. Well, quieter than being surrounded by the family in our latest AirBnB. And then, of course, I have my cell phone. We are now back in the US after traveling for almost eight months out of the country. And while I am excited to have my office back someday, I never want to loose this availably to truly be virtual.
The beginning of a business is a lot like the beginnings of new love. You can’t spend enough time together, being a part feels like agony, and all that you see is… possibility. It’s a wonderful phase. I loved that phase. It comes with some hazards, though. Friends and family feel neglected, past priorities can be forgotten, and sleep is a necessity for other people, but not you. But then one day it all catches up. You miss your friends, you miss sleep, and you begin to reminisce over past interests you no longer have time for. It is in this moment that you choose to either, slowly burnout or continue to burn-on. Only this time, if you choose the latter, you make a silent promise to do so a little more responsibly. For years I hustled. I forwent sleep, showers, snuggles with my husband, playing with my kids. All in the name of hustle. Too much, I forwent way too much. I have learned that hustling is often misunderstood. Just because Instagram says “this is what success looks like”, doesn’t actually mean the people posting have ever experienced real success. Hustling becomes hurtful when it is associated with never resting and never rebooting. This is a recipe for disaster. Disaster in marriages, friendships, parenthood, and even the one thing you’re devoting everything to. Because all of that guilt from all of those other areas of your life eventually channel into resentful, angry, and burnt-out feelings toward your business. I’d like to think I’m a bit of an expert on this. I did it all wrong in the early years, trusting the wrong sources for what success should look like. I thought success equaled busy, but I didn’t clarify for myself what busy meant. Now I define success as a sense of contentment. Not idleness, nor lack of passion, or curiosity, or disinterest in finding better. But rather, success is waking up and loving who and where you are, while simultaneously looking with eager anticipation toward what can still be. I’ve come to believe in the short-term hustle. (I can’t quite remember if I coined that name or heard it somewhere but it doesn’t matter). The short-term hustle is the need to go above and beyond for a limited amount of time that has a specified ending date. Launch time. Website Revamps. Branding Overhauls. Product Creation… These will all most likely need the short-term hustle, but the key is to set boundaries for your hustle-happenings. Boundaries that those you love can count on. Business is an adventure. Sometimes we get it right; sometimes we don’t. But that’s what I love about it. I make mistakes, but I also get to own them and that means I can grow in the aftermath. This gives me the freedom to own my bliss. This month, now that your annual goals have been set, I’d like to challenge you to go back through each goal and ask yourself WHY. Why do you want it? Once you’ve prioritized your goals, you’ll have the clarity of knowing that what you’re working toward… Will, in fact, give you more of what matters most to you. If you need some help building your growth map and getting the clarity you crave, check out our success mapping worksheets HERE!
This month’s set of free desktop organizers is ready for you! I’m excited about these designs, of course we had to encompass a little of the love we’re feeling this month! You’ll have 3 desktop screensaver and if you need help with training on how to use them, you’ll find that in your download email too! Remember, we create new designs every month along with offering tips, tricks, and strategies for growing your business. My goal is to help you stay inspired and empowered as you build your own business bliss.
How are we already on day 12? I hope you’ve been loving our daily gifts! For our last gift, I have something extra special for you! It’s the gift that keeps on giving (that’s right it’s a fruit cake subscription) – just kidding! No fruitcakes here, well every so often I act like a fruitcake but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway… This is way better than a dense cake filled with everything left in the cupboard! This gift is all about helping you ‘life’ better by getting your desktop organized! And the best part is, it only takes a few minutes to clean up your computer. In fact… Less than 5! Watch our quick guide to show you how to clean up your desktop and get more productive. So how does this gift keep giving? Well, every month I’ll be sending you two new Desktop Organizers to choose from to keep you inspired. On your phone? Don’t worry, we’ll send the download right to your inbox so that you can access them when your back on your computer! Just CLICK HERE Did you miss any of our amazing gifts? Just CLICK on the images above to get access! I hope you’ve enjoyed our 12 Days of Giving and are already using some of the fun you found under our tree! This is us, telling you how much we appreciate and love getting to be in your inbox, connecting with you through Social Media, and just being on this journey with you! …So, THANK YOU! And Merry, merry Christmas!
Are you one of them? Are you a creative who has stunted your growth because you either believe that no one can do it as good as you can, and/ or that it would be inappropriate/wrong/bad for you to presume that you deserve a second set of hands helping you. I’m telling you now – unequivocally – that my life would not survive without second hands… and third and fourth. I didn’t always have extra hands helping me though (at least not enough extra hands). I used to constantly try to be about ten things at once. I’m a wife, a mother, an entrepreneur, a photographer, a designer, a business coach, a blogger, a sister, and a volunteer. And I want to do all of those things exceptionally well! No pressure there, and it is certainly a recipe destined to leave me feeling like I’m not… well… enough. I also need to be an accountant, a house cleaner, a laundromat, a bookkeeper, a proofer, and a scheduler. I don’t like the second list nearly as much, because I’m not nearly as good or as passionate about it, but those tasks need to be done too. Finally, I hit my breaking point and admitted that I needed help. I wasn’t capable of being and doing everything on my plate with only my two hands to accomplish it all. So, I set out to get myself some help, and I finally realized that I was willing to spend my money to buy more time. Here’s how I discovered how and what I needed to let go of, and in what order I was going to delegate the tasks. STEP 1: Make a list of everything you have to do – all the roles you play. STEP 2: Circle the 5 things that you love to do and are best at. STEP 3: Square the 5 things that you can’t stand doing and/or are worst at. How long was your list? Are there any roles on your list that you could/would be willing to just get rid of entirely? What roles would you love to let go of and give to someone else?
_______________________________________________________________When I made my list, the 5 things I squared (i.e. was willing/would love to get rid of) were; 1. Deep Cleaning 2.Bookkeeping 3. Proofing 4. Scheduling 5. Ordering Appointments (while I actually really enjoy ordering appointments, they were sometimes taking up two to three nights of my week). So I did the unthinkable. I let go of the notion that I had to control everything and started to outsource. The first and easiest for me to let go of was the cleaning! Thanks to Craigslist (my first try around), I found a great high-school girl (at $12 per hour) to come over once a week as her after- school job. She did all the deep cleaning that I’d hated, and I made it a point to take that time and spend it completely on my kiddos! Next was Bookkeeping. This was a little more intimidating, but it had to be done. After all, the IRS does not accept “I couldn’t find the time” or “it scared me” as a reason for not filing taxes. Here are two resources to help you if outsourcing bookkeeping is on your squared list: Book Keeping 101 for Creatives and How to Hire an Account – 10 Questions to ask (Video). Step by step, I have looked to delegate each squared item on that piece of paper. I either outsourced it or let it go. This gave me the time to refocus my passion and energy on what I am best at. It also created more revenue opportunities as I could spend more time doing what creates income and less time on the day to day tasks that used up the majority of my time and energy. We are all works in progress – striving for better, not perfect. I hope this simple exercise helps you start thinking more about allowing second hands to build you up, help you accomplish more, and give you greater bliss as a girlboss.
If you’ve been neglecting your financial books (or you don’t even have financial books), you are not alone. Most small business owners (and even more creative small business owners) don’t give their bookkeeping efforts much thought, 0r they think about them but then quickly push that thought out in place of something more fun and pretty and creative (we’re all guilty). But here’s the thing, most small businesses fail (ouch) and even more small creative businesses fail (double ouch). Is this a coincidence? I don’t think so; it’s a precursor to a much bigger problem… Avoiding The Details. Keeping records is a crucial part of running a business, and it’s not just so that you can properly pay your taxes either! Keeping records creates the opportunities for you to see trends, dips, and growth. Knowledge is power, and that definitely applies to your bank account! With all that knowledge, you don’t have to wonder how your business is doing – you know! And that knowledge gives you the tools to plan for a prosperous future. Avoiding the numbers doesn’t actually make them go away. Instead, it leaves you defenseless and lacking a clear path to follow. Far too many small businesses only realize they’ve begun sinking once it’s already too late, and all because they avoided the numbers. SO HERE IS YOUR QUICK GUIDE TO RECORD KEEPING… WHAT YOU MUST HAVE IN PLACE:
- A Separate Checking (and Savings) Business Account: If you don’t have a business license, you can just open a second personal account until you do get your license.
- A Business License: I’ve been asked many times to define the right moment in which to apply for a business license. I applied for mine immediately. More than anything else, it was a psychological thing for me. I was going to be successful, and I felt it was important to plan as such. Skirting corners by avoiding taxes wasn’t the road to success, and I knew it.
- A Place to Keep Receipts: Write on the top of the receipt to remind yourself what they were for (i.e., lunch with intern).
- A System to Record Financials: This could be Quickbooks, Excel, or even paper and pencil.
- Business Receipts: Any receipts that contribute to your business should be categorized and filed.
- Deductible Expenses: This goes along with the first, but it’s important to remember that you will need some deductions for end of the year filings. We realized almost too late that I hadn’t spent nearly enough money and was going to be paying a huge chunk in taxes if I didn’t reinvest more into the business.
- Client Invoices: Every session should have a coordinating invoice, so that you can track sales orders and session fees.
- Credit Card Transactions
- Bank Deposit Slips: If you don’t “go to the bank,” then keep track through bank statements.
- All Lab/Vendor Invoices: You need to be able to see what your product expenses are in comparison to your sales; plus, you need it for the purpose of writing off taxes at the end of the year.
- Any Costs Contributing to Your Monthly Overhead: Even if you don’t have a studio, you do have costs! Think about reoccurring payments, prop purchases, home office space, etc.
The Thrive Experience takes The Thriving Photographer™ business training program and brings it to a completely different level! And that level includes me in your town – building your thriving business with you right by your side! Thrive Experience has been especially designed for the photographer who knows exactly what could happen for her business if someone else came in and whipped everything into shape. With sleeves rolled up, I arrive pumped to help you organize, systemize, and cultivate an environment for success. While I’m there, there is a really good chance you’ll find yourself hitting the streets with me to look for new marketing opportunities and then celebrating with some much deserved spa time R&R… for market research of course. Thrive Experience begins with 2 in-depth private implementation calls, so that we can start setting up your foundation for success with brand, pricing, and web reviews plus updates. Next, I arrive in your town – ready to get to work as we build your dream business side-by-side. After my departure, you won’t be left alone. You’ll enjoy 1 full year of being privately coached and supported by me. In their own words, here’s why the Brayton’s chose The Thrive Experience