I’m a nerd, and one of my favorite things to do when I’m faced with a big project or a big goal is to map out a plan and work that plan until I accomplish it. I know, that’s some serious nerd alert there. So when it was finally time to re-record my entire online course, The InDesign Field Guide, I knew I needed a good plan.
Ok, that title was maybe a litttttttle click baity, but I couldn’t help it. Because it’s true — I’ve been needing to write this blog post, to kick off the new year with a solid blogging game, and yet there’s only one thing I seem to be doing instead: procrastinating. I’m like really, really good at it.
My word in 2018 has been hone. I wanted to hone my business as well as my lifestyle. Refine it, simplify it, get super clear and intentional on what I wanted both to look like. This past year was less about growing my business, and more about stripping out what wasn’t working so I could focus on and improve what was working.
I think every business owner's story is an underdog story. Most of us worked for someone else, spent our days dreaming of working for ourselves, and usually through a significant change in their life – either forced or voluntary – they finally take real steps towards that dream being a reality. It’s rarely a smooth road, it’s usually a bumpy, curvy, pothole-laden road that can take a long time to get down. Lots of people have asked me about my own journey, so I thought I’d share it in a fun, timeline-style post – showing you that the big transition from day job to self-employed is not a quick or easy one. It takes time, work, and a whole lot of patience.
This year had tons of traveling, tons of momming, and tons of work on keeping this business chugging along. I started new projects that I’ve been putting off, and I cut old strategies that weren’t working anymore. This year was a season of pivoting and simplifying and getting real clear on what I do and don’t want to do in my business.
Automation. It’s the buzz word being slung around the Interwebs as of late. It’s that thing everyone is striving for, it seems like, to make their business totally automated and hands-off. But… what if that might not actually be the best thing for our customers? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a convenient app as much as the next gal (or guy! hey fellas.), but I’m afraid if we go so far down the automation rabbit hole, our businesses will end up looking and sounding like robots. Cold, hard, emotionless robots.
Hi my name is Kelsey, and I’m a workaholic. How does that saying go – entrepreneurs work 80 hours a week for themselves, so they can avoid working 40 hours a week for someone else. Couldn’t be more true! I’ve always been a workaholic, whenever it’s work I’m passionate about. So when Paper + Oats got off the ground in 2013, the workaholic in me was in overdrive. The day I became a mother (and a single one, at that) was the day I knew my workaholic schedule was about to change forever.
ConvertKit has a lot of pieces to it, and honestly it took me a long time to get used to it. But I seem to learn new things every time I get in there, so I thought it would be fun to share some quick tricks to help you work a little smarter. And since I get other nicely designed CK emails from some fellow creatives, I thought you might be fun to invite a few of them to join in and share a hack or two that they have up their sleeves!
I’ve seen this question asked about a thousand times in about a thousand places, so I figured it was time to shoot straight. This topic can have some varying opinions, sometimes controversial about which way is better. But after trying both methods in the last couple years, I’ve discovered it all boils down to a few different factors to consider.
Last week I posted a picture on Instagram of my computer as I was planning out aaalllll my 2017 tasks in just a few days. Yes, that’s right, an entire year’s worth of projects in about one week. And people freaked out. Rightfully so! I know how crazy it sounds, 12 months of work scheduled out on a calendar is a little control-freak-ish right?! It’s okay, you can say it. But this method helps me brain dump all my ideas + plans for the coming year in an organized way so I can actually accomplish the things I set out to do on January 1.
Wow, I have derailed on the blogging train the last few months. Sorry about that. Honestly, I was running low on content ideas and just wasn’t feelin’ it. At first I felt guilty for not keeping up with it, and then I sat down and wrote this quick year-in-review, quickly got over the guilt, and just decided I’d recommit to the blog in the new year. And that felt much better 😃
All morning I’ve been fighting with a toddler to eat her breakfast. Just eat. the dang. toast. She’s a little stubborn – like her mama. And her mama’s mama. And her mama’s mama’s mama. The little stubborn thing celebrated her second birthday last weekend, and as she spent most of the day with her dad, it was a bittersweet day for her mama. These early birthdays are more of a celebration for the parents than the kids, right? Celebrating the fact that you’ve kept another human alive for 2 whole years. Celebrating the fact that you’re still somewhat sane and standing upright.
A lot of people ask me how I get any work done with that cute pig-tailed girl hanging out with me all day. That’s a great question. Some days I don’t get a lot done because of all that cuteness. Some days I don’t get a lot done because behind all that cuteness is a strong-willed, feisty girl who tests my patience. Some days I do get a lot done because she’s in a good mood and entertains herself well. Some days not. That’s the beauty and curse of being a single, work-at-home mompreneur: every day is different.
I’ll be honest, 2016 has gotten off to a rough start. I try to be transparent in my corner of the Internet, not to glamorize anything I do (because trust me, it is rarely glamorous), but to be totally honest about what the life of a single mompreneur actually looks like. And so far this year it’s looked like a strong-willed toddler, an unexpected breakup, and one very worn out mama. Post-divorce dating is a whole blog in itself, #amiright?! Someday. As much as I’ve tried to be prepared for this new year, I’ve had a lot of other things on my mind and frankly haven’t had the energy to poor into elaborate business goals and strategies to reach them.
The end of the year is obviously a time for reflection and planning for the next year, so I’m sure you’re reading a plethora of other blog posts lately about people’s goals and plans for 2016. At the risk of doing what’s expected, I do think it’s important to take time to pat yourself on the back at the end of the year and remind yourself that all your hard work is worth something. Plus, it can be pretty motivating to see how much can change in a year.
Babies. Babies are hard. Babies are sweet and precious and cuddly and a blessing, but babies are really really hard. Add maintaining a business, and babies get even harder. BUT, the cool thing about babies is they give you some lead time before they get here. My pregnancy, albeit an emotional one, was an instrumental period of time for my business. I knew I had nine months to build P+O into something that could help sustain a life for my daughter and me.
If you're a mom and a business owner, you've felt it. You've been up at the crack of dawn powering through emails and cups of coffee. You're trying to get as much done before that little voice starts chanting from the other room. But then you hear it. The kids are up. But you've got 3 more emails to reply to, so you sit on the floor of the playroom while they drop toys next to you and reach for the keyboard. They're like little adorable vultures, aren't they? If you ever stop and look around at a moment like that, there's another monster lurking in the room, and its name is Mommy Guilt. And it's the worst.
Business + personal crisis. This is a topic that has been on my mind since the day I decided to launch The Oat Bar. I knew I wanted to write about it, but every time I sat down to do it, the words just weren’t quite there. The more I put it off, the more I saw posts popping up inFacebook groups with other boss ladies – women asking for advice on how to keep running their business in the midst of a tragedy that was just dumped on their lap. Most of the time, the comments poured in and it was so encouraging to see strangers come together to give support and motivation to a struggling fellow business owner. They shared their stories of heartache and how they managed to keep their businesses afloat – strength in numbers :) After a few of these posts, and not a lot of writing flowing in my camp, I decided to turn the tables around and ask a few ladies to jump in on the topic.
The last 7 days have been a whirlwind for me. A few days after following my filled-to-the-edge Uhaul all the way from Missouri to Nashville, I had 3 amazing opportunities to meet some big names in the world of entrepreneurship + blogging. One was planned months ago. One was planned weeks ago. And the third was planned almost day-of. All 3 have changed my perspective on this industry and motivated me to dream big for Paper + Oats.