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How I Fell in Love with Business in a Pumpkin Patch (And Made $20 an Hour at Age 12)

How I fell in love with business I love fall!  Cooler temps, fall colors, hot drinks, and warm boots! This year was a fun first for our little family.  Our daughter turned three recently and we met up with family friends to take the kids to a pumpkin patch.  Why am I writing about a pumpkin patch on a business blog?  A pumpkin patch was where I fell in love with business and started my journey of being a creative entrepreneur.  So today in honor of my daughter’s sparkling eyes picking out her first pumpkin, I want to give you glimpse into the beginning of my journey as an entrepreneur. (more…)

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What is Your Business Kryptonite? 3 Ways to Overcome Your Biggest Weakness

creative-business-kryptonite

Last week we talked about your business superpowers.  Check it out here!

Today I want to talk to you about a subject that may not be quite as fun but is just as important!  Your strengths will help you attain success in business, but understanding and responding to your weaknesses is what will determine if you can maintain your success. (more…)

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You Are a Superhero: 3 Steps to Discover and Embrace Your Business Superpower!

creative-business-superhero

When I was little I used to imagine that I had superpowers.  I’d daydream that I could fly.  As I sat at a window seat on my airplane ride and watched my city grow smaller and smaller I was fascinated by how the streets were laid out and how simple everything looked when you could see the entire image at once.  While I’m not as excited about flying now as an adult, I still love the window seat on take-off to see what seems so big become so small.  I find it interesting that this perspective parallels my career – seeing the big picture and then breaking down the strategy into a creative, workable plan to help businesses and entrepreneurs get to their final destination. Recently I was watching a preview for a superhero show on TV and I started thinking: what would it be like if we could have a superhero power in our businesses?

What makes a Superhero?

From Spiderman to Batman, Superwomen to Elastigirl; what 2 things do superheroes have in common? (more…)

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Boundaries in Business – Dealing with Pushback from Clients

Boundaries in Business - Dealing with Pushback from Clients

Last week’s post in the Self Care for Creative Entrepreneurs series introducing the Principle of Boundaries raised a great question: How do you deal with client reactions when you begin instituting boundaries?

Education Takes Place through Communication

If you have previously operated your business with no boundaries or less than ideal ones don’t be surprised if you get a little pushback initially.  Education happens through communication.  You are not in an adversarial relationship with the clients that feel like they are taking advantage of you.  Even if it feels like it!

If you have not clearly established a boundary then it is not fair to blame someone for crossing it.

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Self Care: The Principle of Boundaries – Part 3

Self Care for Entrepreneurs: The Principle of Boundaries

 

Establishing healthy boundaries is the second principle and third post in our Self-Care for Creative Entrepreneurs series.  If you’ve missed any of the first posts you can check them out here:

Self Care is not Selfish – Or Lessons I’ve Learned the Hard Way

What is Self Care?: Stop Surviving, Start Thriving – Part 1

Self Care: The Principle of Creating Space – Part 2

Have you ever heard the saying that goes something like: Your ‘yes’ doesn’t count if you can’t say ‘no’?  I started out in business saying ‘yes’ to every question clients asked:

Can you do this? Yes.
Can you do this for a ridiculously low budget? Yes.
Can you give up your weekend to finish my project because of my lack of planning?  Yes.
Can you do this project that you don’t want to do?  Yes. (more…)

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What Do You Want to Hear About? (Plus a game of Mad Libs)

Mad Libs for Creative Entrepreneurs

I had some time to sit down and write this morning between getting caught up on emails and planning for several meetings.  I started perusing my list of possible blog topics that I’m excited dive into and then I had a thought… what if what I want to write about is different than what you want to hear about?  I need your feedback!  Do you have any topics to suggest?  Respond in the comments below or chat with me on social media! You can find all my social media links in the sidebar!

So, because it’s Monday and we all need a good laugh, here are some Mad Libs to make your suggestions easier!

  1. Allison, talk about ___________ and ____________, because no one else is talking about it.
  2. Whatever you do, don’t talk about __________ because EVERYONE is talking about it.
  3. Would you please talk about ______________ and business? Because I need help with that.
  4. Teach me about __________ in a way that doesn’t make me want to hide in a closet or feel like I’m the only one that this is challenging for.
  5. Help me stop sabotaging myself when it comes to _____________.
  6. Meet up with me in person to talk about ____________________ for a long time.
  7. Allison!  Please write a book called ______________.

Mad Libs for Creative Entrepreneurs

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How to Handle Less Than Ideal Clients – Part 2

Less than ideal clients

Missed Part 1 – The Antithesis of Your Ideal Client?

Have you ever seen the children’s pegboard game where the objective is to match specifically shaped pegs to the holes in the pegboard?  Every heard of the old adage “a square peg in a round hole”?  The potential client standing in front of you is holding a pegboard with specific shapes cut in it.  You and your services are a clearly defined peg with a precise shape, size, and composition.  Your responsibility to yourself and your client is to determine if your peg fits the hole in their pegboard.

The best way to avoid a less than ideal client is to know what constitutes a good fit for you, and how to help them discover what a good fit is for them.  That need varies from personality to expectations, timetable, style, objectives, and budget.  I have found that the majority of the clients that have been problematic for me are because they don’t know what they want and I didn’t clearly express what I needed.

When the Unforeseeable Happens

The more clearly you spell out expectations on the part of both parties in your contract, the most space you give both of you to discover if you’re a good fit, modify terms, or spell out possibilities that may increase the time, cost, or change deliverables.  That is why I cannot stress enough the importance of having all agreements and expectations in writing.  No matter how carefully you assess a potential client and every foreseeable contributing factor, there will be times you find yourself working with someone who is not a good fit.  When this happens you have 3 options: complete the project as planned, modify the project, or cancel the project. (more…)

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What is Self Care?: Stop Surviving, Start Thriving – Part 1

What is self care?  Stop surviving, start thriving

After blogging about my last few months of resting and recuperating following a procedure on my spine, I have been amazed by the feedback I have received.  It seems that this topic of self care is one that strikes a deep chord in many of us and goes much deeper than just remembering to take enough down time to recharge our physical batteries.  It’s about caring for our body, soul, and spirit.  At its core, self care is the commitment to value ourselves.

What does that look like as a creative entrepreneur?  If I look at the sphere of successful businesses around me, often it seems like being a driven workaholic is celebrated; sacrificing yourself, your family, and community are a given.  The mindset that if you are not working like a mad person from early to late you are not a ‘real’ entrepreneur.

For years I bought in to this mindset hook, line, and sinker.  Quality time with my husband looked like us working late into the night side by side on our laptops.  Dates revolved around business discussions.  Clients got used to emailing me at 9 pm at night, expecting a response… the same day.  I remember several days into vacation (I used that term loosely back then!)  I was sitting in my car sending files to the printer for a client before leaving on a cruise.  I believed my clients wouldn’t survive if I wasn’t constantly at their beck and call.  Consequently because I lived that way I shouldn’t have been surprised that they believed the same thing!  I survived on caffeine and felt constantly exhausted and wondered why I was overwhelmed as my business grew.

When I caught myself prepping my resume with the intent of getting a job working for someone else the week after logging my highest income generating month in business I knew that something was seriously wrong.  Shouldn’t I be excited that my hard work was paying off?  I was burning out…correction…I was burnt out.

What is Self Care?

Self care is:

  1. Recognizing that you have a need.
  2. Discovering what that need is.
  3. Taking responsibility for making sure that need is met. 

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Self Care is not Selfish – Warning: Personal Post Ahead!


selfcare

Warning: Personal post ahead!  This post might better be titled “Lessons I’ve learned the hard way”, because boy, have I learned this one by doing it all wrong!  I have been absent from the blog for the last 2 months and it feels so good to be back!

Where I’ve been…

Eight years ago I was in a horrible car accident with an SUV, 2 cars, and 2 semis and it is a miracle that I am still alive.  Since then I have lived with almost constant severe back and neck pain.  I’ve seen 10 chiropractors, had physical therapy, taken muscle relaxers, cranio-sacral massage, deep tissue massage, myofascial release, kinesiology, acupuncture, strength and flexibility training, functional medicine, cleanses, more tests than I can count, and the list goes on with a heavy price tag attached.  While most of them offered a little relief initially or at least more information to add to my arsenal, none solved the issue… until now.  I had a procedure done on my spine (learn more here) that uses x-rays and then a manual adjustment to the atlas at the base of the skull to restore perfect alignment.  The results have been nothing short of miraculous.  For the first time in over 8 years I am almost pain free with the likelihood of being completely pain free by the end of the 8-9 month recovery period.  I’ve spent much of the last 2 months on my back letting the muscles recover around my spine.  My amazing mom came to take care of our toddler.  I had all intentions of using the time to do lots of blogging, but a few days into it I realized that my body was going to need a lot more rest to recover than I anticipated and when I was able to be up and around my attention and energy needed to be focused on my family and limited work commitments. selfcare2 (more…)

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