Mailing lists!

Quick post today about systems.

First, y’all know you need a mailing list. I am SO SERIOUS about this. Social media algorithms change all the damn time and you can’t completely control how/when you reach your audience on those platforms. Yes, use applicable social media – but use it as a tool to get people to subscribe to your list! Once you’ve got their email address, you can reach them in perpetuity (as long as you do it right and they stay on your list!).

I’m using Mailchimp – the functionality of the free version is a great place to start, and it really grows with you. It also integrates with a ton of other platforms, which can be an issue with smaller/lesser known listbuilding services.

Once I have my courses going I may switch over to a listbuilding service that’s integrated with my course platform (will be either using Podia or Kajabi, depending on the functionality I end up deciding I need). I might not, though. Beauty of this is that I get to decide whenever I want, and I can continue with Mailchimp until I have time to work out the switch.

Remember, you don’t need to make all your decisions now. Plan for change, which means plan in flexibility.


But! On to systems.

First, you’ve got your business’ voice worked out, right?

This is how you show up when you’re interacting with customers, which means it needs to be very clear in your writing. Do you curse? Are you goofy? Are you polished and serious? Are you super casual, or just kind of casual? Remember, the key to building a good voice is to focus on being relatable to your consumer.

Think about your target customer – how is this person going to feel seen? How can you adjust your language to make sure this person is saying “Yes! This person gets me!” all the time?

Next, pop into Mailchimp. Here’s a good tutorial on setting that up, if you need help.

The first thing you want to do is set up an auto-responder for when someone new signs up to your list. This is under the ‘campaigns’ tab, I think, but you might have to ‘create new.’ I’ve already forgotten. Just play with it 🙂

Make sure to lean in heavy on your business’ voice!  Here’s my first draft:

Hi, << Test First Name >>!

Welcome to the world of fabulous, healthy Oh Happy Plants!

My name is Veronica, and I’ll be your plant care guide through your many adventures with your photosynthesizing friends.

Be on the lookout for regular emails from Oh Happy Plants. I’ll send you neato care tips, fun facts, info about new courses, cool pictures of crazy plants, and lots of tidbits that could only come from a professional plant nerd 🙂

Happy growing!


P.S. Be sure to follow us on Instagram for a regular dose of cute plants!

Next, scoot on over to your Templates page – big fat nothing, right? Pop up and click the ‘Create’ button, and build a few templates. Your business will need specific things. For me, I need to have a template for alerting my audience about new Spotlight or other courses, another for telling them about new free content I’ve created and pushed out, and another that hands out little tidbits of plant info (which will act as ‘hooks’ to draw them to my Spotlight courses or just to check out my site).

You want to be giving at least 3 free, helpful things for every email that focuses on selling (you can gently sell within the free/helpful emails too, but the main focus should be on providing information).

Now, a word on systems.

If you’re going to manage your time well, you’ll have systems worked out for repeat processes. Like I mentioned, I wrote up three common email formats that I’ll use. All are visually similar to give a sense of brand cohesion (a logo helps with this!), but different enough that it won’t look like the same old crap when they get emails weekly.

The content of these templates is writing prompts, not actual text that I’ll send out. I’ve got little reminders in there for putting headings, sales buttons, questions that I’ll answer later in the email, hooks to get them to click on provided links, etc. All of this is so I don’t have to start at square one when I write an email – the template tells me what to do.

Now, this is pretty easy for me because I have a ton of copywriting experience. If you feel overwhelmed, start by reading Building a StoryBrand by Don Miller and How To Write Copy That Sells by Ray Edwards.  These two resources are GOLD when it comes to writing email to your list. I definitely recommend getting the physical copies of these books, but StoryBrand can be listened to to get the general gist of it. Don also has a podcast that’s fantastic, but you really need the book to get the process.

If you feel like you’d rather fast-track your copywriting skills with coaching, I offer a Copy Coaching program at Professional Catalyst. I work with small business owners individually to develop their voice and help them learn to use language in a way that prompts action in their audience. I prefer the ‘teach a man to fish’ approach, so I don’t offer copywriting or copy editing services if a person isn’t interested in learning the craft.

Let me know if you’d be interested in a copywriting mastermind – I’ve been thinking about offering this as a way to serve a broader audience (read: more affordable, less individual attention). With enough interest I’d love to put this together.

Happy writing!

Veronica 1, Apple 0…?

Okay, so apparently Apple puts a cap on file transfers via cable from phone to computer. Why? They want you to have to purchase iCloud, which is free for 5gb. Use more and you’re paying a monthly fee. Sure, only a dollar a month to start off, but companies don’t get to force my hand. Nice try, Apple…

Enter Rambax Simple Transfer. Ten bucks, one-time fee, and it creates a network between your phone, wireless router, and computer (completely local – it doesn’t put your stuff anywhere online, which is fantastic for security). There’s a free version with limits, obviously, but the paid version is cheap enough (no subscription, which I appreciate). It’s also exceptionally smart – the creators saw an issue (Apple transfer limits) and made a really fabulous solution, pricing it at just under what a year of iCloud would cost, making it a simple choice. Beautiful model.

Well, if it works. That remains to be seen – still waiting on the download. The first file wasn’t in the right format (my fault), the second attempt isn’t doing anything yet. More soon.

Get Scrappy :)

Holy hell. This is a PROJECT.

I just spent an hour shooting video. Most of it will be tossed in the garbage and I’m okay with that – I expected to suck right off the bat. Heck, I expect to continue to be terrible at this whole thing for a while, and that’s okay. Shoot lots of footage, cut most of it.

The trick will be to commit to the failure.

I’ve got to lean into this. HARD. Be okay with digging through the trash and finding the tiny bits of gold, because I know there’s enough there. I need about four minutes of this to be good – the rest I’m going to voice-overlay from a proper script on top of video of the plant (I had two cameras running, one on the plant) or onto photos I’ll insert.

Right now, though? I’m figuring a workaround for the fact that my phone and computer aren’t playing well together. My main video – 45 minutes long – won’t import via cable (apparently fucking Apple doesn’t allow that – they want to make me pay for iCloud space or some idiocy). I chopped it up and now my phone won’t play well with my computer and just isn’t importing it. Uploading it to drive is taking ages (or maybe just not working?).

I’m ready to break shit. I have zero patience for tech issues.

So it’s time to ignore that and get some ridiculousness going. You know that second camera? Well, I didn’t have a proper tripod mount for it. The workaround?

Tent stakes and painter’s tape!

It worked just fine and gave me a second angle of the plant, so any time I fuck up royally I can just dub over the audio with whatever I want. All that’s visible is hands and plant (except for when I stuck my face in the plant, because obviously I had to…).

Anyway – here’s the whole thing. The ‘wood’ wall is a photo backdrop, the shoji screens are hiding a bunch of garage-y nonsense (and were scavenged from my partner’s move, same with the benches), the rug hides the stained concrete floor, and TA-DA! Instant living room!

For reference, it looks pretty good zoomed in:


I have to go because if I stay at a computer right now I’m going to burn everything to the ground because of this goddamn video not uploading.

Really, I came here to tell you to never ever EVER give up. If I’m not allowed to, you aren’t either. You can always edit the cursing out later 😀

Avoidance (Perfectionism?)

The only thing I wanted to do this week was run away
to the woods and ignore everything.

That’s absolutely, 100% it. The entire week my nervous system was teetering on some hellacious precipice, fully activated and ready to run away at the drop of a hat. Not quite panic attack, not quite emotional breakdown, but so close I could smell both right around the corner and it was all I could do to calm my breathing so they wouldn’t pounce.

So it only made sense that Wednesday I commit to a few folks that this weekend I’m going to make massive forward progress on this little business. Because otherwise I’m 95% sure I’d either disappear off the face of the earth, or would spend the weekend in a vegetative state in my bed. Probably drooling.

Know thyself, right?

But also: take care of thyself. Yesterday was weird. I forced myself to socialize in the morning with some parents from my son’s school (a lot of the stay-home or otherwise free moms meet up for mimosas or coffee to build community at back-to-school time, and I think several other times during the  year). That was really nice. These are women I’ve chatted with a bit on Facebook and it was really good to get to know them a little more.  I also had a woman offer to share my business’ page once I have it thoroughly active and have stuff ready to sell. That vote of confidence felt amazing.

The main point was to combat my desire for isolation. The only antidote? I force myself to socialize. I also took a 2 hour nap, because a lack of sleep makes me feel  hopeless.

After running some errands in the evening I got home, fed myself vegetables, and got to work on my garage studio. I’d originally set it up to be a kind of ‘teaching’ space – think me behind table, facing camera, talking about plants. WAY too serious – and also a way to hide behind a table. That set let me stay scared. So now I’m about halfway to it looking more like a living room. I just need to buy a rug to cover the stained concrete floor and I’ll be able to set up lights and get filming.

So here we are again: Fear. Perfectionism. All of the things popping up, telling me to stay in my lobster pajama pants and watch garbage on Netflix all day because that’s the best way to ignore the beautiful life that I want to reach.

Hey, fear of being judged. I see you – and you’re the most judgmental of all. Sit down and have a cup of tea. I’m doing this.

Hey, perfectionism. You’re showing me all the things I haven’t figured out yet. Thanks! Nah, I don’t know much about lighting, or video/sound editing. Hell, I don’t know how to use the program.

But I know how to learn things.

Sit down and make me a list of things I need to learn. That’s helpful. And you’re right – what if I miss something in my videos?! What if I put together a guide to all the common problems for a certain plant, and I miss some big glaring issue?

I’ll fix it.

I’ll release an addendum, or re-work the video. I can always add extra scenes later. No worries. This is a casual business intended to make folks feel at ease about plant care. If I’m all uptight, I’ll be just like them – I’ll never take a chance; I’ll never move forward. That’s exactly what I’m against!

I want my clients to chill and not stress when it comes to plant care. I want them to feel empowered to take a step, fuck something up, even kill their plant – and LEARN from it, then try again. I want them to take chances, make mistakes, get messy…basically I need to get a collection of Ms. Frizzle dresses over here (I saw some chicken-leg socks yesterday and my first thought was “Oh! Those would be perfect for a video!”). But I digress 🙂

I have to lead by example.

So here we go.  Sit down, perfectionism. I’m going to name you Captain Fussypants McGee, because I know you’re sticking around. Might as well have something to giggle at when you lob your opinions at me.

What’s your perfectionism telling you today? How can you thank it and keep moving forward?


What? How? Why?

Because knowing answers to these questions will remove  your excuses.


Last night, this was about the mechanics of light in photographic applications. Yeah, I’ll explain 🙂

First, though, I’ve been rabidly curious since I hit the ‘why’ stage (and I have no idea when that was – for my own kiddo, I preempted it and started explaining things when he was a year old. Maybe younger. Why? Because that’s how my brain works, and curiosity is a thing we need more of in the world. So I fed his).

Next, this is what keeps me on my toes. It keeps me aware that there’s always a better solution – whether that means simpler, more elegant, cheaper, more time-effective – ‘better’ takes many forms when you train your mind to avoid limitation.

It also gives me the mindset that there’s always a solution.
No excuses.
There IS a way to figure it out.

So! Last night I get home after six hours driving the munchkins back from Pappy’s house and I realize that the little cactus that has slowly been dying still has some pieces that are alive!

Cue squeaking – he’s adorable, and his name is ‘cactoose.’

There I am starting to take him apart with tweezers and I realize I AM SCREWING EVERYTHING UP. Why? Because this should be recorded for my future customers!

But shit. I don’t have my photo backdrop steamed yet (it came all wrinkly from being folded), much less hung up. The granite counters in my kitchen won’t work as a backdrop – too much going on visually.

What am I to do?

Know the why/how/what.

Okay, what things does my studio have? Backdrop with a nice curve to avoid shadows. Good lighting (which my kitchen does NOT) arranged at 45 degree angles.

I yell to my son to bring his little flashlight because Mr. Cactoose is having a photo shoot. And I grab a plain piece of printer paper, stick it on my counter with the end going up the wall, aim the light, and…


Mr. Cactoose is dying. Pretty sure someone yanked him off the soil and broke all his roots while he was at the store, because he started dying as soon as he came home 🙁
But some pieces are still alive, and this one has a root!!!


I guarantee I looked pretty ridiculous, iPhone in one hand and flashlight in the other, trying to aim both and brace my hand so I wouldn’t get a blurry photo. In the studio I use a remote so I don’t even have to touch the camera, but these will do in a pinch.

So! Ask yourself this today:

“What things am I allowing to stall my progress?”

“What do I think I need in order to move past this (read: what excuses am I making for myself)?”

“How can I work around that? What’s the simplest solution to this issue? Will it get me to an acceptable end product? If not, what’s one step up?”

Break past the need for perfect and GET MOVING.

Happy September, all.
Get out there and kick your own ass 🙂

Building Social Media Posts (or: Plant Porn)

Oh my goodness I have some pretty plants 😀


Okay, first step complete: photo editing. I got a ton of photos last week.
Here are a few, already edited. Pardon the gratuitous plant nerdery.

Dracaena fragrans “Rikki” – Common names: “Rikki” dracaena, gold star dracaena


Ficus elastica “Tricolor” – Common name: Tricolor rubber tree


Dracaena fragrans “Rikki” – Common names: “Rikki” dracaena, gold star dracaena
Philodendron hederaceum “Brasil” – Common name: philodendron brasil
Aeschynanthus radicans – Common name: Lipstick Plant


Okay, as I mentioned last week, I want to have a specific look to my Instagram feed – equal parts full, lush photos interspersed with photos that have a good amount of negative space.

And immediately, I found the first bump in the road!

An issue I knew I’d run into is finding enough negative space in areas I have plants. The first two photos above give an example of the negative space I’m looking for, but I would prefer they be square to match the other photos’ dimensions. I’m thinking I could likely extend the existing negative space within good photo editing software, but I would definitely prefer to have a better starting point. I’m no pro photoshopper (in all honesty, the thirty photos I edited today make up about 60% of my photo editing experience – TOTAL noob here). So the less work I have to do, the better.

Alright: solutions! First, I need to intentionally build 60-75% negative space into a quarter of the photos I take.  I say a quarter because I’ll be using a bunch of pictures to illustrate issues and desired outcomes in videos, so really I just need half of my social-media-specific shots to have an open, airy feel.

Next, I need to set up and steam the wrinkles out of my photo backdrop asap. This will be the easiest way to reach the negative space target, though this does mean I’ll need to photograph plants at home rather than on location. This will limit my plant choices to what I have around or what’s ‘passing through’ on its way to a final home, but that’ll work fine.

Next project: writing the accompanying blog posts and scripts for teaser videos to use the photos I got – and also making a list of other photos I need so I can keep an eye out for opportunities to snap them.  I’ve got my voice about 60% figured out (maybe entirely figured out, but it’s not entirely intuitive yet, so I’m not claiming 100%). Sitting down to write stuff is still tricky – have to be informative and nerdy and goofy and talk casually about killing plants while telling folks exactly how to keep them alive. Wonky combo. Time to get down to it.


Lesson of the day: fail fast, learn, and adjust course.

Lesson #2: these were all taken with my iPhone and are perfectly reasonable. No fancy equipment? NO EXCUSES. Get out there and do it anyway.


Conquering the Blank Page

I’ve been hearing this a lot lately:

“I don’t know where to start.”


Look familiar?


I’ll tell you a little secret: I’ve been feeling it a lot lately, too. I have a bunch of big, exciting goals that I’m inching toward, and I can’t tell if my slow-as-a-penguin-walking-through-molasses progress is because I have a load of emotional weight to carry right now, or if it’s fear-based avoidance.

Probably both. Probably mostly the latter, even.

So today I’m going to figure out some ways to stop being so precious about my goals and just do something already. (If you didn’t already know, this blog is basically self-coaching. I’m going to go through and tag things so it’s easier to navigate and folks who don’t want all the nonsense can navigate past it).

First, a list of my big, overwhelming projects:

    1. Putting together my social media presence.
      • First: gathering content. Photos, mostly.
      • Instagram (main presence)
      • Facebook business page (was debating this one, but this will reach an older audience, so I’ll do it)
      • Facebook group (for when I build out the membership option – on hold for now)
      • Pinterest (can wait until I have the others going; will re-use IG content)
      • Twitter (also can wait – again, this will just re-use IG content)
    2. Shooting the video for courses
      • Figuring out format/flow of courses
      • Pare down the info to the basics
      • Put together reference charts
      • Figure out what information to include in supplementary materials (for each video as well as for Basics course)
      • Gather photo examples (working on it)
    3. Tech difficulties (working on it – HIRING SOMEONE!!!)
      • Contact form setup and testing
      • SSL certificate setup
      • Email list setup and testing

Okay, those are my main things. I’ve already started gathering photos, because these will be crucial to my forward movement on social media as well as for examples on videos. This weekend I’ll be choosing a tech person to fix some issues.

And next weekend – this is a commitment, folks – I’m going to shoot more video. And I’m not going to give up until I have something enough footage to make something marketable.

I’m putting it on my calendar right now. Heck, I may even invite a friend over to co-work for some accountability. Or contact someone when I start. Social accountability is huge for me (hence this blog), so here’s my biggest tip: find  your motivator. I’m massively internally motivated, but when shit gets scary or I get avoidant, I rely on a little external kick in the pants to get my fear (read: ego trying to protect me) out of my way.

One other thing I need to do is to re-work that massive whiteboard in my room to reflect my current situation. I’m now in a place where I can start making regular progress again – fewer unknowns in my life – so having a new 6 month plan is crucial to staying on track. This post is the beginning of that. Now I just have to attach each task to a month and get moving.

If it helps, I think about the whiteboard as if it’s my boss. I don’t have a choice; I do what it says. This approach removes any decision about what I should/could/’want to’ do and just gives me a task.

So. What are your big, scary goals? How can you break them into bite-sized pieces? Put them all on your calendar, or make a 6 month plan. Which tiny piece will you do today?

Who the hell do you think you are?

…to tell the world you won’t give it your best self?

Okay. You’ve got impostor syndrome.

Big whoop.

Let me tell you a little secret: WE ALL DO. Every single person out there thinks this stuff all. the. time. “Who am I to…?” “What if people figure out I don’t know what I’m doing?” “Other people could do this so much better than me.” “I don’t have enough experience and someone will see through me.”

Here’s another little secret, courtesy of my mother a year or two ago. We were chatting about general life-stuff, and I asked her if you ever actually feel like you’re a grownup, or if you just go through life taking on more responsibilities (and handling them just fine) but still feeling like you’re just pretending to have your shit together. She told me that she, in her late fifties, is still pretending to be a grownup.

You know that ‘inner child’ folks talk about?

That’s all of us, all the time.

I guarantee that not a single person reading this feels self-assured all day, every day. We all have ways we’re ‘just pretending to be a grownup.’

Let me give you some examples from my own life! Here I am, single mom who works full time and is a small business coach on the side, who is also building a second side business. I’ve kept my kid alive for almost nine years, but I’m still making motherhood up as I go. I’ve supported myself since I moved out at 18, save for a few years home with my munchkin – but I’m still kind of in awe of the fact that I keep getting up every morning and going to the day job, without fail.

I grew up in the back-end of nowhere on a goat farm, for fuck’s sake.

And now I’m also a small business coach who commands a rate similar to lawyers with fancy degrees and two decades of experience.

How the hell did I do that? By teaching myself the trade. I found that I was crazy-interested in the mechanics of building a small business. There’s a lot of psychology involved, both internally for the small business owner and externally, in marketing and understanding your customer. I LOVE psychology. Massive nerd here. I’m also a big systems nerd, and this is one part practicality and one part psych (gotta build systems people will actually use!). There’s also a huge amount of creativity involved – all it takes is someone saying “I kind of want to do _____, but I’m not sure about [insert: product, market, business model]” and I’m off to the races with ideas. It makes perfect sense, as I score in the 99th percentile in Openness to Experience on the Big 5 personality test. I’ve been intensely creative since day 1.

So! My weird brain just happens to be exceptionally well suited to small business. This kid who grew up chasing goats down a little road in the Washington countryside (because if you want to contain goats you’d better build a fence that can hold water). This kid who never got any kind of education specifically for this, but educated herself by consuming 6,000 hours of information on the topic. This kid who said “Hm, what if people would pay me for this?” and then found out that they would.

Next time you think “who the hell am I to ____,” remember me.

Who the hell was I? A nerd who found purpose and decided to chase it. And what have I done? I’ve given people the foundations to build their businesses. I’ve helped them understand the psychology behind their avoidant nonsense and learn to set ‘traps’ for themselves so they do the thing. I’ve helped them approach business partners and clients in ways that move both parties toward positive outcomes.

Also, let me ask you the one question to kick your ass:

Who the hell are you to hide your best self from the world?

What, are we not good enough for your best self to come out and play? Does the world not deserve your best self? Are you trying to tell me that you hate everyone and you’re keeping yourself all to yourself?

OF COURSE NOT. That’s silly.

But next time, use that as ammo against your ego. Your ego wants to keep you safe, so it presents all these impostor-y pseudo-reasons for you to quit before you even start.

How do you shut it up?

You don’t. Thank your ego for trying to keep you safe (and name it, if that helps – one famous ego, Julia Cameron’s, is named Nigel. She imagines him as some hoity-toity disapproving English butler type who is a judgy brat). Thank it, and then tell it that it can have a seat and a cup of tea, and you’ll be over here.

Doing the thing anyway.


Go get some 🙂

The Social Media Dance

This week is for content curation.

Or, rather, this week I’ve finally proven myself thoroughly commit-able. Find a padded room and get ready to throw away the key, folks; I’m taking Nutcase and Scrum out to visit my dad for the long weekend 😀

Now Scrum and I haven’t seen the little nut since the beginning of summer when his dad moved out east, so I’m EXCITED. And they will be too! Think about the energy level of a category 5 hurricane – it’ll be about like that, but with more running and goofy faces.

Anyway, one would think that the entire weekend would be lost and I wouldn’t get anything done, but  here’s my philosophy:


So! I came up with something I could bring with me. Social media curation! Completely computer-based, and all I’ll need is a set of cohesive photos and corresponding info. Well, the info lives in my head, so that’s covered. Time to snap pictures all week!

The first step was to figure out how I’m going to get a very cohesive look on Instagram, specifically. The look is most obvious on that platform, as it’s meant for visuals, so if I have my aesthetic down on there it’ll transfer to other sites with few to no tweaks.

So, because I’ve never Instagrammed before, I asked Google how to do it! I came back with a couple of very well curated feeds, and I also looked around at some people who have big platforms and got my artsy eyeballs out – it looks like some are very intentional with a color palette and the ‘feel’ photos have (either all of them are fun/spunky, all have a similar ‘chill’ vibe, etc). And some of these big names don’t care much for aesthetic and are going for quality of content instead.

I’m interested in the more polished look, while being thoroughly goofy, because I know that my target market will appreciate it.

So! My main color will be green, obv, and I think that an equal amount of photo-full-of-green (like, border to border leafy awesomeness) and images with graceful plant shapes and a lot of negative space will work really well.  For an example of how it’ll be laid out, check out Lisa Bilyeu’s IG feed – it’s exceptionally well-balanced without the visual intensity of either Tracy Dungo’s or Casey Zhang’s feeds. Don’t get me wrong – those two are fabulous at curating a cohesive body of images! I like a little space for my eye to rest, though.

So, what exactly did I do here?

  1. Figure out my platform.
    • What do I sell? Information.
    • How do I communicate that info?  Video/photo – visuals are necessary for me!
    • What platforms are the best for visual marketing? Instagram and Pinterest.
  2. Figure out my brand’s style for these platforms.
    • What will my target market be drawn to?
    • What do I have an eye for, so I can make consistent quality content?
    • Who has gorgeous feeds that have elements that I want to emulate? Remember, they don’t have to be in your field! The three examples I gave have wildly different feeds – one posts inspirational stuff and a ton of fierce modeling shots, one posts a lot of family and travel photos, the other seems to love her beige couch. But collectively, it gives me an idea of what is possible for the platforms – that’s what you’re looking for!
  3. Decide on your layout – you don’t want some random mishmash of photos if you’re going for visual cohesion. I want to have an intentional blend of grace in negative space and full, lush plant photos. Your blend should reflect your brand. Are you quirky? Show it! Are you very serious and polished? Make it happen, visually!
  4. Start gather your info and photos, and start building your feed 🙂 I recommend using platforms like Smarter Queue or Meet Edgar for social media scheduling. Both of these ‘recycle’ your content so you can keep all of your old posts (they’ll sub in those posts if you haven’t added anything new to the top of your queue). They also give you stats on engagement, so  you can re-post things that totally kill it. The biggest boon of a scheduling tool is that you won’t have to remember to post all the time – spend a bit of time weekly putting together your posts, pop them into the ‘libraries’ you create, schedule posts to be pulled from the libraries and posted to different accounts at specified times, and BAM. Done. These have integrations for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.


Anyway! My main point is that this build-your-business-on-the-side lifestyle is hard, and planning ahead is key. There’s always something you can be doing to move yourself forward. If you can bring a notebook with you, you can get something done.

Alright, go kick some ass!


Off Season

So there’s this concept – the ‘off season.’ Let’s talk about it for a minute.

What do bodybuilders look like when competing? Something like 3% body fat, all glistening and hairless and bulgy, right?

Okay, what about when they’re not competing?

It would be completely unhealthy to try to maintain that level of lean-ness while building all that muscle. So they go to 10-12% body fat because the body typically needs a bit more fat to function well. They no longer look like the standard bodybuilder – veins don’t stick out as much, etc. They also have a bit more flexibility in their diet because they’re not trying to cut weight. Still, because their body is their tool/job, they continue to work out, bulking up muscle for their next ‘on’ season.

What about other professional athletes?

If a pro soccer player’s lifestyle completely went to shit in their off season, how would they feel when it came time to train up for the first game?

Slow. Heavy. Sluggish. Winded. Gross.

That said, if the same soccer player trained as hard as possible during the off season, what might happen?

Burnout. Injury. Stress-induced disease.

So where’s the happy medium?

Some relaxing. Regular workouts. A reasonably healthy diet, with some wiggle room. A lot of attention paid to the parts of the body that took a beating during the previous season. Rest. Healing. Maybe some video games and a cheeseburger. Maybe some meditation, too.

The one thing professional athletes don’t do is stop.


The other thing they don’t do is apologize for taking a break.


So here I am in a very clear ‘off season.’ It’s not time to do all the things that might possibly move me forward. It’s time to process and grieve and heal. It’s time to nurture myself and care for those around me who are also grieving. It’s time for my default to be ‘no’ on extraneous things, without apology.

It’s also time to keep moving forward.

If it’s time for your off season, how do you plan it? What little tasks aren’t too taxing, but will continue your momentum? What self-care do you plan? Do you still feel like apologizing for telling people no?

I’ll tell you a secret: you aren’t as important as  your ego thinks. They’ll survive without you.

So here I go – another quiet cup of coffee with my creative journal, because I want some inspiration mojo to get me feeling up to my day’s tasks. Then a run, because: endorphins. And then I’ll take a few tiny steps in building the path toward my future.

Where does your path lead?