I came across a poster today that has left me in a contemplative kind of mood. Looking back over the past few years, I distinctly remember what it felt like to be an unsuccessful entrepreneur.
Actually, to be honest, it’s a little strange to have real money coming into my Paypal and bank account on a regular basis. It still feels strange when I tell people I make a living on Pinterest, and have to reassure them I’m not selling bitcoin or playing a practical joke.
It’s weird to me when people say I inspire them, because for real, I’m just a normal person. I just did whatever I could to make it work for my family.
The secret to massive life change
I am a perfectionist at heart. I used to think I was lazy, because people in my life never seemed to have trouble reminding me that when my laundry wasn’t done or my room wasn’t clean that I really needed to focus on what was important before doing what I enjoyed more.
Looking back, I now understand why it was easier for me to go out and walk around my neighborhood, camera in hand, taking pictures of things that struck me as beautiful or interesting, but why it seemed to take me foreeeeever to clean my bedroom. I always wanted things to be perfect, and I often times had no idea where to start. Or I would get started, bury myself in the mountain of things I was doing, and look up and 4 hours had gone by and all I’d managed to do was move a bunch of stuff around.
I felt like that a lot in my business too.
It took me years to figure out how to “make things work” and I finally realized a few years back, the key was to simply take action. I didn’t need to take care of all of the laundry, I just needed to switch the laundry and take care of the rest later. I didn’t need to make 57 perfect, custom affiliate Pins, I just needed to make one when I sat down in between changing diapers, wiping down high chair trays, laying kids down for nap, and making myself another cup of tea.
I learned that simply taking action, even if it isn’t perfect, even if it isn’t everything I would like to complete in an ideal world, is way better than getting to the end of the day and thinking of all the things I didn’t even start because I couldn’t do it perfectly.
I found that as I applied this to my business, I went from making no money, to within a year I was making 5x what my husband made, I was having a blast and a lot of it was passive income because I spent time making imperfect, could-have-been-better Pins. In fact, I almost didn’t post the Pin that became my first viral pin because I thought it was “too ugly.” I literally named it “the ugly lime pin” because it featured a product that had lime, so I made the header lime… which I hated. But I posted it, and that month I went from making $0.20 a day to consistently making dollars every day.
The other benefit of “just doing’
Here’s the power of “doing things” even if they aren’t perfect. Each baby step you make not only leads you further down the road of progress toward a better life, but it also lessens your emotional load.
One day, I was making a list of things I wanted to improve of change. I made a list of big, important things, and little nagging unimportant things. My husband asked what I was doing and I explained about the list. He asked me what was on it and kindly my impassioned tirade on everything from the size of my midsection to flecks of paint on the bathroom tiles on the bathroom floor. He stopped me when I got to the paint flecks.
“Really? I didn’t even notice them.” he said.
“I notice them every time I pee! And I just want to pee in peace, but there are those stupid paint flecks, taunting me ‘Christina…. why haven’t you taken care of me!?’ the whole time!” I exploded. Can you tell I was feeling just a little overwhelmed at that moment? Thankfully Ian, being used to my melodramatic self, said he could take care of them and he did.
Now, when I go into the bathroom I don’t often think about the paint splatters… because they aren’t there. Taking care of those little nagging things remove those emotional and mental pebbles in your shoe that drag you down throughout the day. Once you remove them, you can get back to the rest of your life without all those other things making you feel guilty or like you are somehow lacking for not taking action.
What this looks like in your business
In my business, I always had this nagging feeling of, “I should be…” all the freaking time. Except, I have way more should do’s than I have time to do them, so I have to be careful about what I choose to let take up mental space.
- I learned when the best times of the month for each kind of business task, and started planning my weekly tasks around that – that really dramatically increased the amount I was able to get done and the quality of my work.
- I spent two weeks planning and creating all of the social media content for an entire year, which meant I didn’t have to feel guilty or frustrated whenever I thought about social media.
- I added all of my blog posts to the Smart Loop from Tailwind, so a lot of my blog marketing for attracting new blog readers was done for me.
- I spent several months of using my most creative days adding all of my best website content to an automatic email series, which would get sent all of my email subscribers. By the end of me working on it, I had over a year’s worth of content compiled, which meant I didn’t have to worry about sending emails all the time, it was done for me. My income went up very steadily after I did this, I had better engagement on my posts, and it meant I could have the majority of my engagement with my readers was done for me.
If you’d like help getting started on a series like this (whether you’re a new blogger, or you’ve been putting off automated email marketing like I did) I have a free 6-week email newsletter template I can email to you, so you can get started, down below!
Today, set an alarm on your phone to remind you to do one thing. Mine said “Do something to create white space.” which is what I refer to as the time when there isn’t anything on my mind that I should be doing. White space is peaceful, calm and guilt-free. You can set your timer to say whatever makes sense to you… but do it!
Then go do something. Take action, and share below what you’re doing! It doesn’t have to be business related, heck, it doesn’t even have to be anything serious.
As I was writing this, I got convicted to follow my own advice and grabbed some lotion and socks for my dry feet. Like I said, it’s little things! What is your little thing you’re doing?