It always sad losing someone you know, sadder still when you didn’t get to know someone as well as you’d have liked.
Our artisan community lost a special member yesterday. Denise was a rare talent and a master soapmaker. (She had the certificate to prove it and everything!) She loved blending fragrances to create unique scents and had an exceptional eye for color.
Denise’s history in cake decorating served her well in soap design. Her bars were masterpieces with delicious swirls, lucious frothy-looking tops, and charming little embeds set on top to make soaps that were visual delights.
Denise also rocked body care products. As makers are wont to do, when we sell unneeded supplies for whatever reason, we also have to include some sample goodies, too. We absolutely love it when other makers try our products, and we love trying other makers’ products, too. Denise was helping me master cream soap and using that base for scrubs. She’d sent me a sample of one of her cream soap-based scrubs along with a small pot of this amazing scented body butter. I was touched in a way only a maker can be and I fell in love with that body butter. It truly was Zen. (We won’t talk about what happened to the scrub when my younger daughter discovered it. The little bit I got to use was nice, at least.)
Besides being an exceptional artisan, Denise was a kind soul, too. We got to know each other in the early days of her business as I helped her with new phases and approaches she wanted to try. She had a bright light that perfectly reflected her fun, whimsical soaps and her flair for the dramatically artistic. Simply put, she was a joy to know.
I have only one regret: We never met outside of Facebook. We messaged, were Facebook friends, and were in a few groups together. There’s no great excuse. We only lived about two hours apart. Often, when I’d go to that part of the state to do things – shows, visit people, field trips with my daughters – I’d stay with my parents. I am always reticent about using Mom and Dad’s as “base” merely for the sake of going off and visiting friends who live up there. It seems selfish and ungrateful.
My take-away is this: Make time to get to know people. Friendships are valuable and need to be nourished so they grow. I thought I’d have another “later” to arrange to meet Denise, and now all the laters are gone.
I’ll confess, I have been horrible at keeping up with this blog. Between school and all the girls’ activities, there were other things demanding more focus and more time. In the time I’ve been away, we’ve seen some pretty tremendous milestones in our family, both involving my teen. In the space of two months, she has applied to and been accepted at the local community college to start her dual enrollment process, and she has taken driver’s ed and received her learner’s permit.
Once she got that precious little piece of paper in hand, she has wanted to drive everywhere. Her first day driving was very much a trial by fire as she conquered the interstate and city driving. It was while she was driving in the city that she had her first driving scare. She was trying to execute a lane change on a multi-lane road, needing to go from the right lane to the far left turning lane with traffic and while not disobeying any driving laws (i.e., not changing lanes within 100 feet of an intersection). She had given her signal, checked her mirrors, checked her blindspot and was just executing her lane change when a truck came up out of nowhere, forcing her to retreat back to her lane.
Later that night, she was still ruminating over the “What ifs” and “Ifs.” “If I’d hit that truck, it’d have been my fault.” I could tell her confidence in her newly burgeoning driving abilities had been shaken and was afraid she’d let fear keep her from driving. I told her, “It’s in the past, and you didn’t hit the truck.” Then I asked her, “What did you learn from this experience that’ll make you a better driver?”
Whether we’re operating 2000 pound motor vehicles, parenting, teaching, or making soap, we are going to screw up at some point. I have beaten myself up many times over for neglecting my blogs and my writing in general. I have sighed with frustration at the terrible lag in our Konmari Method tidying quest. (It’s bad to the point that the last bags of clothes have finally made it to my trunk to be dropped off this week!) It would be so easy for me to say, “I haven’t blogged in over three months. Why bother now? Why not just quit?”
What have I learned from this? I have reconnected with the grace I so often need to afford myself. I remember the words of lost frustration of my maker friend Jennifer who was so relieved to know that I also neglected my business last summer. “You mean I wasn’t the only one?” we exclaimed together, relieved.
I’ve learned this is something that happens in seasons. There are simply some times when I find myself completely lacking in inspiration and don’t want to bore you with mindless mutterings. I’ve learned I’m not the only maker who goes through these times. And I’ve learned it’s OK. In the media-quiet space between, I’ve been making soaps and other products. I’ve filled orders and am even getting ready to debut something totally new for a belated anniversary celebration. Stay tuned for that!
What mistakes have you made lately and what did you learn from them? Share in the comments below.
If you’ve been following me on social media and through my blog and newsletter, you know I’ve recently started doing yoga. I go to a class once a week and do some exercises on my own throughout the week. At the beginning of each class, Beth, our instructor, tells us to “set your intention for this time.” My intention is rarely the same week to week. This week, I may want to stretch out. The next week I might be focusing on building strength. Two weeks ago, mindfulness may have been my goal. Those are really three very different foci, and it’s pretty impossible to set an intention for more than one at a time. Sure, I can do the flow with mindfulness as my goal and still build strength and stretch out, but I can only concentrate on one intention at a time.
The same happens in business. My intention for my business is to serve my customers the best I can. Another day, my intention might be more growth-oriented. These don’t happen in isolation from each other or any other focus I might have for my business on any given day.
I am using the lesson from yoga to impact my business. Each day, I’m going to start out by stating an intention for that business day. Today’s intention was transitional. Transitional days see me moving from the last major task to the next one. I finished clearing out the remnants of the lip balm order I sent last week and prepared to restock some soap. This transitional day was also a day of preparation: When my new printer crosses the threshold tomorrow, I will be ready with stacks of labels to print off.
By stating an intention for my days, I am doing more than setting a goal. I am declaring what I will achieve that day. Doing this today has energized my day. I have felt super-charged to make things happen, but only if they work towards my intention. Wrapping soaps that need to be wrapped is not part of today’s intention, so they will only get done after everything else is complete. They are, however, a huge part of tomorrow’s intention.
Do you set intentions or goals for each day? I encourage you to set an intention for each day, and let me know how that changes how you’re able to do life or work in the comments below.
Want to know the secret to my success as a businesswoman?
I’ve been in business for almost sixteen years. I’ve read scores of books on business and soapmaking, watched hours of webinars, sat in seminars, and spent time with my mentors, both in soapmaking and business. Business isn’t a one-and-done proposition; it must be a continuing journey towards growth and improvement.
Being a home educator, I obviously love teaching. Being a business owner, soapmaker, and cosmetic manufacturer, I love sharing that passion with others, teaching what I’ve learned through the years. Whenever someone comes to me with a true desire to invest themselves in learning, I’m happy to take time to teach them. I’ve even thought about offering classes in beginning soapmaking and setting up a small business.
One of the things that I’ve experienced many times is requests from newbies wanting my success. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me, “Can I have your best selling soap recipe? I want to sell them at the flea market this weekend,” I’d have my dream beach house and be comfortable for life. I thought those days were behind me. Then Sunday happened.
A local lady I know messaged me on Facebook: “Can you give me a crash course on making soap?” I explained to her that there is no “crash course” to soapmaking. I further shared that I spent six months learning how to make cold processed soap, and that’s the average. I have books on techniques, formulation, oil analysis, soapmaking chemistry, and labeling. This isn’t a quick and easy knowledge set; it takes time, dedication, and work. I quickly got the feeling that the lady wasn’t interested in spending time learning the craft; she wanted my best soap formulation so she could make soaps to sell in our local area. She wanted my 10+ years of knowledge and experience fast and free! I gave her what she needed, though not what she wanted. The lady wasn’t happy with this. She wanted the shortcut.
Just as there are no shortcuts in soapmaking, there are no shortcuts in life. If you want to be successful in any endeavor, you absolutely must invest the time to do it and do it well.
Business: Those of us with successful businesses are enviable, I’m sure. We have wholesale accounts, websites, active social media accounts, and a customer following. We make it look easy, because no one sees the work we put in after hours (like right now it’s after 10:30 p.m. as I type this). My friend and I put it, “It takes a lot of time and hard work to become an ‘overnight success.'” Some people seem to have that one magical idea that nets them a small fortune seemingly overnight, but those people are few and far between. The rest of us put in a lot of work, sweat, and tears into making our dreams profitable.
Fitness: You’ve probably seen the great, awesome boiled egg diet that kept popping up all over social media a few weeks ago. Lose 24 pounds in 2 weeks with the boiled egg diet! This diet has nothing to do with eggs, though they’re great sources of low-fat protein. The diet is very close to keto and extremely low calorie. A quick estimate of calories indicates maybe 1000 calories a day and very few carbohydrates with this diet, so losing weight will be quick – and temporary. Those pounds won’t stay off once the diet is over. If you want lasting weight loss, deprivation isn’t the way to go. You’ve got to make lasting life changes, not temporary weight changes, if health is your goal.
Peace of Mind: Who doesn’t love a trip to the beach or the mountains? We breathe in the fresh air and the change of scenery helps us unwind. When we get home, though, it’s like all the stress and pressures quickly envelop us again. That’s why I developed my beach-inspired soaps, so you can bring the beach home. If you want to de-stress and stay calm, relaxing needs to be a daily goal. Yoga, meditation, or just getting off by yourself to chill for a bit will help lower the stress, which will, in turn, improve other areas of your life.
So what’s the secret to my success? Hard work. Studying. Learning from others. Making material investments in my improvement. Years of experience. And years of mistakes. Part of the joy of rebranding was starting fresh with all my years of experience as well as the lessons learned from my mistakes – lessons I happily pass along to others. And underscoring it all, I work with integrity. A business owner can have vast amounts of knowledge and experience, but if they lack in basic integrity, then their business lacks in other ways, too.
What are some of the secrets of your success? Please share them below.
It has been called “the beautiful game,” and when you watch it, it’s easy to see how this can be so. Twenty-two players on the pitch, running, blocking, passing, and kicking, their only protection a pair of shin guards. They don shorts and jerseys, cleats and socks. No matter the weather, the uniform is always the same. Watching soccer played well affords viewers with examples of a clean – though physical – game, good sportsmanship, and the sense that rivals on the field are rivals only for the ninety minutes of regulation game time. Otherwise, they bond over the beautiful game. I have often watched professional or college games and enjoyed the play of muscles under skin as they bunched and released, the contour of a thigh as a player kicks the ball, the elongation of the back and neck when heading it.
As you likely know, our family is big into soccer. My husband played as a child, coached our older daughter, and still loves teaching the sport to younger players. We often see former players he coached, and parents and players smile and call him, “Coach Peter.” I’ve been coaching younger children for quite a few seasons now, even though I didn’t play as a kid. For me, I get to teach them to love the game and play it with joy. Our daughters both have played several seasons each, and our older now referees and will help coach my teams at every opportunity.
When I coach, I have three rules for my team, and we go over these weekly: Have fun. Do your best. Be good sports (both within our team and towards other teams’ players). I was reflecting on these rules over the weekend after watching them play so beautifully in Saturday’s game, and it dawned on me that these same rules can apply to business as well.
(1) Have fun. If you’re not having fun, what’s the point? It can’t be all fun and games all the time. In soccer, I have yet to meet anyone who loves running wind sprints (though I did have a player last season who smiled through three disciplinary laps at the end of practice). There has to be work. Likewise in business, sometimes it’s a lot of fun. For me, creating the soaps and engaging with customers are what makes running my business most enjoyable. Those are the things that make it fun and that see me through hours of creating content and bookkeeping.
(2) Do your best. There’s an unofficial family motto in my family: “If you’re going to do it, might as well do it right the first time.” Yes, there are times when we make mistakes; that’s not what Grandpa – and probably his Grandpa before him – meant by “doing it right.” We don’t take shortcuts. We invest the time and attention into doing a good job from the start. For example, when building a shelving unit, it’s easy to suspend boards between other boards and screw them into place. However, you’re going to be left with a unit where the boards sag in the middle, the wood splinters around the nails, and the entire thing falls apart. Sure, it may have only taken half an hour to construct, but it won’t be long before you’re having to tear it apart and start over. Alternatively, you could take a little bit more time, adding supports and changing the construction to make it stronger. It might take four hours to build, but it will last through anything but fire.
That’s the same in running my business or any business. I want to invest the extra time and care into making something strong and long-lasting. I could go about it half-assed, but whatever business endeavor I’m tackling won’t last very long at all. It’ll be sloppy and careless, and in addition to being structurally weak, it’ll be unpleasant for people to see. When I’m perusing businesses’ social media offerings or websites and see poor spelling, grammar, and punctuation, I wonder how much care they give their products if their presentation to the world is that sloppy and shows that great a lack in care and proofreading. In this, too, I have the mindset of, “If I’m not doing my best, why bother doing it at all?”
(3) Be good sports. On my teams, good sportsmanship involves how players treat each other and how my players treat opposing players. Even in practice, I don’t allow players to criticize each other or to harp on each other’s mistakes. In play, this means not only watching elbows, pushing, and tripping (all illegal fouls), but also not saying things like, “You suck!” or “You call that a kick?” Taking this a little further, I also encourage them to at least recognize when the other team does something well. Praise such as “Good hustle!” and “Nice save.” demonstrates that they have the best attitude for success on the field and off.
In business – and life – raising others up costs us nothing. In the maker community, we often praise each other’s efforts, and we laugh together on mistakes. It’s nearly impossible not to laugh in commiseration when one’s young child strews black oxide powder all over one’s work space. And kitchen. And powder room. And living room. Then, because they’ve walked through it, they leave little black footprints up the stairs and down the hall. (Can you tell I have firsthand experience with this situation?) It takes more effort to follow a maker in order to point out their mistakes and to slam them publicly than it does to follow that same maker and give them “likes” and affirmations on their work. My business requires all the time and energy I can give it, so finding time to insult another maker is pointless to me. However, seeing their picture on IG or FB and clicking the “heart” or the “thumbs up” takes no discernible time out of my day.
My goal with the kids on the team is not only to give them skills to be tremendous soccer players, but also to give them skills for life. The rules I created and enforce will help them be better students, better workers, and better citizens.
What rules can you think of that would benefit both players in youth-league sports and in life?
You’ve heard me say before that we’re an entrepreneurial family, with my husband, our older daughter, and I all having our own businesses. Our daughter’s mowing business has all but died this year, with many people taking care of their own lawns, a customer moving, and so forth – despite her serious hustle to drive new business. That’s meant she’s had to find other ways to earn money.
My husband’s business continues to grow with requests for some light landscaping and organic fertilization treatments. The girls go out to work with him on those days and take care of those jobs so he can focus on applying the inorganic chemicals. They get to engage with the customers and get paid for the work they do.
Suddenly this summer, mermaid soaps have taken off like crazy! The older daughter is the “Mermaid Diva,” crafting gorgeous mermaid soaps, each one beautifully unique. I pay her for each one. Between making soaps and working with her dad, my daughter has made up about half of her usual summer income. She’s driven, because she is earning the money she needs to complete her soccer referee’s certification course; this will enable her to make even more money over the next year. She’s saving up for next summer’s mission trip, next year’s sports (soccer, dance, or both), and next year’s awesome Language Arts class, should she decide to take it.
Yesterday evening, my husband told me about his former employer – now independent – offering customers a discount on their first treatment if they sign up. It’s similar to what a major corporate competitor does, though on a larger scale. Thanks to what I’ve learned throughout the time of my business and the years I’ve been a part of IBN and under the mentorship of Donna Maria, I was able to help him reframe how he thinks about driving his business. The conversation went something like this:
Me: “Big box stores have gotten customers trained to think they must always get a discount. Big Company XYZ (the corporate competitor) probably averages about $50 per lawn, accounting for both postage stamp-size and high-end neighborhoods. The local office may get $10-$20 of that for their operating costs and to pay their employees. Where does the rest go? It keeps the CEO in boats and vacation homes. The techs are like worker drones. That’s it.”
Him: “No company I’ve ever worked for has ever given customers a discount for signing up.”
Me: “OK. And for good reason. Why do you think that is?”
Him: “They didn’t need to. They were selling quality.”
Me: “Exactly. How closely do you pay attention to car commercials?”
Him: “I really don’t.”
Me: “Think about Chevy, Ford, and Honda commercials. What do they focus on?”
Him: “Their features.”
Me: “No. Their affordability. Every single one sells their cars on ‘4000 off MSRP or ‘Just 249 per month.’ They’re selling on price. Now, think about Mercedes or BMW. You know the Lincoln commercials with Matthew McConaughey? What are they selling?”
Me: “Right. And how often do you ever see prices on commercials for high-end vehicles?”
Him: “You don’t.”
Me: “Because those car manufacturers are selling quality vehicles, and their customers don’t care about the price when they’re getting quality. What are you selling to your customers?”
Him: “My brand.”
Me (smiling): “Wrong. Try again.”
He looked at me with a smile, not quite sure what I was looking for. I smiled back and said, “Let me know when you’ve figured it out.”
As indie business owners, we have to be aware of our motivation and even more aware of what we’re selling. We’re not selling a product or a service; we’re selling ourselves. I’ve often privately thought that being a business owner is like legalized prostitution without the sex. We’re selling bits of ourselves to our customers, hoping fervently that they’ll come back for more. Packed in with every soap or every lawn treatment, we’re selling ourselves, our back stories, our experience, and our knowledge.
This is a special shout-out to all you parents of children who are or who have been in not-home school (public or private). Y’all, I am totally out of practice.
It’s no secret that part of our brand’s philosophy involves a healthy lifestyle, because that helps us enjoy our long, active, coastal life, and it’s something we practice at home on a daily basis. This week, Wee Princess is enjoying a marine biology camp at a local university and having a blast! Each day, she is supposed to start with a healthy breakfast and have with her a healthy lunch and a healthy snack. Since my husband rolls out the door with her between 7:15 and 7:30 each morning, I spend a little time each evening putting her breakfast together and preparing her lunch. Then, in the morning, all he has to do is grab the perishables from the fridge and put them in her lunch bag.
I made the mistake last week of leaving the girls unattended with my laptop and a Pinterest search for “Bento box lunches for kids” while I showered and dressed. When I came back down, the Wee Princess had a chart listing each day’s breakfast, lunch, and snack. And we’re talking good, balanced, nutritious options here! I was surprised, because when I ask her what she wants for lunch, the majority of the time it’s “cinnamon toast” or “quesadilla.” Most of this week, her breakfast choice is a smoothie of some sort – low added sugar, lots of fiber, tons of calcium and protein – perfect for exploring marshes and beaches!
I’ve home educated since Little Princess was in second grade (she’s not so little now, as she’s starting high school studies next week!), so having to do the daily lunch and breakfast prep is outside my realm of daily experience. I had forgotten how much extra work it is, just that little something extra to think about. It’s not like it’s actual work, but when I’m exhausted and ready for sleep and can finally get into the kitchen, it’s not something I’m dying to do. And now that so many children are at least sensitive, at worst, severely allergic to peanuts, it’s not as easy as slapping some peanut butter and homemade jam between two pieces of bread.
So, hats off to you parents who do this on a daily basis or used to when your children were little. Great job keeping it real, keeping it fresh, and keeping it healthy!
How do you do it? How do you make magic for your kids each day? Share in the comments below.
It’s a brilliant reality for both business and life: You’re not going to be all things to all people. I’m not going to be all things to all people. We can read that in two ways: One is the simple reality that it’s not possible to be all things to all people, and a second is that I refuse to try to be.
I would like to get into a local shop, one in particular. As I met with the store owner, some of her preferences emerged. One, because this friend of hers makes soap without palm oil, then that’s apparently best. (I’ll dig more into the palm oil issue in another blog post.) Using lard or tallow was out, because some of her customers are vegans. Alright… Not my thing, but I can respect folks for whom it is. In a follow-up email, she didn’t care for the exfoliant in one of the free, full-size samples I’d sent her. So here it is – three strikes against my soaps.
I addressed the palm oil issue with her and how I handle that myself. I began to think of ways to get around the palm oil while keeping it vegan (shortening works with the same properties) and even went so far as to reformulate the soap recipe in order to avoid the palm and owing to the fact that my stock is hydrogenated soybean oil-free at the moment. I graciously suggested a way to use the scrubby remnants of the soap, based on a question I fielded at Spring Fest.
Then it hit me. Where does it stop? So I reformulate this one soap, changing up the oils and leaving out the exfoliant. But then I’d have to change all my wholesale-offered soaps when I have dozens of them ready to go to appreciative customers now. For fun, I did make the reformulated soap; check out the video of my swirling work!
As I say here, I will not be all things to all people, and I declared that on Friday. My older daughter in all her teen wisdom said, “I thought it’d be a bad idea for you to do that.” And so it goes. I went down that road before, and I ended up stressed out, disheartened, and frustrated. Lesson learned! Here are my tips for avoiding the trap of trying to be all things to all people:
Declare now that you’re happy with YOU, however this manifests itself. Is it in who you are, what you have, where you live, what you make? Whatever it is, find a way to be happy with it.
Internalize that happiness to find peace with yourself. It’s one thing to declare something is true, but it’s another thing to feel it. Geraldine in The Very Fairy Princess declares, “I know I’m a fairy princess, because I feel it inside.” Maybe you’re not feeling fairy princess-y, but feel who you are deep down.
Be prepared to let opportunities go in exchange for your integrity. I’m not vegan. I don’t co-opt to the “organic” label. I use both essential oils and fragrance oils. If I co-opt my integrity to any of these trends or preferences just in order to attract customers, then I will no longer be selling me. I would be inauthentic in my business, which in itself would suck my soul dry.
Always be honest about your you-ness. Yes, I’m willing to pass up opportunities in order to hold on to my integrity, but I also refuse to sink to dishonesty in order to grow my business. We prefer to run a fully transparent business, holding secret only those things which are proprietary, like our fragrance blends. I can say with pride, “This is who I am, and these are my products. Let’s find the most perfect fit for you.”
Embrace you. I bet you are pretty wonderful, though not everyone will appreciate your unique wonderfulness. Be you, anyway.
No secret… I walk a few times a week. I’ve walked in pretty-chilly temps and I’ve walked in weather where I begin pouring sweat as soon as I step out of the house – like walking through the sauna that is North Carolina in the summer. I don’t walk because I like freezing my butt off or sweating out two pounds of liquid in under an hour. In fact, if I could get the same benefits from not-walking, I would in a heartbeat, but the truth is, I can’t, and walking really does have a whole lot of benefits – psychological, holistically physical, emotional, and even spiritual.
When I start my walks, within the first quarter mile, I mentally plan my route and start thinking of the very end – that last quarter mile when I can start slowing it down, check my pulse, log in the time and calorie burn, and get more comfortable. I think about which route I’ll follow. It’s always the same four streets, but depending on how I walk them, it can be 2.5 miles or 2.8 miles. It may seem silly to think about finishing my walk before I have barely begun, but envisioning the end helps motivate me through every step and prevents me from taking short-cuts – skipping that little bit of .2 mile or not going down that short street.
Similarly, thinking about the end of a business venture from the outset helps a business owner work towards that goal, that completion, that teleos. As we celebrate 15 years of soapy business, I reflect back on those early days, and I did not have an end-game in sight. It wasn’t until several – SEVERAL! – years down the road that I began to think about things like having a brick-and-mortar store and passing my business down to my children. That particular route requires certain steps and a certain amount of time, just like when I opt for “route A” of my walking choices. Going the B&M route means striving to build up the revenue to sustain such a venture, taking into account overhead, staffing needs, retail traffic ebbs and flows, and so forth. Passing the business down to my daughters requires teaching them every aspect of the business, not just the technical aspects, but also the passion and the why.
Last year in the midst of the rebrand, the brick-and-mortar suddenly became less important to me, and the girls have no desire to run a soapmaking business, though they love making soap. They love the creativity and the design aspects, and the chemistry of it fascinates them, but that’s as far as their enthusiasm goes. So, it’s become time to work with another end-game in mind.
To be honest, I haven’t entirely worked that out, yet. Part of the rebrand involved an increased focus on wholesale and private label, though retail is still a very strong part of my business. At this point, though, I’d more love to have a separate work shop than a full-blown B&M. I’d enjoy the space separate from the house to make, wrap, and store my products. The completion of my business now would be having a strong business to sell off in – ideally – one huge chunk to someone who’d love and nurture it as I do. Again, this route requires a certain path, a certain set of steps, a particular journey to traverse.
Without the finish in sight, I could just meander along, making this product or that product, selling whenever, pushing for sales when I felt like it and ignoring my business when I didn’t. Similarly, when I walk for my health, having a defined time frame and route ensures I do at least as much as I need to, and it also restricts me from following whims that could take me on long treks – not that that would necessarily be a bad thing, but when the family is expecting me to be gone a certain amount of time, being gone for 2-3 times that would cause them to worry.
Goals are essential, but goals without a defined end are just nebulous scratchings on a dry-erase board, the result of moments or hours of brainstorming. As you set your goals, whether fitness, business, or lifestyle, determine to look at the end. It’s likely not the end, but it is an end, often that of a chapter before the next beginning.
I didn’t want to do it. Despite knowing I must get some much-needed exercise today, it was a struggle getting out there. My legs were still feeling remnants of the abuse from earlier in the week, it’s less-than-warm outside, and I have some business-related computer-based matters that need my attention in addition to planning tomorrow evening’s soccer practice. Yeah, I put it off. Even after my older daughter “helped” me out by grabbing my sneakers and workout clothes for me (without my asking her to), I still found another ten minutes’ worth of reasons not to strike out.
But finally, I could put it off no more. Though the sun was out and the sky was a vibrant, cloudless blue, the wind stabbed through my top like knives and stung my cheeks. The muscles in my legs were still a bit tight. I was cold. All I wanted was to be inside in my warm, fleecy bumwear in front of my computer with a mug of hot chocolate getting work done. For about fifteen seconds, I gave serious consideration to turning around and going back home. But sheer determination and nothing short of stubbornness kept me going.
I did it. I did it for 47 minutes and almost 3 miles. I did it despite the bitter wind and my desire to be warm inside. I warmed up and kicked my heart rate up to my perfect target rate. Best yet, I had that time for my brain to be free of distractions, which gave it room to plan my soccer practice, formulate a new direction in my business, and mentally draft this blog post.
Business requires us to push through sometimes, too. I’m facing hours of website work this weekend, which is my absolute least favorite thing to do for my business. It has to get done, though. Other business owners may love that type of stuff but hate dealing with the public (my favorite). Regardless of what your least favorite task is or how much you may not be feeling one of your more enjoyable ones, as business owners, we have to push through and get things done.
The past month has stymied my drive and creativity, and in the evolution of my business, especially over against changing technologies, I have to push through yet again with a new angle and a new way of connecting with my customers. I love my customers, talking to them and hearing their stories, but that is one thing I really miss about not doing as many events – I just don’t get to connect with them like I used to. Sure, blog posts and emails are great, but it all too often feels like a one-sided conversation.
To that end, I am going to be launching a brand new Facebook group just for Coastal Carolina Soap Company’s customers, whether you have bought from us or you just love our brand story and want to stay connected. The link will be going out very soon, so be on the lookout for that. Maybe my blog posts come right to your inbox, or perhaps you see them on Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media outlet. You can find out about this incredible new group by subscribing to this blog or also by signing up to receive our emails (one of which handily contains links to each blog post for the month).
We hope you will join us, and we look forward to connecting with you in new and exciting ways beginning next week!