Category Archives: goals

5-Tips-for-Creating-Systems-that-Work

5 Tips on Creating Systems that Work

When it comes to all things business, my personality is a rare combination. I thrive on both process and structure within creativity. Due to some of the larger projects I have taken on over the past few years, my business has lead to consulting and helping other creative entrepreneurs build their business. Whether it’s conversations about planning, branding, or launching something to the public, many struggle to make and stick to systems. I’ve found that many systems can be quickly adapted and modified to something that works for you, your life, and your business.

Over the past year of listening to entrepreneurs, here are 5 tips on how to create systems that work.

Know thyself.

One of the biggest hangups in business is not knowing the best ways we work, process information, or derive creative energy. Here are a few great questions to ask yourself:

  • What’s the motivation behind my company? What are the core values behind it? How will this motivation propel me on days where I don’t feel like hustling?
  • When do you have the most energy? Schedule your days accordingly. If mornings are your thing, dedicate your creative, heavy thinking, project dreaming, copy writing time to this. If evenings are your jam, leave your mornings for sourcing, errands, and other things that make your business tick.
  • If structure and systems feel overwhelming and daunting, like everything within you wars against it, it’s time for a heart check. Ask yourself why? Have you believed that being creative means an on-the-go, carefree, nomadic life? Does structure feel counter to driving something creatively? Figure out a way to reconcile this tension and find a way to move forward. Without systems, you might feel like you’re drowning. Access the feelings within and make a plan to move past them.

Break things down into manageable parts.

When it comes to major project launches, overhauls, or client projects, break things down into something that is scaleable and manageable. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will any good business. Look at what you need to do. Break out a pen and paper. List it out and break it down. Know what your capacity is and what is manageable for you. For month long projects, I break down pre-production deadlines week by week. This allows for a bit more flexibility throughout my days allowing for things to have breathing room. However, I do know what I need to get accomplished throughout the week and get to it. If you’re offering services and have income goals for your year, look at your pricing structure and how much work you need to do to get there. For example, if you want to increase your sales by $20,000 for the year, divide that amount by 4. This means you need to increase your sales by $5,000 each quarter. This is a manageable $1600 per month, around $400 a week. Base your hourly rate and pricing structure accordingly.

Develop systems for pain points in your business (or life). 

Have an email list to develop that you’ve been putting off? Are you terrible at keeping a house and a healthy lifestyle? Do you have sheer panic when it comes to tax season? Develop systems for the things that slow you down and are pain points. In our house, this is really practical. We love things to be clean, but really hate spending days off doing chores. We take one morning to get everything done. Here’s how it works for us. We start with laundry. While we are doing our first load of wash, we put anything in the dryer that might need dry cleaning. As things are in the wash, we clean out the fridge, make a grocery list, and do a quick clean of the house. We switch laundry, put in our second load, and head to the store to put up anything we might need for the week. In around 3 hours, we complete everything we need to do (including 3 loads of laundry and a load of dry cleaning) for the week and it’s ready to have anyone over. We do the same thing for our bookkeeping. When our credit card bill comes in, we transpose expenses to excel. We try to do it once a month, but if we get a bit behind, we do it once a quarter. Taking things in smaller pieces, relieves pressure, and keeps overwhelm at bay.

Stick to your systems.

There are weeks where we don’t want to stick to our systems. We see friends who work a part-time schedule and it’s easy to be envious, want to bail, hit the lake, and embrace the carefree side of life. Dreams and going after a career are far from easy. It takes crazy amounts of time to get where you want to be, but in the long run we’re thankful and so grateful for what can happen when we choose to follow our systems.

Remember the purpose of systems. They provide freedom to run after greatness. 

As an entrepreneur you got started for a reason. You had an idea, a plan, and something that excited. You probably got into business for yourself for a good reason. You love the idea of working from your yoga pants in bed, the flexibility in hours, or the idea of building your own vision. The purpose of systems is to serve the greater good of your business. It allows for freedom, growth, and abundance to occur. Systems allow you to tweak things, make improvements, and with a bit of discipline provide creative freedom unlike ever before.

How are you doing at developing system? Is this a pain point in your business? What tasks do you need a system and a workflow for?

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.

workctabutton

5 Ways to Reach Your Financial Goals

5 Ways to Reach Your Financial Goals

I’ve always been a goal oriented person. Over the years, goals have changed and evolved from health to fashion to business goals. As 2017 rolled around, it came great changes. The business and blog evolved. Partnerships closed and collaborations, new clients, and opportunities opened up. As an entrepreneur, I’m incredibly aware of my ability to increase or decrease my income. I determine my income ceiling. I’m 6 months from turning 30 and can’t tell you how amazing my finances have been in my 29th year. I set a goal to increase my sales and services by $20,000 this year. (It comes out to increasing service revenue by $5,000 a quarter which has proven to be very manageable.) Yes, that’s a significant increase and it’s strategic. I have a few pending major purchases and knew I wanted to make and save some serious money this year. As I have these purchasing long-term goals in mind, it’s been easy to save. Maybe for you, you’re hoping to pay down debt, build an emergency fund, or make a major purchase.

Here are 5 tips we’ve learned along the way to help reach our financial goals.

1. Be conscientious about your spending.

When it comes to credit and debit cards, it’s easy to lose track of your balance. Not ready to ditch the perks of credit cards and shift to the cash envelope system? Keep track of your expenses through the calculator app on your phone. Get into the habit, by making sure you enter the amount into the calculator right after checkout and prior to leaving the store. It takes around 10 seconds and you’ll create a great habit.

2. Live off one paycheck a month. 

For most of us, we get paid on a bi-weekly basis. As our income grows, we often allow our expenses to increase with our income. By keeping living expenses to one paycheck a month, it allows you to save the other check. With saving half of your monthly income, you can reach financial goals quickly and get past living paycheck to paycheck.

3. Cut the excess expenses in your budget.

It’s easy to spend hundreds of dollars on clothing, coffees, eating out, and entertainment throughout the month. Set a budget and choose to meal prep and make your cold brew at home. (We have an awesome recipe for cold brew right here. And teach you how to buy organic for $50 a week.)

4. Pursue multiple streams of income.

As an entrepreneur or career minded person, it’s always wise to diversify finances and pursue multiple streams of income at the same time. Whether a student, working multiple side jobs, or being self-employed, figure out ways to develop passive income or increase the money coming in through additional jobs. This is a great way to increase money coming in allowing you to reach your financial goals faster. Keep a spreadsheet of your income. This will track multiple streams, allowing for estimates in income growth for each quarter, allowing for ebb and flow throughout the year, knowing where hustle and rest need to find their natural rhythm.

5. Keep your goals in front of you.

Whether it’s a major purchase, paying down debt, or filling in a paper thermometer to track your income increase, set your long-term goals in front of you. It will keep you moving forward as you visualize the best option for your finances. We keep a mood board with all things financial goals in our Evernote app. It’s on our phone all the time and great for referencing when we need additional inspiration.

Looking for more resources on finances?

We love this blog. The Financial Diet is great and our go-to resource when it comes to being a creative entrepreneur and becoming financially savvy.

Dave Ramsey is a master and with good reason. If you’re looking for an intensive and needing to pay down debt quickly, we can’t recommend him enough.

This is a blog post on our past relationship with finances and one worth rereading. Getting Real: From Broke to $10K

Interested in a fun challenge? We spent one week living off of $0. Find the full series of posts, as we completed the No Money Challenge. Intro | 2 | 3 | 4

What are your current financial goals? Any tips that have worked for you?

We’d love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.

blog business plan

How to Write a Blog Business Plan

When it comes to managing and running your own business, there are countless lessons I have learned. When I graduated running my own business was the last thing on my mind. I saw design as an additional skill set I was good at, but I was far more concerned about finding a job as a pastor than I was about numbers, sales, and setting my own hours. Two years later life had taken a few surprises and here I was, a 1099 designer for a company. How would I grow my business? What did taxes look like? Where would I even begin? Simple day in and day out tasks have learning curves. In a perfect world, I would love to focus solely on content creation, art direction, and clients. In reality my days are filled with emails, pitches, media kits, contracts, invoices, and bookkeeping. How do you keep moving forward? I love dreams and putting action steps to them. Meet the blog business plan.

Every year I sit down and write a business plan for the blog. This includes collaborations, ways to have passive income, and engagement goals. By writing things down I have a solid idea of what I’m going to do and direction each and every year.

Are you looking to start a blog? Wonder what it takes to find your readers and turn a blog into a business?

Keep reading for the full how-to after the jump!

Begin by asking yourself:

What systems are working?

What are natural growth points for my business? What are the natural pain points?

Once you’ve figured out the answers to these questions, it’s time to dive deeper.

What are you goals for increasing sales and engagement?
Every creative offers either a product or a service. How do you want to focus on goals for each quarter?Break your long-term production projects down into deadlines that can be accomplished in month or three month increments. Keep these milestones in front of you. For me, it’s important to look a spots to fill, collaborations to build out, and financial sales goals to hit, so I have a bulletin board that helps me build these out. I know where money is coming in and where it is going out.

You know your business better than anyone else.
Discover where you thrive in the creative process. Are you someone that is methodical and fluid in your client onboarding? Do you gather inspiration, placing long hours in the strategy at the front end of a project, building creative energy? Do you prefer long-term projects or smaller projects with tighter deadlines? What is it that you love to create? How do you free yourself up to focus on what you love this year?

What do you love to create?
I find that I love art direction and content creation. The administrative work behind it can zap all of my creative energy pretty quickly. I find that while season things on Pinterest are great and can be click bait in the blogging world, I don’t love doing craft projects and things that are overly fussy. My house isn’t seasonally decorated and I love food that is simple and fresh. With this in mind, it’s easy to schedule out a quarter of an editorial calendar and fill it with things that aren’t true to me or my brand for the sake of readers. Finding a blend of what I love to create and what readers love is the sweet spot in curating editorial content.

What is the purpose for the blog?
What starts as a love for blogging, once it evolves into money becomes part of your job. While it’s fun and inspiring (I absolutely love this part of my job.), every post you see on the blog serves a purpose. Whether it is the continual resume for my design studio, positioning myself as an expert with consulting, or partnering with affiliates, each post is thoughtful and intentional in the takeaways for the reader and myself. What is the purpose behind your blog? Is this message clear to readers?

Go fast by going alone. Go far by going with others.
As a creative who works from home, it’s far too easy to be somewhat isolated from the creative community. Find companies, local brands, and creatives to collaborate with. Whether it’s guest posting on other blogs, foodie collaborations, or maker interviews, champion the creatives in your town. I try to add 10 new collaborations a year. This lends itself to phenomenal cross-traffic, gaining new readers, and building a phenomenal creative community.

Time to Get Honest. Where are you really at?
Review your social media. How many followers do you have? What is your engagement rate? What content do people love and on what platforms? This is a great way to gauge what content your audience loves and direct how you plan for the next year.

What is your capacity?
As you blog grows, so will the hustle. What do you say “Yes” to and what do you say “no” to? How do you determine your capacity of time and money? At what point do you hire a VA, an accountant, a web developer, etc to help you make things happen? This year I learned the value of having an personal assistant and I can’t tell you the difference it has made. I’ve been able to free myself up for clients on retainer, putting in long hours, rather than being buried in administrative tasks. As your business grows, recognize when you will need to bring on help, even if for solely 12 hours a week.

Ready to start your blog? What questions do you have? We’re starting a series on blogging basics. Send us your questions.

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.

make resolutions come true evernote

Make Resolutions Come True by Setting Intentional Goals with Evernote

This blog is written for and is a re-post from Evernote’s blog. You can find the original post here.

Why do we make resolutions we have no intention of keeping? Why do we join gyms in January but abandon them by the middle of February? Why do we abandon our resolutions so quickly? Does it stem from a lack of willpower? Do we have terrible habits?  Probably not. The most likely reason is we have no idea how to go about turning resolutions into goals. It’s not possible to change a behavior or a habit without constant awareness or a system to help you through it.There is a difference between having great intentions for your resolutions and taking intentional steps to make them happen. Here are five tips for setting intentional goals for 2017.

Make sure to head over to the full post here!

This post was sponsored by Evernote. Thank you for continuing to support brands that support Glisten and Grace. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

turning 29

Hello 29. My Last Year in My Twenties

There’s something about turning 29. No longer in my early twenties, I’m in my late twenties, and almost my thirties. At one point in life, I thought turning thirty was shocking and far off. Now, it is just on the horizon.  With hindsight I look back on the past decade and am amazed. I’ve lived in California, Texas, and Kentucky. I’ve completed internships in St. Croix, SoCal, Denver, and Indiana. I’ve taken a team to Estonia and lived in the tension of ever-shifting roles. Pastor, designer, blogger, and student. I’ve worn multiple hats and have found significance and purpose in various responsibilities. Now that I am on this side of my twenties, I must admit they have been some of the most challenging and formative years I’ve known. I have a strong and cemented sense of self, who I am, what I love to do, and I am excited to see how it is going to evolve in the forthcoming years.

As I enter the last year of my 20s, there is beauty, grace, and an ease that comes as I embark on the next decade. Here are a few lessons, I’ve learned in life thus far.

Love will not betray you. It is always worth the risk and is never wasted.
Creativity is meant to be explored and discovered. It’s wild and free.
Life isn’t meant to be solely captured, but experienced.
You are accepted, loved, and belong.
There are moments of life for the Internet. There are other moments that are meant for connection.
Mystery is just as wild and beautiful as pat answers.
Contentment comes through seasons of life and connection, not things.
Travel widens perspective. Ways of life, food, and culture. Find the cobblestone streets and century old buildings.
Adventure is necessary to the soul. We were made for it.
Be okay with the fullness of emotion. Validate, but don’t chose to let it control you.
Don’t harbor resentment or unforgiveness. Let it go and you will go far.
Get a vision for community. Once you find it, cherish it, and nurture it. Love until it hurts and then chose to love again.
Regardless of what life throws at you, keep creating, daring, and pioneering.
Transformation and restoration is stunningly beautiful.
 Let it captivate your heart and imagination.
Respect influence and inspiration. Be willing to move what has been done before and blaze a fresh trail.
Speak from your heart, not your resume.
Choose to connect with others and to listen attentively. It will make you a great confidant, friend, and creative.
Host other’s hearts well.

Goals for my 29th year?
– This year, my business has grown and includes a new employee. It’s time to entire a new phase and increase capacity.
– Travel or find an adventure once a month. 12 adventures, some close, some far. First stop? Portland.
– Most of my life- I’ve found ways to bridge divides, living in tension, and the beauty of paradox. This year, it’s time for a singular focus and running after what I truly desire.
– Bringing back self-care. I love people, prayer, and working out. It’s time to bring back Pilates and take better care of my body.
– Find forever friends. The decade of my 20s have brought change throughout community, seasons, and locations. I’m ready to find the ones who will journey with me throughout the years.

While not huge or lengthy goals, they’re simple and attainable. I’m excited for the last year of my 20s and what the year holds. Thank you for being with me along the journey and all the good things 2017 brings.