⚡️Kristen Kalp - Breathwork, biz coaching, and simple tools to help you navigate your interiors.

Ahoy there!

I help creative entrepreneurs make more money and meaning through breathwork, books and classes, and business coaching. (Get on the January 2020 coaching waitlist!)

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Structure That Doesn’t Suck // Part 1

If you’re one of my people, you tend to operate in one of two categories. You’re either a big-huge-enormous fan of structure and use it to plan every last detail of your life, or you absolutely hate structure and run from it like you run from that person with a hacking cough who’s got the plague over there.

Let’s make peace with both of those extremes by going a little bit Harry Potter on you.

This is an episode of That’s What She Said!  Listen in below, or find all the episodes here.

Hermione Granger is a really smart, really Type-A individual who uses tools like TIME TRAVEL to take more classes. Her structure level is over the top. You cannot beat Hermione at planning, at doing homework, at reading lists, or at time-turning.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find Luna Lovegood. She’s a laidback, dreamy individual who notices patterns and creatures others miss, subscribes to beliefs others find bizarre, and whose report cards are never crucial to the plot of any J.K. Rowling story.

Both of these humans save Harry Potter’s life at some point in the series. Which is to say…

Structure and serendipity go hand in hand.

They’re both amazing characters. They both get shit done and save the lives of their friends. You’ve got both of them within you, but you’re probably so busy shit-talking the other that you haven’t yet harnessed both of their strengths.

Let’s make peace with your Luna and Hermione parts, starting right now.

If you’re more of a Luna at heart, you’ve said something like, “I’m great at starting a routine and then letting it go the first day I don’t feel like it.”

Because you’re usually not starting *a* routine. You are RENOVATING YOUR LIFE all at once.

You don’t simply stop consuming GMOs and eat a little more kale! You go on a rampage and throw out everything in your pantry that doesn’t fit your strict guidelines, replace your plastics with glass, buy a juicer, start meal planning, and commit to eating 100% organic foods for the rest of time. (I’ve done this many times, including the time I threw out the microwave to kick off a particularly healthy kick. And then purchased a new microwave a few weeks later.)

This Total Life Overhaul works for a few days. You’re doing it! Everything is changing all at once! …and then you find yourself in a cafe with amazing muffins. Sweet, sweet, not-part-of-your-new-life-plan muffins.

FUCK IT, you decide, and throw all that structure out the window in one fell swoop.

Attempts to implement structure in your life are inevitably abandoned when the 18 changes you’ve taken on simultaneously begin to unravel.

Lest you feel superior because you’re on the Hermione end of the spectrum, let’s dive into big changes in Hermione land.

You’ve got your schedule packed with activities. Meal planning happens from mid-afternoon until 5:47 p.m. on Sundays, as well as on Wednesdays at precisely 1:37 p.m., between lunch yoga and afternoon meetings.

You schedule yourself to within an inch of your life and feel stressed by most any change to your plans.

Being one minute late is a catastrophe. Client cancellations are major issues. You don’t understand why people haven’t responded to your Thanksgiving Brunch RSVP 17 weeks in advance. Christmas shopping is done by November first.

Rigidity keeps you uptight on your best days and downright mean on your worst.

…but are you more of a Luna or a Hermione?

Lunas tend to:

+ make amazing work but rarely spend energy selling it
+ have trouble communicating with their peeps consistently
+ freak out about the number of projects they find interesting (“It’s too many!”)
+ panic if they feel ‘locked in’ to a title, project, or way of being
+ spend a great deal of time daydreaming and imagining
+ find money and finances frustrating but uninteresting
+ consistently undervalue their gifts and time

Hermiones tend to:

+ find it difficult to deviate from structure
+ freak out if an assignment doesn’t have any rules
+ enjoy projects less if there’s no chance of getting a gold star
+ overschedule their days and lives
+ fear letting people down, and therefore accept lots of unwanted responsibility
+ push their own needs, particularly creative ones, to the back burner
+ crave freedom, expansion, and stillness, but have trouble finding time for it

The good news is, you’ve got both impulses built right into you!

If you identify with Luna, we’ll work toward creating structure that doesn’t suck in the coming weeks. Those who identify with Hermione will work on adding silence, stillness, and space to let your not-productive bits out to play.

Regardless of how much Luna and how much Hermione you’ve got going on right now, these questions will frame the Structure That Doesn’t Suck series:

What if we play with your schedule so that you aren’t trying to make too many changes to your life at once? And what if we can play with scheduling some — but not all — of your most important work? Further, what if we mark off free time, play time, and not-caregiving time, so that you actually have a break from all that intensity?

Which is to say: what if you commit to doing one thing at a time?

I know you can multitask with the best of them, Hermiones, and that you can daydream while doing any activity at all, Lunas. But what if you only did one thing at a time, all day long?

Both Lunas and Hermiones struggle with overwhelm because both are living in the modern world.

We have more toothpaste options than our ancestors did career choices.

My email list — MY email list — contains more people than Jesus reached in the whole of his time on earth.

To be overwhelmed is the tip of the iceberg and is understating the truth by a long shot.

We’re drowning in choices, in voices, in distractions.

That’s why doing one thing at a time is important, at both the day-to-day level and the career level. You can’t make a movie and an album and a Broadway show simultaneously unless you’re 40 years into your career like Bruce Springsteen, so please don’t try.

Can you commit to doing one task at a time for the coming week?

That won’t change your whole calendar, but it will begin to beat back the overwhelm that threatens to take you under.

P.S.  Your whole year, planned with one question.

Let’s talk Steady and Experimental income.

Before we dive into this episode of the podcast, please click here to find your enough number. That way, you’ll have precise and accurate estimates to work with as we create a strategy for the coming months in your business.

This podcast episode comes as a result of looooots of coaching clients (spots open in January, get on the dibs list!) wanting to abandon projects and services they’ve worked on for years to start something entirely new, then pushing on that new thing to start making income immediately. Like, it launched on Tuesday, and by Wednesday we need to be making $4,000 a month, every month until the end of time.

What if we could actively arrange for you to earn two types of income in your business?

And before you ask, NOPE, they’re not active and passive income. These are much bigger, broader, and more interesting categories than those served up by cis-white-male marketing gurus.

There are two types of dollars you can earn in your business at any given time: steady and experimental.

Steady, as in, a product or service is selling well, and it’s been selling well for a while.

Experimental, as in, it feels risky to make the work, and/or you’re in some kind of new territory.

If you’re completely new to business, it’s all an experiment, but this might help you reframe some of your ambition in interesting ways, so keep going!

Let’s walk through my numbers, with my steady and experimental breakdowns from years past, so you can see what I’m talking about in practical terms.

In 2013, the biz income was 31% steady and 69% experimental.

The steadiness came from ghostwriting, previously launched programs, and a few coaching calls.

The experimenting came from creating a summer camp for adults and then selling the shit out of it.

That experimental nature paid off, so the pendulum swung to experimental in 2014.

High on just how much amazing and wonderful shit had panned out by experimenting, I went even more experiment crazy. 83% of the year’s income came from launching and holding Brand Camp, writing Introverts at Work, and hosting a few coaching sleepovers.

The remaining 17% of income came from steady, previously released or available sources: coaching, books, workshops, and ghostwriting.

And then the pendulum swung the other way.

In 2015, I swung wildly toward steady income, as Brand Camp the camp was like dropping a financial devastation bomb on my business.

65% of income came from coaching, previously-released programs and books, and ghostwriting.

Experiments made up only 35% of the year’s income, in which I repackaged the (admittedly brilliant) Brand Camp classes as the Business Blitz, launched a program, offered a 1-on-1 year-long coaching package, and founded three new workshops.

Less risk, more month-to-month work. Less launching, lower costs, more 1-on-1 clients.

And on and on it goes.

In 2016, I paid off the $43k in debt I’d accrued the year before, and in 2017 I released a bunch of new and exciting stuff: a different coaching package, lots of breathwork classes, and one-off courses to help peeps communicate and break up with their phones.

I’m always playing with the balance of how much work is entirely risky and how much is completely stable.

The trick of earning income through your business without being utterly bored or utterly broke lies in balancing your steady and your experimental income sources.

Further, steady work funds experimental work.

I’ve come to learn about valuing steady work the excruciatingly difficult way: by devaluing it and then scrambling to make ends meet at the last minute.

I always want to throw out what I’ve done and start over. I want everything I do to be an experiment. And yet.

The way to build a sustainable business is to innovate on some fronts while remaining stable on others.

2020 is about taking on a few more yearlong clients while playing with breathwork programs like The Softness Sessions, podcasting regularly, and keeping an ear to the ground for what’s next.

AND YOU, FRIEND! HOW DO YOU WANT THE NEXT FEW MONTHS TO PLAY OUT?

STEADY QUESTIONS:

Which income is steady in your business?

Which products or services consistently bring you income, month after month and year after year?

Which income-generating elements of your business do you want to keep?

Exactly how many clients do you need?

How many products do you need to sell, as your steady baseline?

The more you feel your health or your personal life is wobbly, unsteady, or overwhelming, the more likely it is that your business should be focused on steady income.

Steadiness requires time, energy, and consistency. Releasing a weekly podcast, showing your work on social media, sending regular e-mails and updates, responding to client inquiries in a timely manner, talking about what you’ve got for sale, and following up with inquiries: these are consistent practices that bear fruit over time.

If your work is consistent but sharing your work is not, that tweak alone might fix the income weirdnesses that ail you.

Once more, in case you missed it because you were skimming: if your work is consistent but sharing your work is not, that tweak alone might fix the income weirdnesses that ail you.

With steady work squared away, we move on to trying new things in experimental phases.

EXPERIMENT QUESTIONS:

What are you dying to try out in small doses?

Do you want to hold an event, start a class, write a book, release a project, try out a new product line, or offer an all new service? You can choose anything, but you’ve gotta choose one. Just one.

Do you want to collaborate with someone else? Do you want to try something entirely new and completely unlike what you’ve been doing all along?

What does the experimental thing look like, and what would be a first step toward making it happen?

If you’re like, ‘I can’t possibly talk about that while I also sell THOSE,’ think again.

I sell business coaching and also host regular gatherings for breathwork, both in person and on the internet. You can say those things are entirely unrelated, or you can say that when people opt in to hearing more from Kristen at Kristenkalp.com, it all fits. It’s all welcome.

Unless I start selling buckets of canned food and potable water for the apocalypse while spouting Biblical verses about the end times, because WOW I’ve been presenting myself as the opposite of that for a decade, I’ve got free rein to experiment with whatever has captured my fascination, has helped me, or has borne fruit in my life.

You get the same freedom, too.

You can absolutely be a photographer and a painter. A writer and a maker. A health coach and a reiki master. A coach and an author. A floral designer and a teacher. (Of course these are real examples of past coaching clients, by the way…)

You deserve the right to experiment. Period.

Further. Instead of deciding you have to give up X entirely in order to start Y, you can do both.

You can design t-shirts and see how they sell while you continue to be a doula, or plan larger and larger events while you keep on podcasting and mentoring colleagues in the wedding industry.

LIFE IS AN ‘AND.’

When we treat it as a series of ‘or’s, we limit our potential and clip our own wings. Whatever it is you want to do, yes you can do that AND you can keep on being a person with that degree or those experiences. ‘Or’ people end up switching focus a bunch of times, while ‘and’ people make room for ebb and flow. Some products come in, some go out. Some services last a long time, and others are offered only once.

You don’t have to do that mental and energetic thing whereby committing to a single project suddenly means committing to doing that same thing for the rest of your life.

Clipping your own wings is fucking tragic, so let’s not do that, okay? Let’s make some stuff, sell some stuff, and then repeat the process all over again.

And let’s not make any of this a BIG HUGE DEAL HOLY SHIT WOW while we’re at it! Amping up the energetic value of a new product or service is a sneaky asshole brain move to keep us stuck in fear and overwhelm.

STEADY AND EXPERIMENTAL QUESTIONS:

How much steady work do I need to sell each month to reach my enough number?

EXACTLY what sort of experiment do I want to make in the next six months?

And how much money will that make me, in a perfect world?

In a realistic world?

In a horrible world?

What you want to make as an experiment is entirely separate from how much money you want to make.

In fact, for our purposes, it’s safe to assume your experiments will cover costs and make very little money. That way, you’re as free as possible to make an amazing thing, and then to iterate on that thing with profitability in mind.

Assuming minimal profitability instead of a sold-out spectacular keeps you from blowing $20,000 on an experiment your first time out of the gate.

If you assume you’ll be making only your minimal costs back, what shape does the experiment take on?

It will generally get smaller and more doable when you limit the budget to something entirely reasonable. This is not downsizing your dream, but testing the viability of your dream before you swipe every credit card you’ve got to rent an arena. And a 7-piece orchestra. And a team of trained dogs. And a donut wall.

How can you build sources of revenue elsewhere in order to fund that project?

How can you use stable income sources to build experiments for yourself, and vice versa?

Can your experiment be added as a bonus gift or limited edition offering for something you already sell regularly?

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER AND TIE IT IN A BOW:

For the next six months, I’ll sell #___(quantity) of ________________ each month to reach my enough number.

I’ll also offer ____________ as an experiment.

#___ (quantity) are available, and will be released on this date: ___/___/___.

Again, this is a super-chill, low-key, NBD way to do business. You’ve just banked on your steady income while opening yourself up to an experiment, too — thereby assuring that you won’t die of boredom in the coming months!

If you dig this podcast episode and it helped you out, please leave a token of gratitude.

Tipping means I don’t fall into the despair of working for free, and it means you’ve actually enjoyed the material, too! We both win!

P.S. Here are six potentially devastating side effects of bringing your business dream to life — and why you should do it anyway.

Finding Your Enough Number

Over the years, I’ve found that most business owners don’t know their enough number.  You know, your enough number: the precise amount of money it takes to cover your business and personal expenses, as well as account for taxes so you don’t suddenly owe ALL THE DOLLARS on April 15th.

In this special edition of the podcast, I’ll show you how to figure out precisely how much money you need your business to make each month, then break down exactly how much of your work you’ve got to sell to make that number happen. We’ll even account for taxes, and of course I’ll make you laugh the whole time.

Finding your enough number will help you prioritize your marketing activities, stop overwhelm in its tracks, and generally stop your asshole brain from going on and on about needing the vague and ominous “MORE” money.

Listen in below.

HEAR YE HEAR YE THIS IS AN EXPERIMENT.  This could be a paid class with a bunch of videos and bonuses and blah blah blah, but then you’d never actually do it because it would be one more thing you mean to do but never get around to completing.  (When asked to take a long-ass class about finances, 100% of humans suddenly have something much better to do.)

Please treat this like a no big deal, just-hanging-out-on-an-average-Tuesday sort of podcast, but grab a notebook and do the work.

If you’d like my help to go a step further and get yourself a rad workbook that will walk you through all of this, because diving into your financial health is intimidating AF, I’d be happy to help!

You can purchase this class in workbook form so that you actually complete the tasks instead of just listening.  Grab it for $10.

Buy Enough workbook

If $10 isn’t something you’ve got right now, we can also exchange value when you write a review, leave a rating, or send the podcast along to others.

Again, this is an experiment.  The trend right now is not just to give away simple things, but to make free courses and programs and challenges and audio and video and send 4,233 sales emails with timers and LIMITED OFFERS and tripwires and webinars and MY GOD IT’S EXHAUSTING.

This is me modeling more of what I would like to see in the world: fewer people doing things for exposure dollars.  Less content marketing, more making things that are truly useful and not simply a ploy to build an email list.  (I’m not giving this to you to build my email list because most freebies end up in your downloads folder, only to be found and deleted in roughly 2027.  And that does neither of us any good.)

P.S. This experiment is anti-capitalist in nature, as you get access to the goods first and pay second.  Translation: there’s TRUST here.

If this type of experiment is interesting to you, check out my anti-capitalist, pro-abundance-without-any-manifesting interview with Bear Hebert.