get your biz off the ground Archives - Page 2 of 21 - ⚡️Kristen Kalp

Posts in "get your biz off the ground" Category — Page 2

Stop the overwhelm. ‘Busy’ and ‘Focused’ aren’t the same.

Sometimes you feel completely overwhelmed and don’t know where to start your work, so you sink under a mountain of emails and quietly, calmly wave a white flag at your own life. Here’s a really freaking helpful question to move you out of overwhelm and into action:

What will your future self thank you for?

The answer to this question doesn’t have to be a big deal or a major life decision. In fact, your future self will probably be more grateful that you did 10 minutes of meditation today than that you committed to go on a silent one-week retreat six months from now.

Here a few always-on answers to keep on tap from your future, ever-so-thankful self!

Keep marketing. Continuing to market far past the point where you’re comfortable is hard, hard work — but it’s worth it. Stay on it. Whether it’s making a marketing calendar, starting an e-mail list, actually communicating with the people on that e-mail list, letting out your weird, holding a sale, or simply being consistent with showing your work on social media, marketing is one of those things that future self never regrets.

Embrace nutrition. The long journey to the body inevitably means paying closer attention to what makes you feel good (chia seeds and coconut oil, woot!) and what makes you feel crappy (sugar makes me weep exactly 3 hours after consuming it. My scientific research involves making sure of this at least once a week, just to be certain nothing has changed). Your future self will also thank you for having sex, which releases a gorgeous cocktail of hormones that brighten your mood and make you a whole lot more fun to be around.

Create and hold boundaries. These ordinary, everyday decisions create a structure that prevents overwhelm, makes room for your truest work, and keeps your phone from taking over your life. Boundaries also keep clients who insist on texting you and Facebook messaging you and e-mailing you at 3am from expecting an immediate response. More about reclaiming your time and energy through boundary-making here.

Change your sheets. Especially when you leave for vacation, and then you get to come back to that deep blissful ‘sleep in my own bed’ delight.

Embrace stillness. When you get in touch with your interior continent — the parts of you that no one else can know unless you explore and express them — you’re more closely connected to your intuition and more likely to make decisions that your future self will enjoy. Stressed-out, hasn’t-had-a-minute-to-breathe-in-a-week-you isn’t likely to make the decisions that end in deep fulfillment and unbridled joy.

Move. Not run-seven-miles-to-punish-yourself-for-eating-a-cupcake-that-one-time move. Just move like, be in your body and see how it feels. Maybe that’s yoga, maybe that’s running, maybe that’s Qoya, maybe that’s taking a long walk around the neighborhood. Maybe it’s going to a class at the gym, and maybe it’s swimming in the ocean. How can you connect with your body without punishment and without making yourself wrong for being human? Can you view your body and its current state with something like tenderness?

Show your work. Maybe you think your work isn’t ready to be seen (hint: no one does), or asshole brain says you need a new website before you can show anyone anything you’ve done, or you’re planning an epic 52-day blog series to showcase every single thing you made during every single week of last year.

Start now.  Right now.

By the time you would have started, you’ll be halfway through your next project, and future self can high five you from six months on via time machine.

Stop the ‘busy’ overwhelm.  Make ‘busy’ a bad word, right up there on the forbidden list with racial slurs and hate words. ‘Busy’ is the box you can put your whole life into when you don’t want anyone to question what’s inside. It hides all the pieces you’d rather not sort through, like time’s junk drawer, and it means you remain unseen by others and by yourself under cover of endless scheduling and obligation.

‘Busy’ makes you tired, makes you sick — quite literally, as it means you’re running your body into the ground — makes you resentful, and weighs you down with obligations.

‘Busy’ and ‘focused’ are not the same.

Someone who’s ‘busy’ for 10 hours a day at work won’t necessarily accomplish as much as someone who’s ‘focused’ for 4 hours a day at work. It’s the difference between having browsers open and scrolling through Facebook and turning off the internet entirely, or going to the grocery store with a time limit and a shopping list instead of wandering the aisles in search of sustenance.

You don’t have to describe yourself as ‘busy’ ever again, even when your days are full and your life is brimming with activity. You don’t have to throw yourself onto the heap of drudgery that is your overbooked schedule and pretend to care.

When in doubt, do less. You can turn off your phone notifications. You can power your life, your phone, or your laptop down for at least an hour a day. You can create space to hear yourself think and feel. It’s not easy, and it’s certainly not what most people seem to be doing, but it does mean that you regain intimacy with yourself and your own thoughts — your interior continent and what lies within.

Steer Your Ship at sunset
Stop the overwhelm is the first of the four tenets of Steer Your Ship, my 6-month-long program that starts with a retreat in Santa Monica, California, and ends in Asbury Park, New Jersey. We span the coasts during our time together and also work 1-on-1 to get you from wherever you are — I’m guessing it’s some form of stuck, overwhelmed, spinning, and vaguely hopeless — to wherever you’d like to go. (Focused, effective, and connected with yourself are places I assume you’d like to end up.)

Read all about Steer Your Ship here, or drop a line to if you’ve got any questions whatsoever.

4 of the 6 spots are already taken, so please don’t do that ‘I’ll save this for later’ thing. 😉

P.S. The ‘next level’ for your business doesn’t exist.

How to have a perfect launch.

1.) Give up on having a perfect launch.

Things are going to go wrong, and all you can do is roll with the punches as gracefully as possible. I say this not with dismay or sarcasm, but with the acknowledgment that life is imperfect.

Preparing for imperfection means your day won’t be ‘ruined’ by a glitch or two.

Last week’s launch of Calling to the Deep  (sample chapter here), Introverts at Work (sample chapter here), this new website, the free-for-you Fuck Yah magazine, and the Brave workshop went off without a functioning Paypal account to take the monies. My selling Art for Aleppo raised a red flag that required further investigation by Paypal for months(!!!!).  The launch also happened without a new e-mail address, since getting a fancy one proved to be a multi-week saga that still hasn’t ended and that involves working closely with Google’s tech support in a never-ending game of phone tag because they call from Malaysia every night after I’ve gone to bed. Oh, and one book wasn’t ready to go until the actual day of launch, and I was pretty sure I couldn’t make it happen at all.

Are those circumstances ideal? Nope. But I could still take credit cards. I still had the old e-mail address. Cutting it close still counts as ‘done.’ I launched.

2.) Aim for way, way more than you think you can handle.

Part of the goal of a launch is to push yourself and your own work further than you thought possible. (I mean, sales. It’s totally about the sales. Nothing spiritual going on in your business at all…)

Aim for a big, crazy-ass goal that will feel like winning the lottery to hit. When I decided to publish two books in print on the same day that I announced a new workshop, a tiny magazine, and my new website, I figured I could hit 4 out of 5 and feel pretty freaking great about life.

When I hit all 5 — Calling to the Deep went live at 10:35 a.m. on launch morning — I cried. Some part of me believed I could do it, many parts of me were Unreasonable, and the small, quiet bits of me that secretly believed it would never happen were put in their respective places. BOOM take that, asshole brain.

3.) Tend a list of ALL the to-do’s like it’s your freaking job. (Because it is.)

When you’re going to launch a thing — whether book, class, program, service, or product — there are physical world tasks that must happen to bring it to fruition. Your natural inclination will be to hide those tasks from yourself because they’re totally and completely overwhelming.

The opposite of hiding will be the most helpful: make a list of every last thing that has to be done, then plow through the list with all your might.

From ‘write blog post’ to ‘update Facebook page tab’ to ‘e-mail Sarah (interview with her here) and Morgan (interview with her here) to ask for feedback,’ every single task I had to complete before the big day was on the list. I scheduled every single task in advance, making enough time to take care of each one instead of letting the to-do’s pile up and drown me.

4.) (Keep giving up on the perfect launch and) shift list tasks to ‘later’ as launch approaches.

There are things that MUST be done before launch day, and things it would be nice to have done before launch day. When you can draw a distinction between the two, you shift stress off your plate at a rapid pace.

Did I have to have plane tickets to attend Brave booked before launch? No. ::moved task to post-launch::

Did I have to have the Brave venue contract signed and confirmed? Yes. ::got it done::

5.) Take time to plan the way you want your DAY to go.

It’s easy to let the LAUNCH part of the day take over, but it’s still a day. You would have cake and maybe 3 balloons at a corporate job on the day of a big project’s launch, so you owe yourself AT LEAST that much!

Do you want to sleep in? Go out for breakfast? Make pancakes at home? Take an extra 20 minutes with your coffee before you dive into the internets?

Do you want to cover the house in balloons or flowers or confetti or all three? What do you want your house to wear for the occasion? What do YOU want to wear for the occasion?

Who do you want to have on call to support you? To celebrate with you? To bring you snacks and make sure you actually hydrate and eat food instead of spending nine continuous hours staring at a screen without a pee break?

How do you want to make the day special from all the others so it isn’t lost in a long line of sleepless nights and eyes-glazed-staring-at-laptop days? How do you want to feel on the day your work comes into the world?

In other words: how do you want to remember the day everything changed, for you?

Acting like a launch is just another day at the desk does you a great disservice. This is not any other day, no big deal, whatevs it’s just this little thing you did.

A launch is a big deal and should be treated as such.

6.) Leave room for magic, too.

I decorated the whole house with giant gold ribbon and tassel garlands and flowers and cleaned every room from top to bottom (with Bear’s help) in the days before launch. I threw copious amounts of confetti — most of which is still trapped between the floor boards — when I hit the ‘IT’S ALIVE’ switches.

Bear and I went into the city to wander in the afternoon because I wanted to see what would happen if we let magic lead instead of making a reservation somewhere for dinner.

We ended up stumbling into Shane’s, which has actual drinking chocolate made by hand for you in tiny delicious quantities (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), and is more like tumbling down a secret rabbit hole into 1937 than simply consuming a fancy beverage.

From there, we wandered over to City Tavern, where we found what might be the city’s only harpist performing in authentic colonial garb. Turkey pot pie and Thomas Jefferson’s favorite sweet potato biscuits accompanied by colonial harp! It was far more spectacular than any day I could have scheduled via meticulous research and the endless reading of Yelp reviews.

7.) (Keep letting go of the perfect launch and) thank everyone.

Whether peeps are sending you typos or small errors to correct (hint: they will) or showering you with praise, thank ’em. Thank your peeps for paying attention to you, for helping you make your project happen, or for being along for the ride. I used this service to shower my peeps with gifts on launch day.

Don’t forget to shower yourself with thanks, too! You’ve shown great discipline and nearly boundless faith in your work while you brought the project to fruition.


Yah, I know it didn’t go perfectly and you could have done X better and next time you’ll kill it on the Y front, but DAMMIT YOU DID IT.

Whether your reward is time alone or away from work, a new purchase of some kind (I’m installing 20 yards of pom-pom tassels in my car), a big fancy dinner, a trip to a new locale, or a not-yet-invented extravaganza involving a laser light show and trained aardvarks — reward yourself.


No if’s, and’s, or but’s, no berating yourself for the ways it’s wrong…you did it.

With all my love —

P.S.  What no one tells you about owning a business.

Why you don’t want to be ‘failure-proof.’ Promise.

I was on Facebook for a second and saw the ad: ‘Failure-Proof Your Launch!’

Then I laughed so loud that I startled the dog from her sunny little nap beside me.

Failure isn’t something you can ‘proof’ against, like making sure your babies don’t eat those laundry packs or making sure your teens aren’t snorting cocaine in the bathroom while you’re in the next room making dinner.

You can’t ‘failure-proof’ your business, period.

Further, your biggest ‘failure’ might be the source of more goodness in your life than you could possibly imagine.

My biggest success/failure (maybe the term is ‘life lesson?’) was revealed to me in a vision that arrived complete with a sunrise ferris wheel, large-scale paint twister, and a handful of speakers I’d move the world to see throw down their wisdom on stage.

I assumed, since this vision came so clearly and with enough force to bring me to my knees weeping in the shower one morning, that the vision ALSO meant I’d gotten a pass.

The pass went something like:

This will be wildly successful, guaranteed!
My best friend can quit her job to bring this into the world together and it will work out, guaranteed!
This one event will pay the year’s bills if we just stay faithful enough to what I had seen, guaranteed!


Wrong, wrong, and so so SO wrong. (You know where this is going, right?)

We sold 20% of the available spaces.
She returned to her job within the year.
I lost more than forty grand in the final total. (Insert frowning accountant face here, yo.)


Would I change it?
Would I take all the struggle away and use my flux capacitor to go back and make that giant profit and trade in the lessons I’ve learned in the past two years?

Oh hell no.

The real risk would have been letting that magical knee-weakening vision go.
It would have been giving up halfway through, when things got tough and I wanted to refund everyone’s money.
It would have been underpaying my people, or calling in favors, or skimping out on my debts.
It would have been staying in a relationship that was suffocating me .00005% a day — oh so imperceptibly — for the next few decades instead of leaving when my heart gave the signal.

It’s only in the past few months that I’ve recovered enough sensibility and fortitude to take another big, true risk. This time, a book of poetry.

All the Selves I Used to Be, my collection of 69 poems written from 1999 to the present, and is available right here.

It’s not meant to make millions or to be a New York Times bestseller —
though of course those things would be lovely —
it’s meant to show you who I used to be,
because I’ll bet you’ve been a few of these selves, too.

It’s meant to call from your heart to mine, often in life’s most tricky moments, and whisper that you’re not alone. (Also to make you laugh just enough to keep reading.)

Here’s to taking risks, my friend.

May you know the magic of seeing the vision,
and may you find the courage to bring it to life,
consequences be damned.

P.S.  May you also…buy the book. (In digital form here.)