get your biz off the ground Archives - Page 4 of 13 - ⚡️Kristen Kalp

Posts in "get your biz off the ground" Category — Page 4

Konmari (that doesn’t suck) for business

Gotta be honest: I’ve scoffed at ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ every time I pass it on shelves or tables in the bookstore. I’ve picked it up, gone, “YAH SO YOU GET RID OF STUFF WHY IS THIS HARD,” and then put it back down.

Konmari? ::scoff:: I’ve got that shit nailed.

Only I’m afraid of my basement.

It’s where I put all the stuff that doesn’t live in my clutter-free upstairs existence. I avoid going down there so I can tell myself I’ve got my clutter handled and have no need for any new methods in the sparking joy department.

Admittedly, some of the stuff down there is still important. I’m not going to get rid of my Christmas ornaments or my suitcases in order to free up space, ’cause I’ll just end up buying them again within a few months.  Likewise, I’ll still need rock salt and weed killer and a beach bag at some point in the near future.

The useful objects aren’t the reason I fear the basement; I fear the unknown ‘other stuff’ that has piled up over the years.

Sentimental objects that no longer work. I’ve tried to get rid of my high school clarinet before, but couldn’t, even though it’s been completely ruined by the basement damp for more than five years.

The unnamed clutter. The ‘oh I’ll just go through that later’ papers that yielded cellphone bills from 2006 and birthday planning leftovers from 2011. Empty worksheets that never got to be filled with goals. Empty folders. Artsy images I’ve printed but no longer want. Extra vases from Doey’s wedding planning circa 2012.

The papers I was sure I would need. I kept my wedding planning receipts in a folder because, apparently, you can return weddings from whence they came. Can I get a refund?

I’ve shuffled the papers around down there for years, only to find that there was nothing worth keeping upon further examination. Boxes and bags of papers, gone within a few hours.

Clutter: cleared.

Konmari level: superbly amazing A++.

All that clutter clearing got me to thinking about my business basement.

I’ve recently made some sweeping internal changes to my business that I promised I wouldn’t talk about for about a year — OH DEAR GOD WHY DID I PROMISE MYSELF THAT — but I’m actively doing the same sweeping and cleaning at a business basement level.

What’s lying around down there, in the basement, that I no longer find interesting or worthwhile?

What’s the business equivalent of a 2006 T-Mobile bill that’s already been paid?

Which is to say…

What do I keep shuffling around that doesn’t mean a damn thing to me anymore?

Much like my physical downstairs, my business basement turned up a shit-ton of stuff I don’t use, don’t care about, and don’t want to keep any longer.

My business basement contains five main offenders, which I’m ranking from least to most dangerous.

I’m guessing yours is similar. (Also my business basement is mostly virtual, so it’s even more cluttered than an actual physical basement full of spider webs — I can just upload all that shit to Dropbox and forget about it, hooray!)

These basement entities can hang around the edges of our psyches and hard drives, doing damage for years to come. It’s only when we take the time to examine each one that we realize they’re not only useless, but actively triggering mayhem in subtle ways.

Business basement offender #5: paid programs.

I come from a childhood in which you saved the ‘expensive’ lotion (retail value $4.99) for company and used the stuff from the dollar store for yourself, so deleting paid programs isn’t easy and triggers anxiety. But when they’re gone, aaaaaaaah: the deep sigh of relief like after you complete an intense workout and the first drops of water from the shower hit your aching shoulders. SO GOOD.

I deleted programs I’ve completed and no longer use, or once enjoyed but have moved beyond. No need to keep it for later, even though at one point it cost $499 or $2000 or $1499 or YAH IT DOESN’T MATTER I DON’T NEED IT ANYMORE.

I also deleted the ‘someday’ programs I was going to complete ‘when I had more time’ or when I suddenly developed an interest in accounting. Someday equals never. I admitted that and my trash bin rejoiced.

Business basement offender #4: books.

I’ve physically recycled some books (it’s doing the planet a favor to take them out of circulation, promise), while donating others to the library and offering my favorites to friends and clients. I keep a rather small bookshelf in my house and once it’s full, books have to be voted off my personal island or ordered from the library to be allowed into the house.

Without this practice, you’d have seen me on an episode of Hoarders in which I’m unshowered and weeping on the corner, screaming about how I’m really going to read The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe AND Stephen King AND Shakespeare AND Jane Austen starting tomorrow, dammit, while my relatives shake their heads on the sidelines and talk about how I’ve always had a serious book problem.

Business basement offender #3: free shit.

Sure, I’ll download your mandala coloring book and your sex guide and your full moon ritual tips and your dance video! Free shit HOORAY IT’S THE BEST!

…until it isn’t. Until you realize that, unless you would pay for a free thing, you shouldn’t download it at all.

Free shit is capable of wasting more of your time and energy than the entirety of the Real Housewives franchise, combined.

It’s often designed to simply sell something, if not multiple somethings, and is the internet equivalent of business junk food. My business doesn’t need more Twinkies, more corn chips, and more energy drinks: free webinars, free reports, free guides, free infographics, free secrets, tips, or tricks.

My business needs lentils and kale, quinoa and warm, nourishing broth. That shit doesn’t come for free, I’ve found, and those few people who offer the best and most delicious business food are the ones I’m happy to pay for their work.

Business basement offender #2: gurus, leaders, and aspiring empire builders.

People who ‘still have good information’ or who ‘have inspired me over the years’ but who now feel off, bad, wrong, confusing, or annoying got the boot. It physically hurt me to unsubscribe from a few peeps I’ve grown to love over the years, but honoring the parts of me that now say “Nope!” when those people talk is an act of love for myself and my business.

If I’m one of those people for you — if you shake your head and hope I’ll go back to sensible, blond-haired, non-sweary, bullet-pointed old times — it’s okay to let go.

Unfollow, unsubscribe, and move on. There are too many amazing, wonderful, and lovely people you can play with to spend even one minute more listening to someone who irritates you, rubs you the wrong way, or feels ‘off’ in ways you can’t exactly explain.

Even if they’re so smart or seem to have it all figured out. Even if they’re making millions, clearly have aaaaaall their shit together, or promise they can help you make your first six or seven or eight figures in the next six years (or months or weeks or days).

If they don’t make your heart light up and say, “Yes yes yes yes yes,” they won’t help you in the long term. PROMISE.

Further: I quit the Facebook groups, both paid and free, that I’d joined over the years but that I no longer cared about checking. The ‘communities’ that are little more than factories of LOUD, constantly popping up with notifications and marked with 20+ new conversations, but that didn’t hold my interest long enough to pop over and see what was going on in there. It was part digital, part human clutter that was taking up energy, so I quit. Over and over and over and over, I quit.

Yes, these ‘communities’ were a paid bonus, in many cases, and they could possibly be beneficial, someday, maybe, but that isn’t worth the daily energetic drains it takes to get to the maybe-possibly-helpful day in the future. Because right now, in this moment? The ‘communities’ aren’t helping. So I gave ’em up.

This was way more difficult than giving up the programs or deleting the freebies because people were involved (in theory), but I’m friends with the ones I like, and the rest? They’re no longer in my sphere of Facebook-ian influence. (Psst! I haven’t missed the ‘communities’ in the four months after my quit-a-thon. Not. Even. Once.)

Business basement offender #1: old beliefs.

These are the equivalent of those random piles of paper you’ve accumulated over the last decade: the mental clutter you move from house to house and room to room, never opening the boxes to make sure you still need what’s inside.

At the bottom of my basement, I found a bunch of beliefs that are no longer true. They went something like this:

I want to be in charge of a team.

I have to be in charge of a team to make a decent living.

I have to offer a scalable program to keep paying my bills.

I can’t get people to come to live workshops.

I have to sell my products and services using bullet points and pain points.

I have to wait until I hit $X income before I can practice radical generosity.

I can’t keep doing what I’m doing (coaching and listening and offering practical, intuitive advice while helping peeps make sweeping yet simple business changes) until I’ve found the perfect name for it.

I have to have an editorial calendar for the next six months to be legit.

I have to have a detailed business plan for the next three to five years to get where I’m going.

DUDE. NONE OF THAT SHIT IS TRUE.

I’m on a freaking business adventure and I’m open to what comes my way.

I’ve made major (major major major but I can’t tell you yet) steps toward radical generosity in the past few weeks.

I like selling from a place of ‘hey, let’s get together and see what happens when you learn this new stuff,’ not from DOES IT HURT WHEN I TALK ABOUT THIS LET ME JUST PRESS ON THIS PAIN POINT HARDER AND HARDER UNTIL YOU GIVE ME MONEY.

I’ve created editorial calendars for each six-month stint that I’ve been in business, like a good business girl should, but I’ve never stuck to one for more than three weeks.

My business is an adventure. And I like it that way.

Until you do the hard, hard work of opening up each envelope and laughing at what’s inside — much like finding a receipt for imitation sea glass purchased from Michael’s Arts and Crafts in 2005 — these beliefs hold unspeakable power over you.

They dull your sense of what’s possible. They carry a great deal of shame with them, as well as dreams you were sure would come true, and they are incredibly difficult to release into the wilds from which they came. They used to mean something. It’s hard to admit that they no longer carry that same meaning.

The work of releasing them — of noticing what you used to believe and holding it to the light to see if it’s still true — is worth it.

They’re no longer valuable, so they’re free to go. It’s okay to trash, delete, recycle, release, or eliminate the programs, books, people, and beliefs that aren’t relevant to who you are right now.

The art of noticing who bugs the shit out of you, rubs you the wrong way, or who relentlessly e-mails you free shit that seems aimed at taking your dollars but that in no way resonates with the core of your being is also difficult, but worth it.

When you’ve finished, you can look around your business basement and say, “I need everything that’s here.”

…and make no mistake, that shit will spark joy.

I’ve learned from everything I’ve decided to keep, and I’ve recycled, deleted, donated, or gifted the rest. That’s the hard work that ushers in a new day, a new way of looking at things, and a whole new era in your business.

You don’t have to listen to the cluttered voices or conflicting advice. You don’t have to accept gifts just because they’re free or carry ‘no obligation to join’ or because ‘you can cancel at any time.’

You don’t have to do business the way everyone else appears to be doing it.

I dare you to do the hard work of finding the ways in which you’d like to connect with your peeps.

The ways in which you can sell that feel good, as well as the ways that feel absolutely horrific. (You’ll inevitably find one when searching for the other.)

I dare you to do the hard work of connecting with and helping your clients in ways that feel light, ethical, and joyful for you. I repeat: light, ethical, and joyful FOR YOU. Not for that millionaire or that guru or those billionaires or as recommended by Fortune magazine. For you.

If you’re all, YAH BUT WHERE DO I START, Go Your Own Way: free yourself from business as usual is yours free when you join the Fuck Yah club. I suggest starting there. (Also it’s free, but don’t download it just because it’s free, GEEZ HAS THIS ARTICLE TAUGHT YOU NOTHING. If it’s interesting to you to learn how to market and sell your products and services in ways that are every bit as light-hearted as they are effective, get it here.)

May you clean your business basement all the way to the smooth and shining concrete, and may you usher in a whole new way of making a living when you start anew.

P.S.  How to really freaking love yourself.  Basement and all.

29 ways to stop hiding in your business. (i.e. My tiny encyclopedia of failed attempts to hide.)

You have a business and sure, you’d like to be seen a little.

But not like…BE SEEN be seen.

You want peeps to give you money, but that doesn’t mean you want to actually be vulnerable in any capacity! Can’t people just see THE REAL YOU without your having to go through the exquisite torture of actually showing them who you actually are…!!??

I feel you. Here are the most common ways I call people out when I find ’em hiding — all of which I’ve tried to do, and failed. Instead of phrasing these as negatives, I made ’em actionable and positive and shit, but that’s only to make them seem less scary. This shit is terrifying.

+ Accept compliments.
+ Don’t lead with price.
+ Throw out those clothes you bought because they’re practical but in no way reflect who you really are, but they were on sale at Target that one time. Matching cardigan sets, I’m looking at you.
+ Admit that you believe in magic. Big Magic, even.
+ No, really. Accept compliments.
+ Give up on reaching the “next level” and do exactly what you want. At this level. 😉
+ Let your peeps know you love ’em. Out loud and in writing and as often as possible.
+ Tell everyone you’re an empath.
+ Reclaim your energy.
+ Create offers you would personally jump to purchase, even though they make no ‘sense’ to your peers.
+ Let out your weird.
+ Add your face to your bio.
+ Add your face to your not-bio, but somewhere else on your website.
+ Get paid, dammit.
+ Color your hair that crazy color.
+ Pause taking any more free, unpaid, or volunteer work until your business pays your bills.
+ Make up a ritual and use it. Then tell someone about it.
+ Share clients’ kind words and testimonials in three different spots on your website.
+ Tell a story that makes you cry.
+ Not even kidding. Compliments, friend. Let ’em in.
+ Tell the truth about when you feel like an outsider.
+ Share your creative process.
+ Ask your peeps if they wanna hang out.
+ Stop giving a fuck.
+ Be brave enough to do it all wrong.
+ Delete all the classes, freebies, or info products that are irrelevant to where you are right now.
+ Show us what a day in your life looks like.
+ Expand.
+ Put your hood down, take your hat off, and/or wear the sparkly shoes. They were never fooling anyone, anyway.

Oh, and.  Bookmark/pin/save this post for the next time you catch yourself hiding.  When you’re feeling brave, give another one or two or twelve a whirl!

30-second sales tweaks that don’t suck (and make all the difference)

When it comes to the world of selling our work, we can focus on making big-picture financial goals, the advice of endless(ly dull) business books, and implementing complicated strategies until the end of our days.

But even if you’ve got the right tools in place, the right pricing in your business, and the appropriately weird marketing jiving with your peeps, there are tiny tweaks that can make the difference between making the sale and ending up penniless in a moldy apartment, curled up with only your Ramen and Netflix for company.

Attitude tweaks, simple reframes of everyday situations, and offering fewer, fewer — always fewer — options to your peeps can go a long way toward making the sales that fluff your bank account with more than enough money for ramen, Netflix, and the rent every month.

+ First: ditch the question marks when you talk about pricing.

Question marks never inspire confidence.

“It’s three hundred dollars?” leads to endless haggling.

“It’s three hundred dollars.” makes the sale.  (And yes I know that’s grammatically far from correct but dammit, the period makes the point.)

If you can’t say your pricing with absolute certainty, practice in front of the mirror. Say your pricing aloud to your pets, your plants, your kids, and Siri. I don’t care who you practice with, but practice. You’ll notice a big decrease in haggling, negotiating, and generally trying to talk down your pricing.

+ Next. Give up on being offended by people asking for discounts.

You can freak out every time someone asks for a discount, a special, or a deal. OR you can accept that they’re just asking. They ask, you say “no” or tell ’em about your latest promo, and you move on.

They are not demanding one of your kidneys for their ailing grandparent or forcing you to offer your work at much less than its true value in the world. They’re simply asking.

The world does not have to value every single thing you put into the world. YOU DO.

You value your work by creating and then consistently maintaining your pricing despite the relative merits of the person who’s asking, how persuasive he or she happens to be, and whether or not they happen to have a really compelling sob story on tap at the moment.

+ Pare it down.

Ever been in the Target late at night, looking for a simple thing like toothpaste, and faced the wall of 97 toothpastes with absolute dread? Me, too.

Piling choices onto more choices makes even your most loyal clients stumble around your shop or your service menu like lost sheep.

Where you’re offering 8 options, can you get it down to 5?

Where there are 5 options, can you get it down to 3?

Feeling bold? You do the one thing, the one thing, and only the one thing. Slash the other stuff from your store.

When it comes to coaching with me, you can be dominatrixed or get dominatrixed or enjoy dominatrixing! Hint: those are all the same link. 😉

+ Throw out/delete/give the finger to that one product or service.

The one that doesn’t sell.

The one you can’t stand.

The one you added when it seemed like a good idea, but you stare at it like it’s a pile of dog poo every time you see it offered on your website.

Gone. Done. BOOM.

No angst, no drama, no consulting the interwebs and 3,422 of your peers in that one Facebook group before you cut it loose. It frees up energy for the stuff you really, really love.

+ Give your peeps a time limit.

Offers that never expire fail to inspire the clicking of the “buy” button — and for good reason. There’s no sense of urgency, and we can always get it later. Only ‘later’ never comes, and you still have to buy your ramen and watch your Netflix and pay your rent, yes?

Give a client who’s on the fence 24 hours, 3 days, or 1 week to act.

Whatever the time frame, it’s much more likely to work than making an open-ended offer that’s good for the next year and a half. By then, a major appliance will have broken down, her kids will have had a medical emergency that emptied the bank account, and she’ll have completely forgotten that she ever wanted your goodies in the first place.

People buy when they a.) can’t handle not having something any longer — the rarest of occasions — or b.) when they’re up against a deadline.

The sale ends tomorrow. The promo code expires in an hour. They’re going to run out of your size in that fabulous sweater. Christmas is coming. Her birthday is next week.

Deadlines motivate your peeps to buy like teasing them with products, lovingly offering them services, and giving them all the time in the world simply can’t.

For further reading: 5 reasons your latest promo fell flat.

+ Limit quantities.

We want what we can’t have. When there are 27,000 of a thing, we’re much less likely to buy it now than where there are 2.7 of the thing.

Small batches, tiny quantities, limited time offers.

Timed shop updates.

3 or 4 spots on the calendar opened up at a time.

Keeping your products small batch and artisanal like a model hipster citizen requires no further effort on your part, but it’s much more likely to get your peeps buying than when you seem to offer unlimited quantities of your wares.

+ Hold a flash sale.

One graphic and one promo code, valid for 24 hours. For no good reason.

Post everywhere. Done.

(Psst! Here’s how to hold a sale without breaking your brand.)

+ Do the thing you’ve been avoiding.

Better yet — do the thing you’ve been avoiding for more than six months.

Yah yah, you KNOW you have to talk to her about that cross promotion, or hold that event you’ve been talking about for months, or reach out and follow up with every client who’s inquired about your services in the past six months. But…it’s so much easier to curl up with a screen and ignore the world!

I know. I know it’s easier to “work” by playing on Facebook, answering e-mails, and fulfilling only those orders that come in without regard for garnering any more orders. But the thing you’ve been avoiding? Do it.  (Also this takes more than 30 seconds but sending the first e-mail or text to get the ball rolling can, arguably, be done that quickly.)

Your future self — who’s currently sipping a lovely artisan beverage at the new place in town while fulfilling a record number of orders — thanks you for putting in the effort.

+ Keep going.

So your last sale didn’t work, or no one bought, or you only sold 3 of that thing and you have 300 in your garage? Cool. No one else on the planet knows that.

There’s no need to pretend that a worldwide text bulletin letting people know that you’re a Grade A Big Time Failure has been sent to billions of people.

Pick yourself up, make one of the sales tweaks offered here, and keep going.

Find a way in. Keep on keeping on, my friend. You’re more amazing than you know.

P.S.  Go ahead and do it wrong.

On doing the work. (Read: the struggle is real.)

You are not allowed to fall at the feet of the muse and play victim.
You are called to show up.
To give it time. Commitment. Playmates.

(It isn’t great work because it’s easy.
It’s great work because
it is only yours to do.)

You will fall down
and you will let yourself down.
Without a doubt.

You will get back up
and it will be okay.
Without a doubt.

You will do your work
and it won’t be the thing everyone understands,
or the thing Grandma wishes you would do,
or the thing your partner keeps pushing at you to make a few extra bucks.

It’s the thing you deny;
the thing you run from,
the whisper you pretend doesn’t exist
so you can get through one more day.

It calls to you.

Softly. Loudly. At inopportune moments.
When you’re sleeping and when you’re fresh from dreamland.
In the shower, on the subway, in line at the store.

It will be a struggle. It will be simple and complicated all at once,
like doing cartwheels in your underwear when you should be Adulting
or skipping out on responsibility to make art that feels like running through the rain.

It will be, quite simply, worth it.

This week on That’s What She Said, we take a brief journey to find out what our work in the world has to say to us, then circle back around and I share what was revealed to me during the process.

Listen in below or subscribe so you never miss an episode.

P.S. More of my poems live here.

Let’s find a way in to your creative work.

It’s different every morning.

Sometimes it’s cleaning up the kitchen, righting everything in my path. Emptying the dishwasher and wiping the counters while waiting for my coffee to finish brewing.

Sometimes it’s listening to a podcast and hoping something sticks.

Sometimes it’s setting up my office outside, and lately it’s been heading for the local Starbucks.

Today it was praying to all that’s holy: “Carry me.”

Finding a way into your creative work can be the hardest part of working.

The monumentally stressful bits aren’t what everyone would imagine them to be: writing once you’ve started, or painting once you’ve made the time, or making up a recipe once you’ve gathered your ingredients and laid them all out before you.

The hardest part is the first step: staring at the blank page. Stepping into the studio. Giving up all the chores, tasks, and to-do’s you use to distract yourself in the name of starting to work again today.

And it’s always today.

Sometimes I feel like I’m banging at the door to the muse and I get the My Girl response: “Go away, and don’t come back for five to seven days!” But I’ve noticed some patterns that make it easier to find a way into starting the work.

Finding a way in gets easier with time.

I’ve been writing professionally for years and years now. It used to be a big deal to start, and now it’s often a matter of setting the timer for 20 minutes. I can sit and dick around for 19 minutes, sure, but if I have to publish whatever I’ve come up with, I’m not going to do that. Time limits help, as does the passage of time spent with your craft.

Consistency helps.

My pattern is to be working around 9am, and I feel the loss of it when it’s 9:15, 9:38, or 10:02 and I’m still OH SO BUSY doing something else. Starting at the same time eliminates the drama of deciding when to start.

Inconsistency helps.

When nothing else is working, I grab my supplies and get the fuck out of Dodge. I head outside if I’ve been in, inside if I’ve been spending most of my creative time outdoors. I’ve written in meadows and coffee shops, rented hotel rooms to get my work done, and written copy on my phone while getting my hair cut.

The world whispers whenever you pay attention.

You don’t need a whole room for your work.

I used to dream of a special room for writing, so I paid an interior designer for a floor plan and furniture recommendations. I oohed and aahed at her brilliance, then promptly failed to use any of those plans. Must be too fancy, I thought, so I asked my Dad to make me a standing desk instead. I set the whole magical fantasy writing room up, and failed to use it, too. Turns out I like writing at the kitchen table best of all.

A bigger space or more supplies won’t make the difference between your doing the work and not doing the work.

Only calmly, consistently finding a way in will help you make any headway.

May you calmly and consistently put your attention on what matters to you, and may you find a way into your deepest work again today.

P.S. If writing is what you’re finding a way into, here’s how I write books in 6 weeks or less. (SPOILER ALERT: I say “fuck the plan” a lot.)