How I consolidated 3 weeks of work into 1 day | creative biz client management for dummies (like me)

Own a creative biz? Want an easier client management solution? 

Ok, let’s start here.

I bypassed Honeybook more than a few times. Somehow convinced myself that it wasn’t for me. That for some reason, my creative biz didn’t fit in the Honeybook box because it wasn’t wedding based.

This, my friends, made me a fool. A F O O L !

Here’s how my normal workflow would go:

  1. A potential client would email me through my website. I would have to check more than one email address daily, making sure nothing was missed. And even then, I missed them due to spam. Stupid spam folder.

  2. I’d write back, ask about what they are interested in, and how can next connect.

  3. We’d then schedule a time to chat, which would take a few emails back and forth.

  4. Then we’d decide to work together, and then the real work on my end started.

  5. First, send a proposal. Open Word, find a past client’s proposal that was most similar and customize for this client. 

  6. Find which email address I communicated with this client from. Send proposal via email. 

  7. Wait for response.

  8. “Looks great” response would come through, then I do this all over again with a project agreement. Open Word. Customize an old contract, send it off.

  9. “Snap a photo of the last page signed and send back to me!”

  10. Ugh. Seriously. Face palm.

  11. Draft invoice for deposit in Quickbooks. Download. Save. Send. Wait for check to be delivered via snail mail. 

  12. And then, finally, we’d start the project.

I’m tired already and we haven’t even started.

But here’s the thing. As a small business owner, I don’t have the funds or the brain space to use another, and yet another, app for these things. Just e-sign contract agreement apps can cost a minimum of $15 a month and that’s just for e-signatures. I still have to draft the contract myself.

Then we get into payment processing, digital proposals and email management galore. 

I thought this worked.

And honestly, it did work. But little did I know that there is such a better, and so much easier way.

On my IG story today, I’m going through a simple Honeybook overview and how I was able to get each and every one of these steps, the initial client onboard particularly, into one simple place.

My first project through Honeybook, the client on boarding took 1 day. Deposit paid and everything. Versus the weeks it used to take me. In fact, I’ve been able to onboard almost double my normal client load in the same amount of time, simply because of this simple process.

The important pieces are this – I was able to send the proposal, contract, and deposit request IN ONE EMAIL. No more back and forth. 

I got paid the day after I talked to the client, and their project got started the day after that. We just took 3 weeks (or more) off the books that would have been complete wasted time.

Basically, what I’m trying to tell you is that there is no other software or platform out there that does this for creatives. And frankly, I’m not even taking advantage of everything I COULD be doing.

Book keeping, calendar syncing, analytics and reports, client inquiry forms, time tracker, referrals, and file library.

Features I’m currently loving:

TEMPLATES

I am able to upload contract and proposal templates (Honeybook even took the ones I had and input them for me!), so all I need to do is click SEND and it customizes itself to my new client and project.

Speaking of project, I can upload, make and/or customize project templates using a list of services I already offer. So. Simple. It makes me feel stupid for not doing this before.

Emails - I can customize email templates for each stage of the client management process. No “generic” emails ever sent again, and I feel so confident that I won’t forget something, because it’s already done for me!

REMINDERS

I am an accountability rookie. I do not like accountability (for myself or others… freedom lovers unite). But Honeybook reminds me all the time when something is due, or someone needs something, or I said I would do something. No more missed deadlines or slacking on response times.

PAYMENT

You guys, it is the easiest thing in the world. I don’t even need to create an invoice. Just a *templated* payment schedule for projects, and viola. Payment made and money in my bank account. Simple as pie. Actually, easier, and much faster, than pie. Pie is hard.

50% OFF

Because I love this software so much, and feel like such a fool for not utilizing this sooner (like, wayyyyyyy sooner), I want to offer you other creative biz bosses (or even if you’re not creative, but like, a bookkeeper, this could still totally work fo you… seriously), access to Honeybook for a major discount. 

First of all, get a trial period for absolutely free. And if you don’t like it, ditch it. But you’ll love it. So I’m so excited to be able to partner with Honeybook to give you 50% off your year of Honeybook. 

I know that you will love it as much as me, and I wouldn’t tell you to go for it if I thought this was a waste of your valuable time. Because let me tell you – just in time saved using this little but very mighty app, I’ve TRIPLED what would be the cost of Honeybook is clients booked and deposits paid in ONE MONTH. 

That’s a lot of money that I would not have made otherwise, or it would have taken me A LOT LONGER to make it.

Anyway, I really would love to offer you this as a gift from one overworked and overwhelmed biz boss to another. 

Home Office Magic

Moving into a home office was an emotional choice more than anything, and one that took me almost 9 months to make.

You see, I’ve had an out of home studio my entire career. I never, and I really mean never, worked from home. Not even on weekends.

I always have had a really strong work/life boundary. I had to – I am terrible at compartmentalizing and when I do, it’s because if I don’t, it’s a disaster.

This really stems from the fact that my work and life has always overlapped for my entire childhood. My family – in construction for the first 10 years of my life and then full time cattle ranchers ever since – has always overlapped work and life. Work was life, and visa versa. And it worked! We built custom homes on land my parents owned and lived, so it just worked. We raised cows at home, and there were no “I’m off now so we aren’t going to go get that cow that got out on the side of the road” moments. It was more like, “Nicole, wake up. We need to go get the cow” and hope that we got to sleep at some point the rest of the night.

My life is full of work and home overlap – Adam works part time as a fishing guide after his day job, and that means he is gone on weekends, most evenings, and if he’s home, he’s out in the boat or shop working for the next trip.

This has always been my life, and I’ve loved it. Every second. But there was a time, when my family was grieving and recovering from tragedy and the line had to be set between work and life. Work waited, for the first time in my entire existence, and not just for me. Everyone I loved put work on hold, and came to live. It was temporary, and it was magical, and it was the hardest season of our lives.

This season, which we reflect on as “January 4th”, is the season when I found that I cannot compartmentalize. And that meant, I can’t really enjoy either piece of my life to its full potential, because my attention was never undivided. 

Don’t even get me started on how motherhood affects this – we’ve all had this conversation and Lord knows we’ve hashed it out quite a bit.

My point is – working from a studio helped me, made me, have that line. The no work at home, no home at work, line. And I thrived in that space.

My relationships were either work or friends, and when they overlapped, it normally ended in some sort of disappointment and I hated that. 

My work was work, my life was life, and I adored that balance.

Until, yes you guessed it, motherhood.

After having Joey, this balance worked for quite a while. He went to daycare at 8 months old, and for the next year, it was almost bliss. I dropped him off 2 and half days a week, and I worked SOLID during that time. When he was with me, I was with him and him only. 

But then, something in me shifted. Majorly shifted. I was yearning for him, and for Adam. My work suddenly contained a lot of life – aka, the blog, my IG, the JoJo, Mompreneur Course and ALL THE THINGS. 

The balance suddenly was off balance. And I was rocking, big time. The girls in the office were all in different life and business places than me. I was out of time, most of it spent in the car to and from home and work and daycare and gym. I was hungry and rarely had a moment to shower. I was living in work out clothes, and Joey was crying when I dropped him off.

And one day, with no alternative plan, I picked him up from daycare and told them we weren’t coming back. 

Four months and a whole lot of Joey and Nicole time talking about soul searching and big plans and dreams, I moved out of the studio I used to call my other home.

I did it alone, and I cried the entire time. I packed up my Jeep with what had been my entire career, and it all fit into one load. I moved from a 1,000 square foot studio space with dear, dear friends, and moved home to my family and into a corner of the living room with extremely slow internet.

Friend, I have never been happier. 

Instead of feeling like I’m missing out on my family, I almost feel like I want to get away. And I know, I know, that sounds terrible, but it’s blissful. Wanting to get away is so much better than wanting back in, knowing you can’t. I have finally made my home my true home. My work is my life again, and it’s a welcome addition.

But since that corner of the living room was definitely not enough for this big dreaming, career driven mompreneur, Adam graciously gave up his hunting room and helped me put together a tiny little studio, all to myself.

It’s a mere 200 square feet, and all mine.

And just as an update, I left every piece of furniture I had for the studio, at the studio. I’ll grab it whenever the girls decide to leave, but for now, it’s better loved there than in a storage unit down the street.

I did the entire home studio for under $300, and it’s just magical. Take a little tour and I hope you love its cozy, modern vibe as much as I do every single day.

And because I know you guys will want to know some of these things…

Calling All Product Shop Forces

 
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Do you guys know my friend Rachel?

I feel strongly that you must. I pretty much talk about her every day and she’s also pretty much the best.

Well, here’s the thing:

Rachel and I are biz besties, but she’s also a life bestie. And she’s really really good at what she does.

For the last 15 weeks, Rachel has been hosting a “test” mastermind group, per say. However, we all know that anything “test” from Rachel means that it’s full blown amazeballs and she has put everything she has into its creation.

So this mastermind, specifically for product shop owners, has been something I’ve watched from a little bit of a distance. You see, because Rachel and I are besties, and now she’s besties with these ladies in her mastermind, I’m not besties with these ladies in her mastermind.

Seriously. The internet is so amazing. I’ve been able to curate these incredible relationships because she has shared me with them and them with me, and now I have this little group of fab biz ladies that I don’t really know what I did before I knew them.

Part of me feels a little FOMO because I don’t have a product shop, hence I don’t qualify for this particular mastermind group. Not to say that Rachel probably wouldn’t let me in it anyway… but that’s neither here nor there.

The point is, is that I know a ton of you ARE product shop owners, and are at so many different stages of your business. Many are thinking about starting but don’t know where to start. Some are seasoned and want to take it up a notch. Some are right at the beginning and thinking about growth and a steady paycheck. Whatever the place or season, I swear, Rachel has been there and is eager to share the wealth.

Rachel is one of the most selfless women I know, making this mastermind group a solid endeavor and investment for anyone in the industry.

Anyway, I get asked all the time about what kind of business tips and tricks I can offer someone who is wanting to further their business online. And this my friends, is my recommendation.

There is one catch, though. As of right now, Rachel only has ONE SPOT left. Ya. Because she is that awesome.

So if you want to apply, head to the link below, and get your application in ASAP. 

Anyway, ciao for now and may the product shop forces of nature be forever in your favor.

It's Fine. Totally Fine.

 
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I’m calling you out, girl.

You haven’t watched Mompreneur Masterclass. 

I hear you. That’s ok. It’s fine. 

Really, it’s fine.

First of all, if you’re a woman, you know that when another woman says “It’s fine,” she’s lying. And also, it’s not fine. 

The only valid reason for not watching Masterclass is if you are completely and totally content with the way your life as a mompreneur is going, and have no complaints, don’t need improvement in any area of your life and think that every single day is a freaking ray of golden sunshine.

I told you, I’m calling you out.

I KNOW that this isn’t true. Girl, it ain’t true for ANYBODY. Including me, you, my mom and your mom and even those perfect looking moms on Instagram.

Listen, we all need help. We all need someone to tell us that we aren’t alone, and that we aren’t perfect, and that we don’t need to be.

The only true way to become better humans is by WORKING to become better humans. Self improvement, happiness, contentment and education don’t come to us because we sit and let the world pass us by. No, these things come to those who put their own self-care ahead of other things. Ahead of client work, ahead of Bachelorette, ahead of story time.

I know. I just touched a nerve, right?

That’s ok. Do I have your attention now?

When was the last time you put yourself first? The last time you said, I’m going to spend my day working on improving MY OWN LIFE, and not someone else’s?

The ONLY way to be there for our families, for our clients, for our teams, for our God, is to be the best version of ourselves ALL THE TIME. Or at least, as often as we can.

Don’t get me wrong. After two glasses of wine, I’m not the best version of myself. I’m not my best version when I forget to take my anxiety medicine, or when I don’t go to the gym, or when I choose to watch Friends all day instead of the other things I should be doing.

I am not the best version of myself when I tell my husband, “not tonight, babe.” I’m not the best version of myself when I put my toddler down for a nap he may not need because I need some alone time. 

But working daily to be BETTER than we were yesterday is the only way I know how to be my best version. 

Are you sitting here now going, “Well, shit. I’m not working to be a better version of myself at all right now.” Are you still in your sweats and had your husband drop off the kids at school and having your third cup of coffee and thinking about stopping reading this and scrolling Facebook instead?

Told you. Calling you out hardcore this morning.

What if you took the next hour, or your lunch hour, or your hour before bed or the hour that you feel like your husband spends on the toilet (ya…), and watched something that would help you to become a better version of yourself TODAY?

Would you watch it?

I think you should. And not because it’s my Masterclass. But because I want you – beautiful amazing capable Godly momma – to be happier WITH YOURSELF. To feel accomplished, to feel valued and valuable. To not go to bed tonight, dreading the fact that you have to do this all again tomorrow, and already tired. 

I want you to live in joy EVERY SINGLE MOMENT. To eliminate guilt, overwhelm and time loss. I want you to feel better about yourself, TODAY. 

So, you haven’t watched Mompreneur Masterclass.

That’s ok. It’s fine.

Hustle Season - OUT

 
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Hustle season – OUT.

Thank goodness. It was long. And hard. And so wonderful. But I’ve been tired…

As Adam and I were driving home the other night from dinner, the moment I realized my hustle season had officially ended, he asked me if I could list off all the things that we did during Hustle.

And as I did, I realized that I really needed to write them down, solely so I could look back on this one day and know, “Yes you can, Nicole. Yes you can.”

I kept talking, like normal, to Adam, and when he pulled into the driveway, he looked at me and literally dropped his jaw.

“That’s so much. Even I had no idea you did that much.”

No wonder I’ve been so freakin’ tired.

But as I transition into this season of Rest, I’m feeling so excited and relieved and rested already.

Earlier, during Hustle, I reached a tipping point and almost had a burn out, but made it through. I was so disappointed when that moment hit me, and I realized I wasn’t done with what I wanted to do during my season. I felt angry, disappointed in myself, and tired. I didn’t want this to be over. 

So I kept going, and friend, it was so worth it. Because this time, when I realized I was ending Hustle, I felt HAPPY.

I felt proud and accomplished and relieved. Much better emotions than before.

I am so looking forward to this season of Rest. I have some projects, soul projects, for this season that I’m excited about. Like painting the kitchen cabinets and cooking and reading and moving my office home.

But as I wrap my own brain around all of this, I realize that there is so much I haven’t really shared with all of you, my amazing tribe! 

And while this little list doesn’t contain the entire hustle, it’s the big ones, and I’m so excited to officially share most of them.

We launched The Mompreneur LLC!

 

And though this is basically just a name for legal purposes, The Mompreneur LLC is going to be doing some pretty amazing stuff. Such as:

The JoJo infant and toddler lounger and cosleeper.

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Adam and I have designed a brand new, and pretty perfect, baby sleeper! Designed right here in our living room and inspired by Joey, of course, the JoJo is the baby sleeping secret. Similar in purpose to the renowned DockATot or SnuggleMe, the JoJo is meant to provide a safe and secure, and most importantly effective, place for baby to sleep. More details to drop soon, but this is what you need to know right now:

The JoJo will be launching next month, and will be available on our own site as well as Amazon! 

We will be giving a way a whoooooole bunch of them right off the bat in exchange for some verified reviews on Amazon, so if you want one for free, you should jump on the bandwagon HERE.

The JoJo is a safe and perfect sleeping space for newborns up to over 2 years old. We have had babies on day 1 fall asleep and stay asleep wonderfully, all the way to toddlers (Joey still sleeps in his, and our friend’s 3 year old sleeps in hers too!)

Mompreneur : The Course!

 

This is my favorite, you guys. Mompreneur : The Course is now available, and I swear, it’s the best course out there. Here’s why:

I made this course myself, from scratch, and from experience. 

I’m working with the first group of mommas now to create the rest of the course to fit exactly what every mompreneurs needs are. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will be left out.

It’s a do-at-your-own-pace, but an entire YEAR’S worth of content, of course, broken down by mompreneur seasons – Hustle, Rest, Growth and Pruning.

I am moving out of the studio in Chico and working from home full time.

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I’ve never done this working from home thing, but I’m feeling so at peace about this decision and timing. We are working on making a little office in the house and getting it all together as a serene place for me to do my thing. 

The Mompreneur Podcast

If you have been living under a rock, you may not know this. But nonetheless, it's true! Sweet Rachel and I have a podcast and it's awesome. You should listen every Monday. We're pretty funny if I do say so myself.

So, friends, that is the gist of it. And there’s A LOT of little things within all those things, but these are def the top badass things we’ve been able to do in the last 3 months.

I’m so excited to take you all on this journey with me and my little family! What a total honor.


And in case you’re a skimmer, and looking for quick links, here ya go friend ;)

Influencers

Boss Moms

Friends

Mompreneur Manifesto

 
 

We’ve got dreams. Purpose. Like, wake you up in your sleep-type goals that when you think about them, give you goosies and a mental high similar to that after finishing a badass workout.

These dreams are big. These dreams speak truth about you. These dreams are part of your human existence, your spiritual existence. In fact, they’ve become something that your nightly prayers revolve around.

These dreams, they speak to your children. Your business. Your health. Your home. Your husband. Your dogs and your cooking skills and your capsule wardrobe.

Raise your hand if you’re tired of hearing, “You can’t do it all.”

I call bullshit.

Sure we can, we just might not like it very much. And frankly, we will suck at a lot of things.

Here’s what the proverbial “they” forgot to say:

Striving for perfection and striving for excellence are two VERY separate things.

Sure, we can’t do everything. But why do we want to?

What if we could do everything, but on our own terms? What if we could everything WE WANTED to do, and put the rest to bed?

What if we could do everything we wanted, and do them WELL?

What if we could dismiss all the noise, the chatter, the judgement and the self critique?

What if we could put an end to feeling like we are not enough, and end the ridicule and guilt that comes along with that?

What if someone you loved, trusted and believed told you that this WAS POSSIBLE?

Ya, I dismissed it, too.

“It gets better. Easier. More possible”

Such a common statement that it started to become routine, and with routine comes a loss of value. And with a loss of value comes ignorance.

Mom told me, “I promise it will get better.”

I looked at her, and though it hurts to say now, I said with no hesitation, “We made a huge mistake. My life is over and this is my new normal. My business and my dreams and my goals have to leave now, so I can be a mother.”

I was. So. Wrong.

What if I told you that in fact, everything you dream of, is not only possible, but feasible? Something you can realistically achieve, right now.

Would you believe me?

Why would you. Who am I to tell you?

But here’s what happened.

I believed me.

Because the other option scared the living crap out of me.

There was no way this is what God wanted for me. I have purpose, and only part of that purpose is raising children to be good humans. It’s a big part, but it’s not the only part.

If that was my only purpose, what did I spend the last thirty years doing?! It certainly wasn’t preparing for motherhood. Or wifehood. Or how to correctly clean my house for company or to get a friend’s baby to stop crying.

No, I had spent the last two decades of my life, learning and educating and absorbing everything bit of information I could, while spending every spare minute of my time becoming an excellent entrepreneur.

Why? So I could someday teach, and show, my children how to do the same. And provide for my future family in a way that left me available to them, and under no one’s thumb.

This was my dream.

And motherhood, it seemed, had ruined it.

Our purpose is more. Our goals are more. Our lives are more.

I believed me, and it worked.

I hit the road running, striving for excellence in the things that mattered most. Feeding and loving my newborn baby, making money for my family doing something that made me happy, treating my postpartum depression and living a healthy lifestyle.

None of it was perfect. But never, ever ever, did I settle for less than excellent.

We can’t do it all. But we can do all the things we want, and we can do them well.

What would happen in your life, if you believed that in your deepest darkest places?

Would you do it?

The Story Behind the Podcast

 
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This podcast could be like a real thing. Apparently, it is a real thing. It’s out there, in the world, for all to hear. As of today.

And after listening to it, here’s what I know.

  • I say “like” way too much.
  • I kind of sound like a valley girl, which makes me sad for my friends who have to listen to me everyday. I’m sorry.
  • Rachel is so poised and comfortable in herself and organized. I, however, am not those things.
  • I’m late to everything. Literally everything. I’m not sure why or how this happened. But I am. And frankly, this is really hard for me to swallow.
  • Rachel asks wayyyy better questions than I do. 
  • Never in my whole life have I been more thankful for technology than I am right now.
  • Never in my whole life have I been more terrified of technology than I am right now.

The podcast has always been on the to-do list, for both me and Rachel. And when Rachel told me last year that we should do one, and call it Mompreneur, I about died.

You see, for almost a year, I was really truly the only mompreneur I knew in person, my age. I was InstaFriends with lots, and many had told me their stories of “back when,” but it was pretty lonely there for a while.

And then Rachel got pregnant, and Knox was born just a short year after Joey. And suddenly, I was not alone anymore.

And though we are going through different stages of motherhood currently, it won’t always be that way.

The first few years, we know now, are so volatile. Every day, month and season is different from the last. And I feel honored that I could help Rachel prepare for what’s next, and that Rachel could simply remind me of what had already passed. 

When our boys are older, and maybe going to the ranch together, attending school together, or practicing their fractions together, we will not feel like we are in separate seasons. We will be in the depths of whatever mompreneurism is holding for us right then. And for that, I am excited, and thankful, and so so so honored.

The term Mompreneur for me is so deep. 

Mom. Relationship first. I am a mom first.

Preneur. Wealth. Business. I am a successful business owner second.

This is the premise of my life, and the premise of the upcoming Mompreneur : the Course, but that’s another story altogether. 

Mom. Then Preneur.

And it’s an interesting place to be, let me tell you…

I’ve always been the Preneur first. The entrepreneur. Entering the business world from the ground up. Having ideas, running with them, making them matter.

And then I became a mom. And then Mom came first. And it was still this idea, this sprint to a finish line, but the finish line doesn’t exist. The race, the hustle, the steady jog to the end never actually ends. Because it’s motherhood. And we can’t ever, not ever, turn that off.

So yes. Mom. Then Preneur. 

I had questions. Questions like, how do I prepare for motherhood as an entrepreneur? Is there such thing as maternity leave? How do I help my husband prepare? How do I GET PAID when I don’t work? I have a service based business, but what happens when I can’t serve my clients? These are real questions, questions when you are expecting and have prepared but then suddenly realize that you haven’t so much prepared as idealized, dreamt or pretended to be ready.

And then you’re in the depths of it. Breast-feeding and nipple cream and hemorrhoids and stitches down THERE are real things, that MATTER. And friends MATTER. Even more than your mom might at that moment. Though we all know that mom matters. Big time.

So who is going to tell us? Who is going to help us? I needed someone to help me. Rachel needed someone to help her. And we had these talks, these text exchanges, that needed to be released to the world.

Things about songs by the Muppets that are making us cry and which iPhone apps I actually need and how to tie a Moby Wrap.

Things like what it felt like to birth a child one way, or another way. What it was like to have sex the first time. What it was like to have severe depression, and why we wanted to stay in it for just a little bit longer.

Things like how we want to go back to work, how we feel ok about leaving our child at daycare, or don’t. Things about how we miss our friends or freedom or WINE. 

Things that are taboo to say. Things that are hard to talk about. Things that go unsaid because it’s scary and vulnerable and TOO real to share. 

We are human, women, and mothers. And what are we going to say to our children when they ask us questions about their penis or the voices they may or may not be able to hear, or JESUS?! How will we choose to respond.

I will respond with the truth. Unfiltered, unafraid. And it’s time we did that for each other too, outside of the comfort of our nursery nursing chair. It’s time tears were shed and laughs were shared somewhere other than our dinner tables. Because we can. And you, momma, deserve it. And so do we.

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Hustle Season

 
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This blog is supposed to be about the season of hustle, and how to manage it while also being a mom and so many other roles I currently play.

But listen.

It’s the night before this post is supposed to go live. And I’m sitting here working to upload and match a photo and craft my IG caption and tweet and YouTube snippet. And I just can’t. Because I’m sitting here, crying.

God, I feel like such a girl. Like, whoa, pull it together. Your husband doesn’t cry, slouched over on the floor outside your over-tired toddler’s bedroom door while he complains that he’s not ready for bed.

And now, I just heard my toddler drop his binky on the floor, which means I’m going to have to stop mid-writing to go and soothe him and give him his binky back and start this process ALL. OVER. AGAIN.

Hold please.

Ok, now that he’s asleep, finally.

I’m in a season of major hustle. I’ve got some crazy dreams that need executing NOW. Not later. And so, was born about three weeks ago, my season of hustle.

I know this season is temporary, and it took me a long time to embrace the hustle season for this reason ­– it will fade. But as I grow, as a mom and an adult and a wife and a believer, I have learned to understand that we go through phases, just as our toddlers do. Nothing lasts. And if we don’t embrace where we are RIGHT NOW, it will pass us by.

We can either take advantage of the moment, or we can wait for the next.

I do not have time to wait. I got sheez to do.

Let’s clarify a few things:

  1. One. I am referring to hustle as an emotional state of mind. The physical interpretation of hustle means that you are exerting yourself beyond your normal rate of speed, intensity and strength. I am implying that you are EMOTIONALLY doing this. That your brain, heart and soul are working hard, running at an intense pace and moving fast.
  2. Two. A season of hustle means nothing unless it’s fueled by passion.
  3. Three. Once in the depths of a hustle season, there is no need to explain it to others. Your actions have spoken for themselves, and very rarely is anyone wondering why you’re extra tired, extra snippy or extra late to literally everything. They know, you’re hustling, and they don’t need to ask why.

The point.

Hustling when you’re a mom (or dad), a business owner, and a cognitive human being means that you have other responsibilities that outperform your desire to hustle.

Because kids get sick. Bills are still due. And we all know that your skin needs to be moisturized, girl. Now is not the time to be skimping on the undereye cream.

How. How are we supposed to do this? How are we supposed to hustle without the end result being us, sick and bedridden and wondering why we pushed ourselves too hard and why our kids are revolting against us as we try and feed them healthy food?

How. This is a great question.

The season of hustle comes with many a sacrifice, but it also means that we can live a little more intentionally.


Things that can wait in a season of hustle:

Housework

 By the end of your emotional hustle, your house will look like a bomb went off. Your husband will be asking you why there are no more spoons, and why the kids’ milk has soured in the fridge. This is ok, because as soon as your hustle ends, which it will, you will throw out the old milk and the spoons will get washed. And in the meantime, your kids can, and will, drink water instead and eat their cereal with their hands, albeit quite messy. And that mess, you will clean up another time.

Social time

Sorry, friends. Ain’t got no emotional energy to give your right now. This is literally the text I send my group of friends in our group text when I hit a hustle season. They get it. They know. And they also happen to show up and clean up my kids’ cereal mess when it deems I’ve gone a little too far.

Leisure time

This is what Hulu was made for. I firmly believe that Hulu was invented for people like me. I have no time to watch Grey’s when I’m in hustle mode. None. But thanks to Hulu, when I’ve exited my tunnel of hustle, my playlist is waiting for me when I can’t sleep at 3 am, like a deacon of reward for many a week spent neglecting my DVR.

Wife time

Yes, wife time. You can’t neglect Mom time (see below), but wife time can wait. You see, your husband is an adult (I hope), and he will understand when you need to step back for a bit. So long as it’s clear that this is a season, not a permanent fixture, your husband will be likely pretty supportive of a more productive and prosperous future that you are currently hustling for. With that comes more dinners by dad, a lot less bedtime fun, and a substantial amount of bedtimes brought to you by Chuggington.

The gym

For most, like me, the regular gym routine is paramount. I have big gym goals, very similar to my business goals in intensity. However, my gym goals don’t make me money. Or further my passion for helping others in their businesses. Right now anyway. So when I enter a season of hustle, sometimes my gym routine takes a hit. And though it’s really hard to swallow, I know that I will find my way back when there is an opening. In the meantime, I dial down my meals, drink a ton of water and WALK EVERYWHERE. The more you do, the more you gain, right?

Taxes

I realize I may get heat for this. But since my current season of hustle fell smack dab in the middle of tax season, and I was not prepared for either, I casually asked my CPA to file an extension for me. Very little harm and no fowl, and I get to put filing my taxes on another month’s to-do list. I was prepared, nonetheless, but my hustle took priority over spending a day or two getting my taxes together to send to my CPA and then worry about what I may or may not owe. This is something that can wait until after my hustle is over and I have time and space to digest.

Things that can’t wait in a season of hustle:

Dinner with your family

I don’t care if you order takeout, eat from a freezer or make the time to cook each night, but dinner is not negotiable. Many times, I will literally turn around from my desk and eat my dinner at the table with my family and turn right back around. But, I never turned around DURING dinner. The fact that I know this is temporary is most important. My son won’t remember the times I hurried to finish dinner, but he will remember that I ate dinner with him, albeit fast.

Sleep

If you’re tired, sleep. The end.

Food

This is my biggest fault. I don’t eat when or as often as I should. And when I’m in a hustle, it’s even worse. And when I’m not gymming because I’m in a hustle, it’s even worse. Food CANNOT WAIT. Feed yourself. And feed yourself well. If you’re hustling a much as I think you are, you need more than jelly beans and wine to sustain you. Though, I have launched many an idea on those two substances alone, I will still claim that getting some green juice and a cheese stick is probably a good idea.

Paying client work

Payday than what you’re celebrating now, but trust me, it takes a long time and a wishful dream to convince PG&E that you’ll pay them when your hustle season is over. And your hustle season is a “moo point” if you can’t sell it to anybody in the end because you never followed through on the job they paid your for to begin with.

Mom time

You cannot mom and work in the same moment. And if you think that you do, you’re doing it wrong. If you are momming and working simultaneously,  you’re not putting your heart and soul into either. Mom time cannot and will not wait. Your baby needs you. Right now. Not later. Right. Now.


Ok, ok. But really. How in the heck do you make these decisions on the go?!

I’m going to help you. After a multitude of hustle seasons lately, I decided to needed something to help me make almost split second decisions on how to proceed in my hustle or life. Alas, the hustle flowchart. And like my “should I wash my hair today” flowchart, this one hangs prominently on my bathroom mirror and is used almost daily during a season of hustle.

GET YOUR HUSTLE FLOWCHART HERE

I hope you print and hand and use and share, because I promise it will help you make those tough choices we hustlers must make.

xoxo

the Crafted Manifesto

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LISTEN TO IT HERE


READ IT HERE

Businesses are inundated.

Buy this! Download this! You need a logo, a brand! Get your books right and invest in this and get a line of credit!

Whatever the information is, it’s being blasted at us from every angle.

But here’s the real deal. We want to get moving, and be successful, NOW. Not in a year. Not down the road. TODAY. And so, we do our research and decide where our time and money is best spent, because we only have a little bit to get this thing off the ground.

Part of that initial spending is usually a logo. Or if you’re in the lingo, a brand. And we decide how much money, and time, we can realistically spend on it.

Let’s be honest. That’s not a lot. We are putting in so much up-front work for our business, and forking out thousands of dollars and months’ worth of time to design a logo, with a stranger, that may or may not be relevant in a year, is not only daunting, but unbearable.

The reality is this:

Businesses are being held back and they don’t even know it. We are settling for “good enough” instead of “badass.” We are branding ourselves as startups when we start, and we stay that way until we aren’t a startup anymore.

What if we did this:

Brand ourselves as we see ourselves – successful, talented, smart and downright brave. We are ambitious and kind and knowledgeable.

We are not “good enough,” we are GREAT. We are doing something amazing, and our brand should tell that story.

This is the CRAFTED manifesto. To graciously and generously give businesses a shot, right out of the gate. To get them moving, like right now, with something great.

CRAFTED is not just a brand selling brands. It is a girl with a talent and a passion, similar to yours, that wants so badly for all us to be successful TODAY.

I cannot wait to see these brands out in the wild, doing what they were meant to do, and meant to do well.

xoxo for now, my friend!

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Crafted | Launching March 1

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Last week, we talked about brand storytelling.

Well, I talked about brand storytelling. And you probably read about it, and then probably signed up to receive a free Brand Audit.

*wink wink*

And then you were left wondering what the heck that was all about...

I'm here to tell you a few things, friend.

Here is what we know:

  • You, and your business, are unique, and should be portrayed as such.
  • Your brand should be the catapult of your story.
  • Your budget, and your time, aren’t unlimited.
  • The brand for your business should be yours and yours alone.
  • Your personality, business essence and vision are aspects of your brand that need to be apparent upon first glance.
  • Upscale, professional branding assets are hard to find, harder to pay for, and even harder to communicate.

Overwhelmed yet?

Don’t be. I got you.

This week, Nicole&Co. is launching the first 8 brands of Crafted.

 
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Crafted by Nicole & Co. is an array of upscale branding assets, carefully curated for businesses like yours that want to get moving, like right now.

I’m so excited to be offering you, yes you, unique and wonderful you, the brand you have been searching for.

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Each brand featured is only sold ONCE – it and its parts will never be sold again.
  • Each brand is original, and carefully crafted by Nicole of Nicole&Co. herself.
  • Brands include a primary logo, secondary logo, brand mark and a comprehensive brand book with color palette, typefaces and tips and tricks for using your brand.
  • Each brand’s elements (verbiage and type content) are changeable BY YOU, the new brand owner.
  • Once purchased, your brand can be in your hands, literally, with a click of a button.
  • Only 8 brands will be released each quarter, so if you don’t see one that fits you perfectly, stay tuned.

Crafted brands are launching THIS THURSDAY, March 1st at 9 am PST, and will be discounted for a super limited time. More information coming soon, but in the meantime

Not quite ready to dive into a brand new visual identity, but definitely want to dive deeper into your storytelling?

Totally. Brand strategy can feel so abstract and daunting. Let’s bridge that gap together.

Nicole’s brand strategy sessions are focused on further understanding your brand's story, what your next steps should be, and tangible steps to communicate your WHY!

INQUIRE ABOUT A BRAND STRATEGY SESSION

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How to be REAL in an age of digital perception

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Perception is everything. All the good. All the bad.

In the social media world, for instance, perception can be formed in the blink of an eye. Or the glance of a scroll, I suppose. Each photo or caption is carefully crafted. Lies can be told, or the truth can be told, and no one the wiser.

We can actually purchase Instagram graphics, pay someone to write our captions. The imagery isn’t even of our real lives. The work in the photo isn’t even ours. It’s a photo of a top knot on someone else’s head, the shoes on someone else’s feet, goodies arranged on someone else’s desk.

So long as the imagery and verbiage is perceived as our own, no one the wiser.

However, it’s also this form of perception that can be intriguing. The perfectly curated, color coded, planned out feed is what followers are looking for. It’s what begs the popularity, the sponsored posts and affiliate links.

We work so hard to be perceived properly.

Just today, here are three examples of things I’ve done in order to better my digital perception:

  1. I curse like a polite sailor in real life, but if I put cuss words in my caption I might turn off some of my followers because I’m too crude for their comfort level.
  2. My toddler is wearing a diaper that is sagging so low that it’s painful to look at, but he won’t let me change it, so I’m just not going to show him in my Instagram stories today. I don’t want to see the DM of someone telling me to change his diaper.
  3. I AirDropped a photo of myself and Adam from my sister’s phone to my phone, then to my computer so I could edit it in Lightroom so it followed my “feed’s color story,” and also fixed my double chin, then AirDropped it back to my phone, then uploaded it to Instagram. I then opened a website to generate some hashtags on my computer, copied them and emailed them to myself, then opened my email on my phone, copied them from there, and posted them in a caption on Instagram. This is a lot of work for one cute photo of me and my husband.
  4. I am only 2 pages into my second book of 2018, but haven’t posted it on my blog yet because it was an impulse by from Target and I didn’t have it on my 2018 Reading List blog. Hence, isn’t following “the plan.”
  5. In an effort to get my posts set for the week ahead, I hid all of Joey’s toys behind the couch to my living room photos wouldn’t show the mess.

Also, I’m drinking a beer at 2 pm while I write this and my son is making lots of noise in his crib in the other room because he doesn’t want to nap and my dishwasher is full but not running because the noise bothers me and there are booger smears on my pants that I have no intention of scrubbing off anytime soon and I’m totally winging this post because it’s on my mind and I need a post for Tuesday.

Real life, but unseen.

It’s hard to be real in the digital world and not put a damper on the perception you’ve strived so hard to earn. To be honest, I wanted to prove that I could post “real” photos (unedited and technically bad) with great captions and still build an audience of engaged followers and blog readers and affiliates. I was wrong. As soon as I started curating my posts, from imagery to caption development, that audience became much more engaged, larger and best of all, a group of friends that I don’t even know!

However, I still strive to be undeniably authentic, raw and minorly edited.

Every time someone tells me that they love the realness in my posts, the little girl inside me does a happy dance. Because once upon a time, someone told me that I could be myself when I grew up. And then I grew up, and society seemed to scream “Don’t be yourself.”

Here are some of my favorite tips on how to be REAL in a world where digital perception reins all.

  1. Don’t try to please everyone. When you begin to focus more on quantity than quality, you lose your own quality. Sure, my swearing may turn off some people, but those people probably wouldn’t love me in real life either. My friends, both digital and real life, know I like to curse, and will either love me for it or call me out. Both is good. And like Jenna Kutcher says, you can’t make everyone happy – you aren’t Nutella.
  2. In regards to photos, edit edit edit. Find a style and STICK TO IT. To be honest, it really doesn’t matter what your photo is of, so long as it looks like yours. Especially as a business, branding is everything. And that includes the style of your photos. My best tip for this is to find and use a Lightroom preset. There are millions out there, and finding one that fits your style and brand vision will help tremendously. The goal is to have someone scrolling or reading, and know immediately that it’s you, simply because of the style of your photo.
  3. Post real life in the midst of the perfectly curated. On my Instagram account, this happens often. I post a lot of real life intermixed with the curated. On my blog, it’s a little bit less (more planned, less candid), and my Facebook is VERY real life every day. And as my business is found from all three of these platforms, each has its place. It’s important to remind those who already follow you, and tell any new tribe members, what your life is really like. That’s not to say that you should ALWAYS post real life mess, but the reminder that you are real is VERY important.
  4. Be brave. This, in my opinion, is the most important one. Be brave with yourself, your audience and your platform. Don’t be afraid to post or write and share. It can be terrifying to share the most intimate parts of your life. But society is craving real. Craving candid. Craving other vulnerable ladies. It’s ok to look and act and be scared. It makes your realness even better.
  5. Finally, digitally treat others how you’d like to be digitally treated. Complimentary comments, follows for your likers, sharing their names and handles, posting their blog, adding them as a Facebook friend. All these things matter, and make you so much more human than you would be if you didn’t. If the goal for your digital business is to grow, and find an engaged tribe, you have to be engaged too. Communicating makes you human, makes you real, makes you approachable.

Want to be the first to hear about the Mompreneur Ecourse or Podcast, launching soon? Sign up below! There may even be a freebie involved ;)