6 Things That Happened When I Shut Off My Computer for a Weekend

This weekend, to celebrate our fourth anniversary, we decided we were going to plan a “Staycation” with outings and adventures and more. I knew I wanted some time to work on myself and planning some personal direction, as well, so I decided to make it a “notification-free” weekend. I allowed my self to check my email at the beginning of the day, but I did NOT check Facebook notifications, Instagram notifications, and I kept my phone in Do Not Disturb every one of the three days. It ended up being largely technology-free!

Here’s what I learned:

  1. It was kind of hard and I kind of missed checking things and looking to see what everyone is up to! Call it FOMO, call it comparison, call it nosy or just interested. I realize I kind of like to scope the scene. Oh also, most of those so-called “notifications” on Facebook don’t really matter! I had 200 when I came back and I think about 20 of them were truly important and needed a reply :)

  2. At the same time, doing this allowed me to focus solely on me and what my scene was. Not thinking about taking a photo just to post it or to share it makes you take a photo in an entirely different way, and to take it for YOU and simply to get more likes and heart emojis.

  3. Work was always sort of there…. staring at and waiting for me… and feeling that made me feel a little like Monday was going to be an unwelcome “lurch” back in. A client did ping me and ask me to complete something really quick over the weekend and I obliged, which in retrospect I am glad I did because we have a good relationship and I never want to sabotage that.

  4. Time is sort of null and void when you’re not constantly checking it. I am constantly looking on my phone and computer to check the time, and that sort of all went away when I didn’t have it by my side all day. Sometimes time seems to move really fast, and other times… really slow. It just is what it is when you don’t know what it is!

  5. I wrote and journaled a lot. I get a lot of ideas and I had to jot them down. So, now I need a new journal for October already because this one is full.

  6. I read an entire book in one day because I did not have my phone to distract me! I did not, however, get through all the podcasts I wanted to… but I’ll save those for my next staycation!

Have you ever tried going technology-free?

Lessons of September I Will Remember

By the time it rolled around, nearly everyone I knew was ready for September. It always brings the hope of a more consistent schedule, a change in temperature and season, and a much-needed reset. I will say, it didn't really deliver on these promises this year... instead whizzing by me like a Bullet train.

A client of mine recently wrote me a lovely email sharing the top 5 things she learned last week. I loved it, got a lot out of the lessons she shared, and it inspired me to share with you the top 3 things I learned in September, in hopes that you will get a little something out of them as well

1. I'm Stronger than I was Last Year

This year, as summer was winding down and I was busy mourning it’s end, we had lots of family and friends in town, family to visit, and just STUFF going on. While this is super fun and enjoyable, it’s sometimes hard to balance work with play and entertaining so that everyone stays happy. Last year, this juggling act stressed me out and nearly broke me. But this year, I did much better and practiced being cool as a cucumber as well as remaining present. I think a daily meditation practice is paying off!

2. It’s Time to Stop Working So Much on the Weekends

I should be tan. It’s in my genes to be tan right now… and I’m not. Why? Because I’ve been a vampire this summer. I’ve spent nearly every sunny day behind my desk working and whittling away. I was standing alongside people helping to build a whole lot of dreams, so I kept at it. And happily so. Now I am ready to make a little bit of a shift so I can focus more on my self-care, my home and relationship, and working on some projects I have for my own business.

3. How to Stop Working So Much on the Weekends

I have to run a tight ship because I am a sucker for a schedule and a plan. When I get pummeled with too many things and goings-on, I get out of sorts, frazzled, and admittedly, a little bent out of shape. In order to have the life I want, and help others to do the same while operating at my very best, I need to be really good to myself in sticking with a schedule that works for me. Sometimes that means saying, “No” and that is OK.

Bonus Lesson:

I don't know about you, but for me, it's time to jump all in and get serious on some of the dreams I have for myself! It's time to press play, hit send, press go! Whatever you need to do.

The time is now.

Enough about me and what I’ve learned, I want to hear what you're up to in October, what your goals are and what is inspiring you this month so I can cheer you on and hold you accountable to those big goals you've set for yourself!

Doing What is Best for You

We are all regularly faced with hard decisions. From what to eat, to what to wear, to… ok, ok, I am actually kidding about those first two examples. Deciding what to eat and what to wear should be fairly easy decisions.

I want to talk about the really hard ones. Like knowing when to hold em’ and when to fold em’. Knowing when a customer and you are not a good fit, knowing when to walking away from a situation and when to dive fully in.

Often, it simply takes time, experience, and learning about yourself to first be able to see these pivotal decision-making moments coming down the pike, and then to react appropriately.

This has been a month of a WHOLE lot of saying “yes” and “no” for me. I am finally learning that in order to be productive, I need to have a clear calendar 75% of the week. I am realizing I cannot be what every single person in this world wants and needs from me, and I am also realizing that maybe just being real is better

For everyone involved.

What a notion that is :)

Can you give your next adventure a hearty “YES”? If not, perhaps there is opportunity to re-evaluate and make sure it aligns with the big vision you have for yourself and for your life. If you need help talking through something and making these decisions, I am here to help!

Testing, One, Two, Three...

You know when you are doing a sound check, and not quite in the right spot in relation to the speaker, or perhaps you’re cupping the microphone just a little too much and…. that dreaded screech pierces the air? Ah yes, feedback.

When we’re talking about microphones, of course feedback is irritating… but it does act as a signal that something is wrong or off and that some adjustments need to be made.

How do you handle feedback on a day to day basis? How do you handle it when you’re building on your hopes and dreams and someone says something that hits you about as hard as that screeching microphone?

Do you pick up and keep going? Do you break down and cry? Do you give up?

Perhaps you run towards feedback, collecting the data for future plans and endeavors. Feedback can fuel a fire, it can stoke a flame, and it can help figure out why a spark didn’t create a blazing bonfire.

As an entrepreneur, a creator, and as a human being, I invite you to open yourself up to feedback. Be prepared to give it to yourself as well. How can you make the thing better? Do the thing better? Be a better person?

This post was inspired by Jennifer Desrosiers, a recent podcast guest of mine and panelist at our 2019 She Built This Panel Event. It was also inspired because after the event, I found myself in a vulnerable place, open to feedback and had to ground myself and be ready to receive it —both from myself and others, all with the intention of improving upon my work.

I will leave you with her words…

“Are you prepared for constant feedback?

…I was facing the biggest mountain of my life. I just didn’t realize how tall that mountain was until I started up the trail. In fact, I’m still climbing.

But this post isn’t about the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. Instead, let’s talk about feedback. Never in a million years was I prepared for the constant assessment of every. single. move/decision/strategy/mistake/fill-in-the-blank.

Where does this feedback come from? Guests, team members, friends, strangers ... yes, all of that. But most of all, it comes from myself. I’m constantly assessing and reassessing. How could I have handled that conversation better? Am I showing up as my best self for my team? Will this new costing strategy improve the long term health of my company? So on and so forth...

It’s a lot. But it’s valuable. The point is on this entrepreneurial journey be prepared for the feedback. Position yourself as your own greatest ally, coach, and cheerleader.”

- Jennifer Desrosiers -

Once Upon a Time...

maybe you did too…

I knew i wanted to be an entrepreneur from an early age.

I had no shortage of business ideas growing up, including everything from:

  • Selling railroad spikes and sea shells on the side of the road (a.k.a Antique Stand)

  • Hometown newspaper (each one handwritten and delivered by yours truly)

  • The traveling jeweler and candy bar seller all-in-one pop-up shop

  • Trampoline and jump rope routines business (as in, just come watch us jump on the trampoline)

  • Gopher service

  • Dog-walking service

  • The classic lemonade stands (oldie but goodie)

  • Endless babysitting

  • Cleaning people’s houses

  • Cooking business

  • And finally… my own first jewelry business making REAL jewelry with an online shop.

In high school, I met a chiropractor named Jenny Bruck who got me all jazzed up about health and wellness. I already loved Biology and Health class and could not get enough of such topics! I waltzed up to Jennifer and told her that when I grew up, I wanted to stand in front of people and educate them just like her!

Then I ventured off to college for Health Education and started dreaming of being a health and nutrition coach / teacher for. I was admittedly naive enough to think that clients would just flock to me the second I opened my doors and I was also foolish enough to think that teaching was somehow an easy gig...

I quickly learned after college that in order to pay off said education, one usually requires a J-O-B. Where better to gain experience in the health field than by working for the one who inspired it in the first place? So, I approached Dr. Jenny and her husband for a job, and my wish was granted!

Then, I launched out of New Hampshire and traveled to Charlotte, NC where I worked for two more chiropractors, and got a crash course in waitressing (which I weirdly actually enjoyed…). I also worked for a vegan health food cafe as a waitress and pastry chef. Deciding the South was too hot and slow for my pace and cool nature, I jet set back to New Hampshire and worked for two more chiropractors, and a health food store… which is where I met my husband, Jason (another story for another time).

Jason was moving to North Carolina to get his own adventuring in and I was heading to France to cook and care for an elderly American couple. We stayed in touch throughout my travels and when my work with them was complete, I decided that it was a good time for a fresh start. So…

Naturally, I moved to North Carolina AGAIN to see if Jason was “the one”. Turns out, he was! After a whole lot more waitressing, a couple more chiropractic offices, and working at an organic mattress store, turns out North Carolina was NOT the one, for either of us.

We ventured back to NH where it all went full circle for both of us. Jason went back to painting houses with his old man, and I went and worked for Dr. Jenny again.

The thing about working for Dr. Jenny is… you really can’t be in her presence and NOT following your dream. She is just one of those kinds of people. It’s hard to sit there and watch someone else making their dreams come true each and every day when you have some buried inside of you that need to be let loose!

I somehow convinced Jason that we should start a business of our very own, or maybe he convinced me? I am a little fuzzy on the details there. All I know is that it was our “5-Year Plan” that became our 6-Month Plan as soon as we set it into motion. We opened an organic mattress store in Amherst, NH which ran successfully for 4.5 years. It was a great business model and served a lot of people with something that was lacking in this area. When we decided to sell our business and I was considering my next options (Chapter 2 of my story, so to speak), I went and got my real estate license. It was empowering to learn, to study, and to pass a test and make myself feel accomplished. The actual practice of real estate though? Not for me. Through that experience, I met a real estate company that hired me to do their social media, and then other people asked me to do their social media, and their newsletters, and edit things…

I just kept saying, “YES” and saw a common thread. Business owners are overwhelmed, stressed, and in desperate need of a clone. What if I could help them?

Sometimes I look back and regret having gotten a degree in Health Education. Sometimes I regret not knowing what I wanted to do sooner. That’s how we learn. Each and every experience brings us closer to who we are supposed to be and become.

I am justifying my student loans by spinning it and saying that I am helping people with their health after all, it’s just the health of their business and their mental state :)

Thanks for reading my story, and now I can’t wait to
learn more about YOU!
Where do you need help in your business?

A New Routine!

I woke up this morning and was welcomed by it being the first day of Summer! So now the fun can officially begin!

In addition to it being summer, the the year 2019 is HALF over! I hope you are well on your way to experiencing one of your best years yet! I know I am most certainly loving it, jumping over hurdles and hitting goals like bullseyes left and right, learning new things and growing as much as possible. Something I am also doing this time of year, to make sure that the next six months are just as awesome is taking stock and re-assessing my goals to make sure they are in line with where I want to be, as well as looking what I haven’t accomplished yet and seeing what I need to do in order to make those things happen. I have also started a bit of a new morning routine to help myself stay accountable which I welcome you to try along with me.

A goal I had at the beginning of 2019 when resolution-setting was at the top of my priority list was to journal everyday. I did pretty well but often I forgot, or I was starting at a blank page and had nothing to say, and more often than not it ended up being like the angsty journals I kept through college, “Dear Diary, Joanne looked at me weird and it hurt my feelings and I don’t think Bobby likes me. So I need to go curl up in a ball and cry for the rest of the day…” Well, ok, they weren’t quite that bad, but Joanne DID look at me weird and you get the idea.

My new method focuses on positivity and working towards my goals AND bonus… it often inspires me to journal at the same time. It seems I ALWAYS have something to say :) I stole a few tidbits from one of my new business girl crushes, Crystal Farley, and I am sure none of what I came up with on my own is really that groundbreaking, but I thought I would share the formula anyway, lest anyone could benefit!

So, without further ado, here is my morning journaling routine:

  • First, I Pick a “Word of the Day” and write that at the top of the page with the date. I like to just keep the word and theme in my mind throughout the day. I have a little jar of cards to choose from with words as amazing as, “Joy”, “Peace”, “Love” to words that make me ponder what is in store for me that day like, “Respect”, “Support”, ‘Willingness”, “Dub Step”. Just kidding about that last one…

  • Three Gratitudes: I start by writing three things I am thankful for. It could be in that moment, it could be overall. It helps me realize what is most important in my life and sometimes my heart is just bursting with gratitude so there is a line that says EVERYONE! But, I try to be specific. I am grateful that my spouse loves me even though I snore and steal all the covers. Oh wait, that’s what he must write about me…

  • Highlight of Yesterday: I learned this one from my friend Kate when we used to share our highlights of the day before! I also love this because I sometimes find I had several highlights or even on a bad day, it ends so very well and you can’t actually complain!

  • What I Could’ve Done Better Yesterday: How do I need to grow? I like to take a minute to be self-reflective and come from a creator-mode rather than a victim-mode. Sometimes it’s a feeling of annoyance that crept up with someone or a circumstance, but I allowed it to irritate me. Sometimes it’s hurting someone’s feelings or expressing my words in a way that could’ve been more couth, and sometimes it’s simply that I shouldn’t have eaten dark chocolate at 8:00pm. I am practicing being more mindful and writing this out helps a lot with that!

  • My Top Three Goals for Today: My to-do-list probably looks like yours… they are long and unruly. You feel like you’re never going to get it all done. I’ve heard so many people tell me that having too much to do can be crippling and they end up being unproductive because of it all. Newsflash: If you’re getting it ALL done, you might be bored, so add “a long to-do-list” to your list of gratitudes! I find it really helpful to identify and put PRIORITY on three things that I know need to get done that day. As I start working on those three, the others magically find themselves being crossed off as well!

Trust me, I have not cracked the code for success yet, but I do find that implementing this daily habit has consistently helped me to get more prepared and focused for my workday as well as fill up on positive thoughts and feelings right from the get-go!

What else would you add to this list? Do you journal daily and if so, what is your method?

Give from the Crops, Not the Seeds

Giving from the seeds, rather than the crops,
lessens the impact we can make.

Imagine you just went out and bought seeds to start filling your garden with what will soon be cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, kale, bell peppers, beets, chard, carrots, zucchini, butternut squash, and scallions (omit any of those you don’t like). Obviously, late June is probably a little late to be doing this, so you may actually be reminiscing about when you did this last month, or in April rather than imagining… anyway, work with me here!

You just went out and purchased seeds and you’re so excited to be starting a garden. You start planting and your neighbor (let’s call her Betty) comes along and takes half of them. Well, she didn’t just take them, she asked for them and you obliged and gave them to her, willingly. It is your first garden and you have no idea how many of these seeds will actually make it, oh, and not to mention you have mouths to feed, but you give Betty half your seeds, because you’re a “nice person” and she asked.


Fast forward to when your seeds start sprouting into edible salad accoutrements. You’ve been diligent about watering and weeding but…. your garden is looking about half-full. In fact, it looks a little scant. Your family has to keep shopping at the grocery store to supplement the veggies you were expecting to get from all those seeds. And then you remember, you gave half of them away! You stroll over to ol’ Betty’s house to check on how she fared with her half of the seeds. Her garden ALSO looks half full and a little dismal and she also has to supplement by going over to the Piggly Wiggly mart and getting extra veggies.

What if you had kept all the seeds? What if you had waited until your garden grew all of these amazing vegetables and NEXT year, you gave not just extra seeds that the vegetables produced but extra crops because now you had more than enough?!

I heard this concept on a podcast (For the Love of Money with Chris Harder) recently and wanted to apply it to business. Don’t give to a fault or to your own detriment. This goes for time, money, energy, seeds, etc. Protect and nourish what is yours and you will be more abundant and produce more growth, which will help you to create a larger impact. This is not about being selfish, this is about taking care of yourself so that you are your BEST for your business, your BEST for your family, and your BEST for you. That way, when things begin to flourish, you are coming from a place of abundance and have even more to give! So fuel up, my friends!

There are times to be overly generous and give, give, give, and times to quietly plant and nurture the seeds you have within so you can make an even greater change in the future.

What Do You Think?

Five Keys to Tidying Up Your Inbox

We all have our favorite method of communication, some prefer phone calls, some like text messages, others like Facebook messenger or DM’s. I will confess, I like EMAIL. I like it because everything is in one place and I can consistently see what work I have to get done by how many emails are sitting in my inbox.

I know so many people that say they get too many emails, or they don’t like emails. I am a little too good at managing and organizing my emails (and have a secret passion for organizing other’s inboxes as well). So, I’m going to share with you my TOP 5 tips to keep your inbox squeaky clean.

  1. Procrastination is Not Your Friend When it Comes to Your Inbox

    You know those emails that have been sitting at the bottom of your inbox since February? Chances are high that they will probably still be sitting at the bottom in July. Give yourself a time limit on when you will get back to people. Gmail / G-Suite does this awesome thing now where it has you follow up with people that you sent an email to days ago and have yet to hear a reply. It’s called a “nudge”. It also nudges you when you haven’t responded yet. Some people find checking their email twice a day is the best method, others do it throughout the day. When I am home working, I check mine throughout the day and respond quickly to emails that take a quick response. For lengthier replies, I typically use the hour right before I delve into work (or when I am randomly up at 5am) and the hour I am wrapping things up.

  2. It’s OK to Delete, and Unsubscribe.

    If you do get emails on your phone, it can be really easy to hit that trash button as they come in. I would challenge you one day to NOT to this. Let them sit and make you uncomfortable for one day. All the ones you don’t read and just instantly delete, take some time to UNSUBSCRIBE instead. Make a day of it! Use the Marie Kondo method, does this email spark joy? No? Unsubscribe! Am I ever really going to use this DAILY Michael’s coupon? No? UNSUBSCRIBE! Always getting alerts about sites you don’t need alerts from? GOODBYE!

  3. Remember When Hanging File Drawers with all of those Perfectly Organized Files?

    Your inbox can do that too! You can create Categories and under those categories Labels (which for you visuals, you can color code). I LOVE this! For example, my categories are: Personal, Travel, Chamber of Commerce, Professional Assisting, Networking, She Built This, etc. My LABELS are names of specific events under each so I can keep track of all those he said she said threads. Specific Client names so when I have finished with an email of theirs, I can drop it right into their folder for safe-keeping. My goal by Friday is to have a nearly empty inbox because everything is filed. I also do this with my Downloads folder on my computer, any loose photos that need to be filed and anything on my desktop. My filing system on my computer mirrors my email inbox and Google Drive folder so finding things is pretty much a cake walk! Your brain loves to mentally file things away, so try it! When it’s done and now awaiting THEIR reply, file it and forget it! Remember, Google will nudge you.

  4. Delegate Inbox Management

    If it’s really out of control, or you simply don’t have time, there is no shame in having a VA or assistant to hand things off to and help clean things up a bit.

  5. Develop New Habits

    Doing a little bit everyday and you will do wonders for your inbox. Consistency is key. Commit yourself to trying a new inbox habit for one week and let me know if you get great results and feel less overwhelmed!

What other things can tend to overwhelm you? What email tips and tricks do you recommend and what do you get hung up on? Do you get emails on your phone? Why or why not?

The Fabulous Five of Networking Tips

Why am I thinking about networking on a Friday?

The idea for the blog popped into my head about a week and a half ago (consequently, the same time my friend Kristin Hardwick came up with some genius networking tips of her own to share on social media for the local CoWorking space she is opening). As I sit down to write this, I am taking stock of the upcoming week and month and paying attention to the networking opportunities coming down the pike. There sure are a lot! I polled a group of local entrepreneur’s to get their take on what the best networking advice is and I whittled it down to my top five. Surprisingly, no one had advice on brushing your teeth or coming across with a strong handshake, but those are perhaps a little too obvious :)

  1. RESEARCH prior to going. How many people will be there? It is a sit-down situation or mix and mingle. Ideally you want to have enough business cards for however you will be connecting with. This means, if you are attending a roundtable or BNI-style event, you will want one for every person in the room. If you’re attending a Business After Hours type event, you may want enough to connect with about 10-20% of the people in the room. Bonus points if you research at least one person who you know is attending and get the scoop on them and their business before even stepping foot into the door!

  2. BRING A WINGMAN or WINGWOMAN: This person can help you break into the crowd, scout out great connections for you, and make more impact by helping introduce you to the right people. They can also shower you with their accolades when introducing you (in a way you can’t always do for yourself) and of course… you can rescue each other from bad conversations.

  3. BRING A SMILE and a GOOD ATTITUDE: In networking, positivity is the key! No one wants to hear about how stressed you are, how busy your day was, or about something gloomy or sad. Steer clear of potentially sensitive topics and stay upbeat and positive! People won’t want to interact with you if you’re a “negative Nancy” so stay energetic and SMILE whenever you can.

  4. GET DEEPER and CONNECT: You definitely want to stay professional, but asking deeper questions about their business, why they chose to do what they do, and what makes them passionate about their work are great alternatives to the normal small talk. Listening, being authentic and genuinely caring how you can help them are the biggest gifts you can give someone. Ask them the right questions and you will make a lasting impact!

  5. FOLLOW UP: Be sure to follow up with people you met and wish to collaborate with further. Don’t let their business cards just sit in your wallet for months —send an email or personal note the next day if you can! One wise entrepreneur friend of mine recommends setting aside an hour in your day the following day to followup and connect with those you met at the prior event.

And lastly, have fun!