Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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The Plywood Business Retreat

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After attending their conference the past few years, I finally had the privilege of attending the Plywood Retreat last week. This intimate event is limited to about a dozen attendees, and helps entrepreneurs pursue business dreams in very practical ways. Due to the size, we are able to stay at a lake house and enjoy the natural surroundings most of us don’t get to see very often, rather than be in a typical conference room or in-town auditorium.

There were many things I appreciated about the event, but in particular, I love how they try to create a tailor-made experience. Before arriving, we had to fill out an application and go through an interview to make sure we were a right fit for the retreat, which is aimed at mostly social enterprises who want to do positive things in the world, on both the for- and non-profit sides. We were all also in the early stages of business—less than two years, I think. Then we had a phone interview with the founder, Jeff Shinabarger, and he took a bit of time to get to know us as individuals and our thoughts/needs/wants for our business. But, this way, we weren’t walking into the retreat having to introduce ourselves and our goals. The staff already had a good understanding of us, and we could hit the ground running.

These things add up to a couple of other very important customizations. First, they choose the speakers based on us. I think some of them overlap from retreat to retreat, but they also like to bring in folks who can lend unique perspective to our particular areas. So, we had speakers not only on finance, goals, marketing and branding, which most everyone could learn from, but also had one, for example, on donor expectations and insight for those in the non-profit sector or who need to raise capital.

One of the highlights, and the most individual-centered aspect, was the mentor dinner. We went off-site to a restaurant and sat at a table with someone they chose specifically for us. I had a fantastic meal with Jennifer Schuchmann, a local author who also has a background in other forms of writing. She was awesome. She was able to answer very high-level and very practical questions I had, as well as work through a few things I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but knew I needed to clarify in my work. This was really special, and I think everyone felt the same.

So, overall, a very cool experience. And did I mention we had a personal chef? Jason from Homespun was amazing! It was very sad to wake up to my own cooking the next day.😉

If you feel like you’re part of the target audience for this retreat, I’d definitely tell you to consider it. Or maybe come to the conference as a start. They have even launched an online curriculum now as well. Yes, any and all of them are quite the investment, especially for someone like me who is only in month three of my business. But I am really glad I kicked things off this way. I know it will help me going forward. In fact, I’ll get a follow-up in a few weeks because we all had 30-day action steps to take. Gotta get moving…

But before I go, I wanted to introduce you to my fellow retreaters. They are doing some really wonderful things you should know about.


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My 40th Birthday Reverse Bucket List

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Today is my birthday! My…40th birthday! I can’t believe it. How did this happen? Where did the time go? What happens next? Is that a gray hair?

I have lots of questions and very few answers, even after living this long.

But one thing was clear with this impending milestone: It must be celebrated in a BIG way! So, by the time you read this, I’ll be in Spain! I know, right? It’s a country that I’ve wanted to visit for a very long time, and I’m so excited to mark this occasion there (or here, for me, because I’m here/there right now). If you’d like to follow along, you can check out my Instagram or Twitter.

Another way I’ve been planning to celebrate this particular and monumental event is with a “reverse bucket list.” I picked up that idea from a business coach I follow, Rebecca Tracey, and it seemed very appropriate. I am a perfectionist and list-maker, so I can often get bogged down in the things I have yet to do, am behind on, or missed out on. I didn’t want this birthday to be about that. So, I’m choosing to honor this day a little differently than most might as they hit 40, and also secretly hoping it’ll help me to celebrate the wins along the way more often.

Here’s to the great life I’ve lived so far, those that have shared it with me, and the wonders that are yet to come!

My Reverse Bucket List: (in no particular order)

  1. Started my own business
  2. Traveled internationally
  3. Read the entire Bible
  4. Went skydiving
  5. Went on a mission trip and a humanitarian trip
  6. Lived in New York
  7. Been paid over $100 per hour
  8. Taken a two-week vacation
  9. Been in a movie (extra in Drumline), on a talk show (audience of Talk Back Live and Tyler Perry Show), in the audience for two game shows (Price is Right and Family Feud), and on a podcast (Girlfriend It)
  10. Attended numerous conferences I love
  11. Held an Oscar
  12. Visited my beloved California at least once every year since 2008
  13. Been in the delivery room for the birth of my best friend’s first child
  14. Seen a Broadway play (and sat in box seats!)
  15. Volunteer for a social justice organization
  16. Participated in a breakout on supply chain at an anti-slavery conference
  17. Walked a half marathon
  18. Lived and traveled by myself
  19. Been published in magazines
  20. Sponsor a World Vision child
  21. Was a camp counselor, and made life-long friends
  22. Went to state twice in high school for One Act Play (a Texas thing)
  23. Moved to Georgia after college, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because it gave me some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met
  24. Went to counseling for two extended periods of time, something I’d recommend to everyone
  25. Moved away for college, meeting some of the people I still hold closest to my heart
  26. Participate in Lent
  27. Read 40+ books in a year
  28. Purchased a Prius
  29. Made it home to visit family and friends each year for the holidays
  30. Done the major cheesy and fun tourist activities in the cities I’ve lived in
  31. Participate in a fast
  32. Start meditating
  33. Found a mentor
  34. Was baptized and accepted God/Jesus/Holy Spirit
  35. Donate to my missionary friends
  36. Watched all five seasons of Alias in five days—yes, it’s possible!
  37. Learned to cook…somewhat…good enough for me
  38. Had corrective eye surgery
  39. Fought with my words, actions and spending for the rights of others
  40. Started this blog!

 


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Yellow Conference Notes & Quotes

IMG_1555.JPGLast week I had the privilege of attending the Yellow Conference in Los Angeles for the first time. If you aren’t familiar with it, the event is for creative and entrepreneurial women who want to do good things in the world. This is only the third year of the event, and there were about 500 of us present. It was a lot of fun, a great time for learning, an opportunity to make new friends…and perhaps even land a few new clients.

You can see their photos here, and read their event recap.

And below you’ll find many of my highlights. I hope to be there next year, and see you there too!

Jess Eckstrom, Headbands of Hope

  • Because I know I can ___, next I’m going to . . .
  • Achieving a dream isn’t a finish line. It’s crossing a border into a new territory.
  • Gamble on a possibility of “yes” rather than buckle into the safety of “no.”
  • The fear of failure versus the feeling of regret.
  • Passion must outweigh your fears to move forward.
  • Just because something is not your job doesn’t mean it can’t be your responsibility. Inspire a solution.
  • It’s not about what we do when we dream. it’s about what we do when we wake up.
  • Every expert was once a beginner.
  • A bucket list is a dream so vivid that it inspires action.
  • Life’s most defining moment is when you discover what you want and what you do about it.

CJ Casciotta, Creative Director in Nashville

  • Hosts “Like a Movement” podcast
  • Movements are started by weird people with audacity.
  • 1. Find the weird. 2. Write the story. 3. Gather the weirdos. 4. Hack the normals.
  • Movements are “me too” machines.
  • Weird ideas explode when they case to be the authors and start becoming the readers.

Kirsten Dickerson, founder of Raven + Lily

  • Live SLOW, and thoughtful.
  • Check out her mini house tour outside of Austin!
  • S – Simplify
  • L – Live in the moment. We all still have to avoid the tyranny of the moment. Don’t check email for a while after waking up. Leave space in your life to respond to the needs of others.
  • O – get Outside.
  • W – be Willing to ask the who, what and where of everyday choices.

Jedediah Jenkins, travel writer

  • Your dream for your life is the thing you were meant to do.
  • Your goal is a version of your dream, but not the big thing.
  • What do you want to spend 10,000 hours doing so you can be the best at it? (Gladwell’s Outliers principle)

Elle Luna, #ChooseMust

  • The crossroads of should and must.
  • Make less art. Become art.
  • “Should” comes with a lot of expectations. Should is from the outside in.
  • “Must” is the truth of who you area.
  • “Should” is a “must” in training.
  • The first thing a prisoner needs to understand is that they are in prison.🙂
  • Fill your canvas. Choose your story.
  • TED Talk – job vs career vs calling
  • Find your “must.”

Krysta Masciale (krysta @ bigdealbranding.com)

  • You can kick butt from a gentle place!
  • There is nothing more powerful than a brand who owns it.
  • When were you last functioning in your sweet spot?
  • Don’t choose to be a replica. Choose to be yourself.
  • Intersection of values and talents, and where the market exists = that’s where each of us needs to be.
  • No one buys the knock-off without wishing they could afford the real thing.
  • Identify your top five values. The people with those same values will find you.
  • Is the thing you want for the world also the same thing you want for yourself?

Tim Harris, Tim’s Place

  • Live an awesome life.
  • 1. Love people.
  • 2. Work hard.
  • 3. Believe in yourself.
  • 4. Believe in others.
  • 5. Think happy and show it.
  • 6. Use your super powers.
  • 7. Don’t complain about the darkness. Be the light.

Alexis Jones, I Am That Girl

  • Passion is the audacity to get back up.
  • Insecurity will destroy you.
  • When were we as women convinced that we were competing against each other?
  • Surround yourself with people who are crazy enough to believe in and share your dream.
  • Con you sit in discomfort? Comfort will drain creativity.
  • Connect your dots. What got you to this place?
  • It’s your job to teach people how to treat you. You are the only common denominator in your relationships.

Julia Woods, Beautiful Outcome

  • You have to learn to value yourself first.
  • Your impact is valued by those closest to you. Impact those closest to you first, then go bigger.
  • You need to make the biz side of your biz your friend, not your enemy.
  • Friends are fun. Find time for them. You understand each other. You need each other.
  • Find time: education. Weekly investment. Set aside dedicated time.
  • Understand each other. Love without judgement. Scarcity/abundance principle.
  • Social media is the running conversation around your brand.
  • Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.
  • Understand each other. Be a generous listener. What do you need? What does it need?
  • If you can’t do what you do profitably in 40 hours per week, it’s not a practical business. But you can also give it a year or so to get there.
  • Make sure you have an accurate representation of what goes into creating and delivering your service. Cost of sales includes what it would cost you to replace you.
  • Taking care of each other’s needs:
    • How do I know what to charge per client?
      • Desired salary x 2.5 = gross sales
      • Desired hours worked / average time per job = job production
      • Job production /  sales = average number of jobs needed
      • Dived “desired hours” by 1/3 due to 1/3 admin and 1/3 marketing
      • Include 11 months instead of 12 for vacation/holidays
    • How do I price per product?
      • Total cost x 4 = price needed

Wilkinson Mazzeo Law

  • Work with a lot of creatives, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, startups, causes etc.
  • Offer one free hour of legal advice for women business owners.
  • Based in San Diego, but work all over.
  • Why have a Creative Services Agreement?
    • Professionalism, clarity, guidance, ownership and exit
    • If you have clients under a previous CSA and then revise it, you must use language that the old one is void with new CSA.
  • Copyright 101
    • Necessary for copyright protection:
      • Fixed in a tangible medium (written, recorded, etc)
      • Original (originated with the author)
      • Minimal creativity (low threshold)
    • Automatically applies:
      • No registration necessary, unless you want to bring a lawsuit.
      • Takes 6-8 months to obtain.
  • Trademark 101
    • Rights are created through first use, not registration.
    • Must act as a “source identifier” for your goods/services.
    • For registration:
      • Must be distinctive.
      • Must be likely to cause consumer confusion.
      • TM for unregistered and circle R for registered.
  • Ownership
    • Work for hire (They own it.)
    • License (They use but you own.)
  • Exit
    • Includes what happens if you reach an impasse with your client and can no longer work together.
      • Kill fee or 30 days, etc. Includes options for both sides.
      • Also include right/option to use for other things.
  • CSA should include
    • Payment
    • Timeline(s)
    • Point of contact
    • Rounds of revisions (usually two, then fee)
    • Ownership of work product
    • Satisfaction clause
    • Indemnity
    • Expense reimbursement
    • Severability and non-waiver
    • Termination
  • Resources on their website

Meg Long, KnowYourMoneyHoney.com

  • Why money stuff matters:
    • You won’t know when to celebrate win.
    • You’ll be paralyzed by decisions.
    • You won’t know how to solve business problems.
    • You’ll have a scarcity mindset.
    • Your creativity suffers.
    • You’ll default to anxiety.
  • Managing your money is part of good self-care.
  • Deep down, money is really about identity.
  • Money is inherently tied to emotion.
  • Find a friend you can be real about money with.

Lindsey Witmer Collins, Create Your Compass

  • Track your cash.
  • Track your time.
  • Track your agreements.
    • Do what you say you’re going to do.
  • Honor yourself.
    • Listen to your body.
    • Trust yourself.
    • Listen to your body.
  • Honor your process.
    • Be cool with the ups and downs.
  • Be someone with a solutions mindset.
    • Be helpful.
    • Opportunity for learning and leadership
  • Get community.
    • Invest in it.


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I’m Headed to The Yellow Conference

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I’m excited to be heading to The Yellow Conference this week! It’s my first time at this event, which is dedicated to creative and entrepreneurial women. And as an added bonus, it takes place in my self-adopted second home of Southern California. Should be an awesome event!

Follow along with me:
Instagram

Twitter

I’ll have notes and quotes for you next week!


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A Salute to Olympic Fanatics…Like Me

Watching the Olympics“If you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter.” – from the movie Grease

Words to live by.

While the world has spent the past two weeks celebrating the 10,000 amazing Olympians that have converged upon Rio, there have been others of us who have dedicated ourselves to the watching of the Olympic Games. And, sure, those athletes deserve their time in the sun. They’ve worked hard to get where they are now, at the top of their game and the peak of performance. They are absolutely worth watching. However, no one seems to talk about the stamina and endurance it takes just to keep up with the Olympics! But I know, and maybe you do too.

  • We don’t record the Olympics unless we have to. We’d rather see it along with everyone else to “oohhh” and “ahhh” in unison.
  • Timing your bathroom breaks and meals just perfectly so as not to miss a moment.
  • While inspired by these incredible people to work out, we instead make the hard choice to order pizza. Because, don’t they need us there cheering for them?
  • Live Tweeting, Instagramming and posting on Facebook at just the right time, with inspiration, wittiness or sarcasm. You understand that its an art.
  • Bringing yourself to an insane level of sleep deprivation because you’ve stayed up late every night, and still rise early to watch the interviews at updates on the Today Show.
  • Crying, laughing, celebrating and mourning with all those athletes on a daily basis as events progress.
  • Googling countries you never knew existed, and are still a bit unsure about because you can’t figure out how to spell them.
  • Checking the websites and apps to stay current on other events because now you regret not buying that expanded sports cable package.
  • Reading up on the new sports, forgetting what some of the sports are and how they’re played, and trying to figure out which sports you might be good at.
  • Getting caught up in all the personal and amazing stories, and what it took to get to the Olympics.
  • Fighting off the desire to jump on a plane to the Olympics because all the commentators, visitors and TV anchors are having the time of their life.
  • Feeling a sense of patriotism, while also being so excited for other countries who overcame heartaches, won their first medals and broke personal records.
  • Deciding which country you’ll move to with low athlete counts so you can finally achieve your own dream of being an Olympian.
  • Judging the judges when they make the wrong call.
  • Ignoring friends and family because you’ve got this other huge thing to worry about.
  • Generating your Olympic Spirit at just the right time. It takes practice!
  • Quitting your full-time job in order to stay home and binge-watch the Games. (Just me?)

It’s exhausting, both physically and emotionally. But we’re in it for the long-haul (of two weeks).

So, I salute you, Olympics fanatic. I’m with you. I’m one of you.

And now I have to go because Primetime is about to start.

One more full day, then we’ll all be together-ish again in two years. Get some sleep! And go, #TeamUSA!