Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


Leave a comment

2019 In Review

Kristi Porter's 2019 in ReviewIs anyone else still finding it hard to believe that we’re halfway through February of 2020? A new year, a new decade. Here we are.

Yet, I’m still writing 2019 on everything. Still settling in. Anyone else?

And, I don’t know about you, but I’m still reflecting on last year. It’s super easy to plunge head-long into moving forward, but to properly steward what’s ahead, I need a good grasp on what is behind. I need learn its lessons, so I can avoid the same mistakes.

Well, who am I kidding? There’s probably some of that in my future anyway, as hard-headed as I am, but I’m gonna try.

Here are some of last year’s highlights and lessons:

HEALTH

If you’re new around here, I’ve had chronic health issues since April 2012. Most of them stem from severe adrenal fatigue, but that same year I also got mono and had my gallbladder removed. Dealing with all of these things within a few months of each other devastated my immune system, and I’ve been trying to rebuild it ever since. Additionally, since I’ve had health problems for so long, it’s caused other issues now and again, such as with my thyroid.

So, yep, I get to deal with the general peskiness of getting older along with this kind of junk. Not fun.

Anyway, I try and treat everything naturally. It’s more time-consuming and certainly expensive, but for things like adrenal fatigue, there is no pill. And, when using medication, you’re also primarily treating symptoms anyway, not root issues.

But that’s how I got here. It’s involved a lot of natural treatments, and a whole lot of supplements.

One thing that went well for my health last year was my supplements. We’re always fiddling with them and trying new ones. And I feel like we hit a good (but expensive) mix last year. I certainly still have a lot of ups and downs, but overall, I noticed an improvement—and that’s very good news. I’ll take any improvements I can get.

Also, I started using the Noom app last year. Due to my health issues, it’s harder for me to lose weight, so it’s been a real struggle, both internally and externally. And, of course, I have very little energy on a lot of days, which means exercise is almost nonexistent. But after I got my supplements in good order, I felt like it was time to try again.

I’ve given Noom a try and lost about 12 pounds in the last four months. It’s a slow process, but I have to admit, it’s good to see some movement on the scale and in my clothes. I’m going to keep at it. (My link saves you 20% if you want to try it.)

All in all, it’s progress for my health, and that’s a very good thing.

PERSONAL

Honestly, this is the part of my life that gets the least attention. For better or worse, that’s how it is for me, at least for now.

Since I’m self-employed and work from home, my job takes up a lot of my time and energy, and most days, there’s not a lot left over. I have incredible friends, but I don’t get to see them all that often. Weekends are usually about rest because of working long hours and needing to recover for the sake of my health before the next work week starts.

To some people, that may sound sad. To others, highly relatable. To me, it is what it is.

Anytime I get together with friends, they tend to reiterate a lot of what I’m saying, even though many of them have spouses and kids. People, in general, seem disconnected. It’s become a little cliche to say that we even though we live in a highly-connected world, many people feel disconnected—but I still find it to be mostly true from the conversations I have.

I’m grateful for every time I get to see family and friends, but those are small moments throughout the year.

TRAVEL

Travel is a part of both my personal and work life, so I’m sandwiching it in-between. Travel is one of my absolute favorite things, but I didn’t get to do much of it last year.

2018 was a BIG travel year for me (England/Ireland/Scotland and cross-country by Amtrak, to name a few), so I needed to reign it in last year. Plus, pretty much all of my travel points were gone, ha!

So, last year, I took quick trips to Blue Ridge, Birmingham, and Chattanooga for my quarterly work retreats, and of course, I went to Texas for the holidays as usual, but that’s about it.

I’m not quite sure what 2020 has in store for travel just yet, but I certainly hope I can squeeze in a few more trips this year.

WORK

As someone who is self-employed, this is where I focus a lot of my time. I often work long hours, and it’s certainly not filled with long lunches, trips to the beach, and doing whatever I want—no matter what many people advertise. Again, maybe one day. 🙂

I talk to a lot of entrepreneurs, and my journey seems to be fairly typical. Last year marked three years in business for me, and it’s been quite a ride! According to myself and friends in similar situations, the first two-ish years is all about holding on for dear life and saying yes to everything possible.

The third-ish year is about getting your business model solidified, learning what you like to work on, making sure you have good systems and process in place to keep you moving forward. That’s certainly true for me.

In 2019, I took three online classes for my business. I’m a bit of a compulsive course-buyer, so this was me showing some restraint. 😉

The first class, The Blueprint Model, was about becoming a better business owner. I freely admit that I’m someone who turned a marketable skill (writing) into a business, not someone who had a good head for business and tried to figure out what I should do. The Blueprint Model really helped me with the financial side, which is what I really needed, but also just helped me understand the business-side of my business better. That meant I became a more confident business owner.

The second class was called Partnership Accelerator, and only lasted a month. But it was an extremely packed month! Because my word for 2019 was Synergy, I wanted to work on my understand of partnerships and really use those to my business advantage. The class was really good, but different than I thought it would be. So, it required a change in expectations. Overall, though, I learned a lot and was able to apply that knowledge going forward. And I’m still learning a lot from that company.

The third class was totally unplanned, to be honest, but ended up being awesome. One of the things I decided that I wanted to work on in the latter half of the year was Search Engine Optimization (SEO). That’s because it is a total grind to constantly go out and find new clients. I wanted more clients to come to me, and SEO is a good way to do that.

I heard Meg Casebolt on a podcast, and she was the first person who actually made SEO easy to understand for me. So, I took her free SEOctober challenge, and low and behold, ended up getting a new client via Google that same month! As you can imagine, I was hooked. I poured myself into the challenge, and ending up winning a spot into her Attract & Activate course. I’ve learned a ton over the past couple of months from her, and am excited to now implement this strategy into my business.

Outside of those classes, yes, I did actually manage to get work done. In fact, it was my most profitable year yet! Only, by about $1,100, but I’ll take it, ha!

These three classes, sustaining relationships, and lots of networking were the key to my success last year. And I think they laid a really solid foundation for 2020. I’m still reaping their benefits for sure, and hope to improve on them. (More on this soon!)

Last year was a pivotable year for my company, Signify, and I hope that I can keep up the momentum going. I’m certainly trying hard.

CONCLUSION

So, that’s some insight into last year. As always, it was busy and went quickly. But I’m grateful for the lessons learned, new experiences, and certainly, the improvements along the way.

How was 2019 for you?


Leave a comment

My 2019 Reading List

Books I Read in 2019

The last, few years since I became an entrepreneur have been wonderful in many ways, but my reading has certainly tapered off, which I don’t like. When I had a long commute, I could easily get through audiobooks in the car, but I’ve had to be a lot more intentional since working from home.

In 2019, I wanted to recommit to reading more, and that meant Kindle. Believe it or not, I don’t actually love to read. I love to learn, and that’s why Audible was so important to me. It made it so much easier to read books while driving—and there’s a lot of that here in Atlanta.

However, if I wanted to read more last year, it meant I’d have to re-commit to Kindle. I’ve tried to get into the habit of reading about a chapter per night, which has been good for my bedtime routine. Overall, I’ve enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and am even giving Kindle Unlimited a try.

I didn’t really increase the number of books I read much from my total count in 2018, but I’m making progress. I think 2020 will be a good year for reading, though!

“Leaders are readers” and “leaders are learners” are two messages that have been instilled in me over the years, and I know reading also makes me a better writer. So, as much as I enjoy podcasts, I want to make sure reading stays on my radar. And that means being thoughtful about it.

Of course, it’s never as much about the quantity of books as it is the quality. Luckily, I found some terrific options. Take a look for yourself . . .

 

Books I read in 2019:

 

Here are some of my favorite podcasts from last year:

 

I was even on a few podcasts last year:

 

Need more suggestions?

2018 Reading List

2017 Reading List

2016 Reading List

2015 Reading List

2014 Reading List

2013 Reading List

2012 Reading List

2011 Reading List

 

Short on time, too? Try Blinkist, which recaps popular books in 10 minutes!

Enjoy!

 

PS: Some links are affiliate links, which means I get a small kick back for introducing awesome people to awesome things. I only promote what I love. 


Leave a comment

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Business Deal Roundup

Hey, everyone!mike-petrucci-131817

I just sent a roundup of my favorite Black Friday / Cyber Monday business deals to my business email list, but I thought the information might be relevant to some of you as well.

If you are a solopreneur, small business owner, or key employee, these sales might just be right up your alley. You’ll see offers for:

  • Easy-to-use legal documents
  • A conference
  • Online tools
  • Website domains
  • Printed materials
  • Financial stuff
  • Book skimming
  • Email marketing
  • Social media scheduling

Read the email here.

Happy shopping!

And don’t forget about Small Business Saturday, the new Shop for Good Sunday, and #GivingTuesday as well!


Leave a comment

7 Lessons From the First Year of Business

7 Lessons From the First Year of BusinessI still have a hard time believing it, but I launched my business, Signify, on July 1st of last year! Some days it really does seem like yesterday, and others feel more like a seasoned pro. Regardless, it’s been an intense learning experience.

I created Signify out of a desire to help my friends. I knew people with small nonprofits and purpose-driven for-profits and social enterprises that needed someone like me who could lend another set of hands and breakdown marketing and communications for them. They cared deeply about their mission, since it was the driving force of their organization, but marketing and communications weren’t their strong suite. They knew they needed to look and sound more professional in order to get noticed and grow, but they didn’t have time, or maybe even the know-how.

So, I stepped in. I’d already been freelancing, giving them advice, volunteering, and helping them as best I could along the way, but with this as my full-time business, I was going to be able to help them even more.

Many of these relationships became my first clients, and they’ve even stuck around for multiple projects, or referred their friends to me. It’s been a wonderful way to sustain and grow my business. Whether they need writing, consulting, or strategy help—and most often a combination of all three—these organizations have been a privilege to serve. I wanted to assist cause-focused organizations who were doing great things in the world. They were already making a difference, and I knew I could help them create a bigger impact.

It’s been an incredible journey, and I’m eager to start year two.

But first, here are seven lessons I learned from these first twelve months.


Leave a comment

Business Boutique: Notes & Quotes

fullsizerender-14I totally forgot to post about this event after attending in November. Maybe that’s because I feel like I sat with it so long, which is a good thing. One of the facets that I really liked about this event was that the notebook also served as a workbook. So, I’ve had it sitting out since coming back from Nashville just waiting to finish my homework. I’d intentionally set it aside for this year’s personal retreat (more on that soon!), so really, I think my conference experience just ended.

Christy Wright’s Business Boutique is a conference aimed for Christian women entrepreneurs. She started as a Dave Ramsey coach and speaker, and has now moved into this niche, which I believe will thrive. Business Boutique is extremely practical, which I appreciated most of all. And one of the most interesting pieces of the event to me was that it’s aimed at dreamers, starters and builders. The “dreamers” were the people I found most fascinating. I’d never seen a conference aimed at people who had no idea what they want to do! I talked to several of these ladies, and they confirmed that they either had a super vague idea (“I want to sell something online.”) to no idea (“I am open to anything. I just want a change.”) There were also a wide variety of women there from young moms looking for a career or something to contribute to their family, to new or established business owners, to retirees looking to begin again. It was kinda fun to hear the range of stories, backgrounds and ideas.

Outside of this two-day annual event in Nashville, she also has a really good podcast and a series of one-day events around the U.S. during 2017. Her events are extremely affordable, and a lot of fun. I’d definitely recommend this conference to other Christian women entrepreneurs!

But for now, here are just a few of my take-aways:

Christy Wright:

  • Your dream should be so big that if God’s not in it, you’ll fail.
  • If you set your goals before the why, dreams, vision, and mission statement, your goals have no soul.
  • You’ll be the most successful when you stay in your strengths.
  • Stay true to yourself by building your business around your personal values.
  • When talking about your business, focus on the benefit to the customer, not the features of the business. Start with why.
  • If you don’t believe in the goodness of business and making money, you’ll never have a good business or make money.
  • Turning your hobby into a business requires a mind-set shift. Its no longer a part of you. The business is its own thing.
  • You teach others how to value you. If you don’t value your work, no one else will.
  • Faith and fear require you to believe in something that hasn’t happened yet.
  • Fear doesn’t mean you’re doing something bad. It means your doing something bold.
  • Anything that tears you down is not from God.
  • Creating balance in your life comes down to what you spend your time on.
  • Stress and anxiety are caused when there is a disconnect between our values and our behavior.
  • Life balance is simply living from your values.
  • Jesus wasn’t focused on the need. He was focused on the assignment.

Dave Ramsey:

  • Goals must be specific.
  • Goals must be measurable.
  • Goals must have a time limit.
  • Goals must be yours.
  • Goals must be in writing.

Rachel Cruz:

  • Quite the comparisons.
  • Steer clear of debt.
  • Make a plan for your money.
  • Think before you spend
  • Save like you mean it.
  • Give a little…until you can give a lot.
  • Talk about money, even when its hard.

Christine Caine:

  • Impossible is where God starts.
  • You can’t change your past, but you can change your future.
  • Just be willing.
  • God has a plan, purpose and destiny for your life.
  • God always uses unlikely people.
  • It’s the job of the people of God to carry the message of God to their generation.
  • You’ve got to make a decision that what God did for you is bigger than what someone else did to you.
  • A word you’ll never find in the Bible is retirement.
  • Leave a gap in your business that only God can fill.
  • You’re going to have to take a step of faith to step into your God-given gifts.
  • Do not say no when God says go!

Hillary Scott:

  • One door closing is not all of them closing. Resilience and perseverance are required.
  • Have wise counsel and mentors.
  • Be humble enough to ask questions.
  • Remember you’re defined not by others, but by Who created you.
  • “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – CS Lewis

Amy Porterfield:

  • Social media works when you know your ideal customer identity.
  • Social media works when you create original content that serves your ideal customer.
  • Your content should be aligned with, but separate from, your product.
  • Social media works when you ignite action.
  • What does your ideal audience need to experience, be aware of, or believe in in order to want or need your product/service?

Nicole Walters:

  • Sales is not about pushing; it’s about influencing.
  • Sales comes from confidence and confidence is like a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.
  • Be kind, but firm. Be specific.
  • It’s your God-given duty to share your gifts with the world.

Donald Miller:

  • Demonstrate empathy and authority.
  • Solve internal and external problems.
  • Give customers a plan.
  • Make your call to action clear.
  • Define how you will improve people’s lives.