IMAGE IS OF A PERSON WITH A SUITCASE WAKING OUT INTO THE OUTDOORS WITH A BEAUTIFUL SKYSCAPE IN FRONT OF THEM.
IMAGE IS OF A PERSON WITH A SUITCASE WAKING OUT INTO THE OUTDOORS WITH A BEAUTIFUL SKYSCAPE IN FRONT OF THEM.

I cultivate a strong boundary between work and not-work. So when a client introduced me to the concept of an email sabbatical, it felt superfluous. It seemed like overkill. And, as a point of pride, I had to take on the challenge! As I prepared for a trip in late December, I set up my email system for a full sabbatical. It seemed like a lot of steps when an out-of-office would be simpler. But I soon forgot that effort as I closed my laptop and packed my bags for my trip.

The first part of my trip included the hectic hurry-up-and-wait of air travel followed by the joyful reunion with familiar faces. Eventually, I had a moment of down-time to myself. Out of pure habit, I turned to my phone as I had many times in my trip so far. But this time I started running the circuit: check phone game, scroll facebook until bored, check phone game again, play other phone game, see if anything new is happening on facebook, check email… and that’s when it hit me. There were no emails in my inbox and there hadn’t been for more than a day. …

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IMAGE SHOWS THE TITLE OF THE ARTICLE OVERLAID ON AN IMAGE OF A PERSON IN A FOREST TRYING TO DECIDE BETWEEN TWO PATHS: ONE DARK AND ONE LIGHT.

As a business owner, it’s vital to make wise decisions. And this is something so few of us have confidence in. How do we know we’re making a wise decision? A lot of my work is helping people process and come to a decision. Some might think the business coach has the answer, but actually, it’s the process that has power. I’m going to spill the beans and tell you how to make good decisions all by yourself. (But I’ll still be here if you need me ❤)

Background: Internal Regulation

You have three internal states of regulation. You might be familiar with some of them. For our purposes, I’m going to call them “freeze”, “fight/flight” and “wise-mind.” You are probably familiar with being in these states even if you’ve not brought awareness to them before. It’s often easiest to identify these states as felt experiences in the body. Thanks to the connection between mind and body, this also indicates a shift in mental state. …

Content Marketing When Self-Employed

image shows the inside of a subway car, viewed down the length with a few passengers onboard
image shows the inside of a subway car, viewed down the length with a few passengers onboard

“Strangers on the internet” is the white whale of marketing for many self-employed people. I notice a tendency to discredit when a friend or a friend-of-a-friend hires you. It’s as if a true “stranger” is the holy grail and legitimizes your business. I promise you this is a fiction. You can have a legitimate business without any clients who are “real” strangers. And, since you’re curious, let’s explore the gold-standard method for getting strangers on the internet to trust and hire you. In the marketing field, this tactic is called “content marketing.”

Content marketing is very appropriate for my typical client. Like them, your business involves you helping people. To help people you either know or have a perspective that they don’t. This difference between you and your client is what makes content marketing work. …

You know you need them, but they’re just so darn overwhelming!

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IMAGE SHOWS AN IMAGE A MAN EXAMINING GRAPHS ON TABLET COMPUTER.

Ya’ll… I went looking for an article on the basics of website analytics (a.k.a. “Google Analytics”) and boy golly I could not find anything that was *actually* BASIC. Yes, it’s complex. And it really doesn’t need to be that big of a deal. Let’s explore all the complexities of analytics and hone-in on something actionable.

Develop a Question

Data is meaningless without a purpose, so we’re going to start with the purpose. Let’s start with an ambiguous goal like: “know how my website is doing.” With this goal and a glance at analytics, you’ll become instantly overwhelmed. Because it’s ALL THERE. Our computer overlords collect SO MUCH DATA. You can know ALL about the people who visit your website right down to the IP address. …

IMAGE SHOWS AN IMAGE OF A WOMAN WITH ARMS OUTSTRETCHED, GLEEFULLY BEING SHOWERED IN CONFETTI.
IMAGE SHOWS AN IMAGE OF A WOMAN WITH ARMS OUTSTRETCHED, GLEEFULLY BEING SHOWERED IN CONFETTI.

Do self-employed people work 8 hour days? Plenty of us don’t. I appreciate that Organized Labor introduced the concept of “Eight hours’ labour, Eight hours’ recreation, Eight hours’ rest”. This was a significant improvement over +10 hour days. And, it’s still a wild generalization that’s not a perfect fit for everybody.

A New Measurement

In wage work, hours matter. In self-employment, it’s often more complicated than counting hours. Some tasks involve more stress or emotional effort than others even if they take the same amount of time. Getting started at self-employment involves learning new skills surrounding operating a business. Learning and practicing new things takes more energy. …

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THE ARTICLE TITLE OVERLAID ON AN IMAGE OF A PERSON WALKING DOWN A COBBLESTONE STREET.

We’re having a bit of an awakening in this country, especially among white folks. Many of us are coming into a deeper understanding of racism experienced by people of color. I’m pleased to see anti-racism non-fiction books on bestsellers lists and Netflix streaming a Black Lives Matter collection. And I know that these are just starting points. These actions build awareness, after which we must turn that awareness into action.

As our awareness grows, we need to know what we are working towards rather than what we are trying to avoid. On an individual level, this means “not-doing X” won’t be as successful as “doing Y in place of X.” …

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Last month I talked about the foundational part of being productive: we need to be clear on why we’re being productive and trim that to-do list until it’s only the things that actually matter to us. Once we’ve got that to-do list honed and focused, how do we become a well-oiled machine of productivity? Here’s how I do it.

A Well Oiled Machine?

Well, first off, becoming a “well-oiled machine” is an unachievable goal. You aren’t a machine. The human brain is based in reward systems. If something feels good or creates a positive response in your brain, you’ll do it again. You can’t just sit down and churn out checkmarks on your to-do list. Your brain is constantly weighing options with your needs in any given moment. If you need joy, relief, exercise, food, entertainment… any of those might win against a given to-do list item. …

How to Motivate with Your Heart

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Title of the article superimposed over an image of a woman sitting on a bed working on a laptop.

Peers tell me that I’m quite good at being productive, and I can see what they mean. But there are limits to how productive even the most productive humans can be. The present moment, with Stay at Home orders and a global pandemic, is an immensely challenging time to be productive. I think this is a great moment to explore what productivity means and why it matters.

Let’s dive into a foundational element of productivity: WHY do we need to be productive. …

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An image of a kitten with an expression that might reflect how you feel about starting a business.

Recently I got the chance to sit down and talk with Julia. I’d like to share her story because I think you might recognize yourself in it. Julia has spent her career working in early childhood development and put her career on pause when she became a mom. She has a passion for helping parents and children to interact more harmoniously. Her past jobs in this field were fulfilling and successful, but now she wants to be able to have time with her own kids.

She wants to contribute to society and have the sense of purpose that comes along with it, but not for 40 hours a week. Since employers tend to want someone in full-time positions, it makes sense that Julia might start her own business. This would let her focus on her passion, and strike her desired balance between family and career. Underneath this pragmatic and reasonable thought process, Julia’s terror prevents her from starting her own business. …

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Adorable little black girl wearing a shirt that reads “Future Leader.”

Opening disclaimer: As a white person, I am most qualified to address other white people. So that’s who I’m writing this for: I’m writing this for white people. If you’re white and care about bringing about racial equity, you are reading the right post! (For my POC readership: I welcome your feedback! I still have plenty to learn!)

Black History Month might seem like an unusual choice of topic for what is essentially a business blog. But is it really? How much do you know about black-owned businesses? How many black entrepreneurs can you call to mind? (A “list” that starts and ends with Oprah is not good enough.) If any average American can’t do this, then Black History Month is a necessary topic for businesses to take on. …

About

Maggie Karshner

Maggie is a business coach who helps launch and grow self-employed businesses. Learn how she could help you at https://www.maggiekarshner.com/

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