Oh Hey there, September! Making videos, and other fun stuff!

How did I not blog even once in August? Probably because August=Fun. That's how. 

But for real, I've got to get back to it. So, let's talk about my business. I made these videos about two months ago. I release one each week, and you know what? People like them. They actually watch them. Mind blown. 

But I was so nervous to put them up. I worried that people might think it was unprofessional. I worried that I might say something stupid or wrong. I was so nervous, but all I have heard is positive. Frankly, I have realized that people, especially of our generation, like videos because they are easy to follow, take little time, and convey some personality with the information. 

I am so glad to decided to take the plunge and do these videos. In case you haven't seen them, this link will take you to them. I am cooking up my next little series, which will be primarily a game, and I can't wait. Stay tuned! And comment below if you are a local business that would want to be in a marketing video with me :-) 

Wunderlist is WONDERFUL

 wunderlist.com

wunderlist.com

Does seeing this icon make your heart beat a little faster too? If not, it SHOULD, and I will tell you why. I am a list maker, I love making lists. I live on lists, lots and lots of lists. If you're like me, between kids and home and dinner and work and bills and everything else, it's hard to keep everything straight and carrying around 500 pieces of paper for each different list gets impractical, not to mention the impossibility of any amount of consecutive time for list making. ENTER WUNDERLIST. 

Wunderlist is a list making app. I know it sounds mundane, but this little beauty saves my bacon every day. The app allows you to create various lists that you can manage on an on-going basis, allowing you to add and redeem any list item at any time. It also has a history for each list which lets you look back and verify list items. The other really cool part of this is that you can share lists. So my husband is on my grocery list, it's shared between us, allowing either of us to pick up the listed items when at the store etc. 

 Jogo De Damas

Jogo De Damas

Fortunately, I found a picture for this with all the lists in a different language, ha ha, but you get the idea. The app builders also included a pleasant "ding ding" when you check off an item from your list. I am not ashamed to say that my brain lets out a hearty cheer every time it hears that "ding ding." 

The fact that I can make an ongoing list of what I need to do at work is extremely helpful for my workflow. My mind processes more like a spider web than a straight line; as a result, while in the middle of other things, thoughts pop into my head, and having this app on both my phone and my computer allows me to validate that thought by putting it in a list. This allows me to get right back to work rather than interrupting my flow. I love it. LOVE IT. In fact, I'd be lost without it. 

(Disclaimer: Wunderlist has no idea I wrote this and certainly didn't pay me in any way shape or form to write it. I just love Wanderlust enough to dedicate my very own blog post to it :-))

Believing your 1.0 is good enough.

  MeeGo 1.0

MeeGo 1.0

When I did my undergrad at BYU, I took a really difficult writing class. It was required for my major, and I had heard horror stories about it. So, I went in expecting it to be miserable. Every week there was a writing assignment due, and it was no walk in the park, but early on, the professor encouraged us to not overthink each assignment, and instead to just read the description, get an idea, and write. He explained that often students got so hung up on wanting their writing to be perfect from the start that they ended up not writing at all. Revision is where all the perfection came. I took this principle to heart, and it saved me so much time and frustration. I have come to call this the version 1.0. 

In starting a business, I am realizing that there is a lot of version 1.0. I often feel that desire to have things perfect from the start creep in. For instance, I have recently been creating videos answering estate planning questions. There are like 5,000 things that could be improved or better in these videos, but I am just going for it, and getting them out there. In time, I can revise and make them perfect, but for now, I just need to continue in the direction of building my business, by striving to do my very best rolling out a 1.0 version of everything that I need to be functional and attract clients to me. And that is exactly what I am trying to do. All the time, like every day, I feel the urge to hunker down and get really really obsessed and revision-y about a particular aspect of my business here or there, but in the grand checks and balances of building a business, getting a 1.0 version functional in all the necessary parts is far more important than perfection in any single category. 

5 Tips to Overcoming the Loneliness of Starting a Business

Starting your own business can feel like an extremely solitary experience. You don't have co-workers. In some professions, you can't really discuss your clients to anyone. And often, the work you need to accomplish is mostly just work that you are going to be doing on your own. Law is very much that way, even if you work at a firm, a lot of what you are doing, you are doing alone. In fact, probably most "work" has some solitary quality to it. However, when you are starting your own business, you really are usually doing EVERYTHING by yourself and that can get quite lonely. It can also mean a lack of success. I'm a big proponent of the Barbara Streisand song from Funny Girl, "People who need People are the luckiest people..." Video below if you have no idea what I'm talking about :-) 

 

So I wanted to tell you 5 tips I've found that have worked for me so far in not going crazy with the solitary-ness of starting my own business. 

1. Find a group of other small business starters. I think you call these people entrepreneurs :-) Ha. It's extremely comforting to have other people who share your feelings of frustration and worry and also understand what it's like to be where you are right now, because they are going through the same thing. For this group, it really doesn't matter if you are of the same profession or not. In fact, I think that there is a lot to be said for being in a group of folks not of your profession. They'll have ideas you've never even thought of. This does not have to be a group of people that meet in person. The beauty of social media is that we can entirely side step that. Most of the groups I've joined have been free. I did have to ask my way into them, but hey, small price to pay. So that's my first tip.

2. Find some Mentors. So here in Utah, your first year of law practice, you are assigned a fellow lawyer mentor. So I am required to have at least one. But I have found great help in having several mentors. In fact, I have sort of outlined in my head, all the areas in which I need help: networking, marketing, planning, systematizing, building a business, law practice, and on and on. Anytime I go to anything or meet anyone, ever, I have this list in my head, and I am always trying to fill those needs with mentors. While some mentorships will be formal, others will be "friendship" mentorships. These are some of my favorites. Also, some mentors will fulfill multiple of your needs. You'll also find that as you seek out mentors, you yourself will be developing the skills and recognizing other skills that you already have that will allow you to mentor others. Currently, I have 5-6 mentors, and I am always looking for more ;-)   

3. Make friends within your profession. I know this probably sounds crazy because this means befriending your competition, but making friends within your profession and particular area of expertise will give you a solid network of folks to ask questions to and learn from that you would not get any other way. It also may result in business for you, because eventually someone somewhere isn't going to be able to provide a service to someone for some reason, and you'll be right there in the forefront of their minds. 

4. Look for professionals whose service overlap or complements the service you are providing. This may seem obvious, but for instance, right now, I am partnering with a financial planner to present seminars, because the pool of clients we want to attract is similar. They all want to make a plan for the present and future that ensures financial stability and protection for their families no matter what the future holds. Awesome. Because we share this, we can learn from each other, market together, and attract a bigger pool of people than either of us would ever draw on our own. 

5. Be bold and honest. This one is so hard, but I think it is really important. You have to be bold. I recently attended a workshop at the Utah State Bar. One of the presenters was obviously kick butt at networking, and this is an area I need help in specifically because I have two little boys to manage at home, and I simply can't spare the time to go to everything, so I was hoping she could help me navigate the most beneficial networking events for the time I had budgeted for networking. Was I nervous to do this? Yes! But being completely honest and upfront about what I was looking for from her and not beating around the bush allowed her to know whether or not she could help me out or not. And now this is turning into a wonderful mentorship for me!

Maybe not everyone needs people, but I definitely feel that in business, you need people, and that people are gonna make you lucky and help you navigate the times when you feel quite alone in business. 

Mixing Business with Pleasure

So I am learning a whole lot about business right now. A lot, a lot, a lot. But it's awesome, and also overwhelming (are you tired of me using this word yet? I'm tired of feeling this way...), but mostly awesome. It's never a bad thing when your overwhelmed with great choices. There are just so many awesome things to do that I sometimes wonder which is the best business thing to do first, but I am learning that trying to do a bunch of things as once is kind of business in a nutshell. 

In a training I recently had, the presenter said, "Having a great business doesn't depend on the ONE thing you are doing right. It's the ELEVEN things you are doing right." In other words, I don't think that business really progresses in a linear fashion, you push and pull and dive yourself into 11 different directions that are all proven to yield results and slam-bam you have yourself a successful business. So that's what I am doing right now, pushing and pulling and diving into so many directions that sometimes I wonder if I it's working, but that's the awesome thing about what I want to tell you about today. 

Have you heard of MASTERMIND groups??????? 

The internets is going to provide you with a different definition of Mastermind groups, but I'll just give you mine right here. Mastermind group = the business equivalent of the Biggest Loser. Essentially, a small group of business folk get together, the ideal would be to have some seasoned business folk with some middle business folk with some beginning business folk, and you all get real VULNERABLE for a minute. Because being vulnerable makes it work. So you say what isn't happening in your business that you want to have happen, and then everyone trouble shoots that problem and IT IS INCREDIBLE WHAT WISDOM RESULTS and then YOU GO WORK YOUR TAIL OFF. Because a bunch of people all being vulnerable and all being business-y and all striving for a common goal just makes it gel, and it's awesome. And you WANT to work your tail off because you have direction and encouragement and purpose. 

So even though we have an ongoing societal joke about the divide between business and pleasure, for me at least, that gap is disappearing more and more all the time. Creating a business is ever so satisfying when you let others help you on your way. 

 


Overwhelm

Starting a business is a lot of work. Period. Add two small children to the mix, and the overwhelm-ometer is almost always off the charts. There is so much to do. ALL. THE. TIME. And I often feel like I gain an inch and lose a foot. You know what I'm saying? It is incredible that you may spend 15-20 minutes just trying to get shoes on your children, but those same children can bring your furniture to it's knees in a matter of seconds. I give you Exhibit A: 

You're probably thinking that the couch wasn't doing too hot even before the artistic additions, and I would agree with you, but I would also add that there is a reason we call this couch "the family" couch and only have our company sit on our other couch, pre-emptive damage control friends A.K.A I gave up on saving that couch ages ago...

And Exhibit B:  

And Exhibit C...

But this is nothing new. Toddlers for centuries have been tagging up their homesteads, cave drawings much? And yet, it's still frustrating. And it is in these moments, these exasperating moments that I most want to give up because OVERWHELM. But I feel like these are the moments that define and refine what I am trying to do AND why I'm trying to do it AND just who I'm doing it for, and then it doesn't seem quite as overwhelming after all. 

Ouch

I was so excited about all the positive feedback I got on my blog that I couldn't wait for Monday to make another post. I knew just what I would write, and then this happened...

 Today. See how the purple is all down my nail?

Today. See how the purple is all down my nail?

I was just getting out of my car trying to be quiet as a mouse with the door so that my baby wouldn't wake up, and I guess mission accomplished. For future reference, car doors shut most quietly when there's a bit of flesh between those pesky metal parts. OUCH. The worst part is that I couldn't even scream or shout because SLEEPING BABY. Anyway, it just got worse and worse. Like so bad that the horse size IB profin wasn't making a dent. I couldn't sleep, laying down made the pain that much more intense. So I filled a mixing bowl with ice water put it in my lap and tried to sleep, on the couch, sitting up, with my hand in cold water. Just your typical self inflicted fraternity hazing over here. Anyway, by this morning the purple had traveled even further down the nail.

 Yesterday right after the incident.

Yesterday right after the incident.

So I called the doctor and got in first thing this morning. The doctor took a hot cauterizer needle and melted a little hole into my nail to release the pressure, blood, and other nastiness under my nail. And now my thumb is in a splint wrapped in gauze and that sticky tape stuff. Anyway, this all kind took over my life for a little bit, but hopefully we are on the path to healing. In other good news, pretty sure I singlehanded met our yearly deductible with this little stunt, so now I can just get crazy with medical procedures the rest of the year ;-) Living life in the fast lane!

Here's the thing though, on Saturday, I spent the day writing up my own estate plan for my family, and I was super surprised by my experience. So, here's a little highlights list:

1. I didn't realize just how many opinions I have about how my kids should be raised. It probably seems obvious that as the parent of my children, I would have lots of opinions about parenting those children, but until I had to sit down and actually write out instructions for someone else to follow in my absence, I just didn't think about it. There were more mainstream things like which holidays I would like them to participate in and what religion I wanted them to be reared in, but there were also more obscure things like how I don't want my kids buying nice cars in high school or having nice cars provided by someone else. "Beaters or feet-ers." You know what I am saying?  Or I guess they could bike. But you get the idea. And by beaters I mean beater cars, not humans that beat things or other people. (Beaters or feet-ers: really beat-up, old cars or they can walk). This phrase is going to catch on, I just know it.

2. I didn't realize how emotional it would be to write all this out. I CRIED THREE TIMES. At the end of each cry session, I just kept thinking, "Man, I really don't want anyone but us to raise this kiddos." It made me appreciate and realize how much I hope and dream and expect and wish for my children, and just how much I want to see it all. I felt more clear on what goals I have for them, and what steps I feel are necessary to accomplish those goals. I wrote up a big paragraph about where I would want my kids to go to school, the punishments that were okay and not okay, whether I wanted them to have an allowance and on and on. In the end, I felt so grateful that I have all this time with my little ones right now, even when they keep hitting, grabbing, and bumping into my hurty thumb which is now the size of a small gorilla due to the splint and bandage. 

3. I thought about how much I would appreciate instructions like this if I were ever the guardian taking on one of my loved ones' children. I had never thought about how hard it would be to raise someone else's children without any instructions. 

4. Finally, I felt at ease. I don't think I ever consciously recognized that I was stressed about not having a contingency plan in place if something happened to me or my hubby, but I must have because I felt a weight being lifted as I worked through our family plan.

And then after working on this plan for all of Saturday, my little boy picked the movie UP for family movie night, and dear me, that opening sequence, am I right? I was just a puddle of tears. Anyway, that's the post I wanted to share yesterday before my thumb incident. Hope you all are having a good week! 

Anyone have a similar thumb/finger trauma? Anyone else cry through the beginning sequence of UP? Any thoughts or questions about my experience with writing up my plan? Comment below! Also, how cute is it that hearts shoot out on to the screen when you like a blog post on Square Space? 

Rebirth

   Ahhh, college and study abroad and so many life lessons :-) 

  Ahhh, college and study abroad and so many life lessons :-) 

Almost 10 years ago, I was sitting on a small bed, in a small room, very far from home, with a very big ocean between me and my family, in a huge city, with folks speaking a language quite foreign to me, feeling very small and very lonely and wondering where my place was in this big old world of ours. It was in this moment, this solitary moment, that the intents of my heart poured out in a jumble of words full of earnest desire and terrifying vulnerability, but big risks get big rewards EVEN when you're feeling quite small. And that friends, that moment, that's when I knew. I knew for sure, for certain, that I was supposed to become an attorney! 

 

If you're feeling a bit let down after that tremendous introduction, you are not alone. I felt quite let down too. Ha. Attorney? Are you kidding? I wanted to change the world not just gouge folks for money. Ahhh, but perhaps that's just why I was I called to the field? 

 

Well friends, in the last 10 years, a lot has happened. One marriage, and I should add, one still existing and quite happy marriage at that :-), two kids, two degrees, two moves, three years of law school, one particularly painful Bar examination, and a whole heap of tears and laughs and friendships and reflection and more tears and bad grades and good grades and interning and externing and mentoring and menteeing and HERE I AM. Say what? For reals, here I am. A full-fledged, living breathing attorney. 

 THat there is a sworn attorney

THat there is a sworn attorney

And this is where we pick-up with the title of this entry. You see, somewhere, somehow, someway in all of the classes, and the stress, and the late nights, and the early mornings, and middle of the nights, and the aching to be done coupled with the simultaneous fear of being done, and the loans and the loans and the loans, somewhere in that big chasm of higher education and real life, I forgot. Just a little bit here and a little bit there. But, I forgot. I lost myself a bit. My focus, the fact that I am in control of this crazy, awesome, tremendous, incredible, sensational thing called POSSIBILITY.  But I've reunited with possibility and we're starting something new, something exciting, something life changing for me and for my clients too. A rebirth! And not a moment too soon :-)