It’s been a hard month.
Well, that’s not entirely true. The first half of June was wonderful.
The last couple of weeks? Not so much.
I’ll share more details soon, but for now, I’ll just say that I received some difficult news. While I am (and will be) okay, I’m still processing everything, and I appreciate your patience as I do.
(Psssst: New here? I write a monthly recap of my journey to becoming a service-based business owner. Along with my [very honest] highs and lows, I share a helpful tip, trick, and tool of the month. Interested? Sign up to get first access every month!)
Anyway, here are a few (admittedly vague) highs, lows, and learnings from last month.
I’m an introvert, so networking — even the virtual kind — is not my jam.
However, I know the importance of getting involved in one’s community, both in terms of geography (for me, Sioux Falls) and in terms of industry (for me, website design + copywriting).
Shortly afterward, another freelancer in town, Caitlin Pisha, reached out to me, and we agreed to grab lunch.
Chatting with Caitlin was so refreshing. As a fellow creative, she has a unique perspective that I find stimulating, especially since I don’t get to interact with other artists very much. And her insights into the regional freelance community were super helpful.
We also talked about the potential of working together. Caitlin is a talented graphic designer who specializes in brand strategy, whereas I specialize in web design and copywriting, so our skill sets certainly complement one another.
We agreed it would be awesome to have a trusted referral or even partner for various projects down the road.
I hope I (and maybe you!) get to work with Caitlin in the future. Either way, meeting with her has inspired me to get more involved in my community, so I can forge even more solid relationships with other freelancers and businesses in my area.
Speaking of community, I have a really great personal one, too.
In the midst of some tough personal stuff (and, to be fair, some positive stuff as well), I was reminded of just how wonderful my friends and family are.
June was full of fun (golf tournaments, work parties, birthday celebrations, time with out-of-town friends, and a trip to the Black Hills)… and some sadness, too.
Through it all, I’m so grateful for friends, family, and especially a rock-solid husband I can lean on.
I know I’m being super cryptic about this “tough stuff” I’m dealing with. I promise I’ll share about it when I’m ready.
In the meantime, as you can guess, I’ve been pretty distracted… again… which has taken a bit of a toll on my work and health.
I’m choosing to give myself grace and simply try to get back on the proverbial horse (er, elephant?) every day.
Because of said elephant / horse, I’m having a little trouble maintaining a high level of momentum in my career.
Business is still steady, for sure, but I’ve neglected my own sales and marketing lately, which I think is also leading to a slowdown in client work.
Fortunately, I have a few promising projects in the pipeline, and I always have my agency copywriting to fall back on.
Regardless, June has been a good reminder that if you don’t put in the work — the long, hard work — you can’t reap the best rewards.
Between my meeting with Caitlin and other coffee dates with people who have reached out for help or advice, I’ve been trying to be more open about seizing opportunity when it comes my way — even if it doesn’t appear to offer any immediate benefits to me.
I learned this from my husband, Troy. He’s a total “yes man,” at least when it comes to business.
In fact, he even wrote about “Why You Should Be(e) Careful About Saying ‘No’” over on his agency’s blog.
I’ve seen firsthand the fruits of Troy’s many yeses. I used to bemoan them, wondering why he would take an hour-long meeting with a random acquaintance during an already busy week.
But as the years have gone on, I’ve witnessed the long-term profit of his opportunistic mindset. It’s led to new clients, employees, connections, and friends. And who knows where it will continue to lead?
I’m personally a bit more protective of my time, and we’re both aware that you should never say yes to everything. Boundaries and all that.
But, if you find that you have a little margin in your schedule, go ahead and accept — or offer! — an opportunity to meet with someone.
And if you don’t have margin? Make a little room.
Even if nothing comes up, you’ll be grateful for some space to rest or play or even (gasp!) get ahead on work.
Looking for a specific word or phrase on a webpage?
If you’re like me, you already use Command + F to find words on a desktop web browser multiple times a day.
But what if you’re searching from your iPhone instead?
In Safari: Click into the address bar at the top of your screen, type the text you’re looking for, and find your result under “On This Page.”
In Chrome: Tap the three dots at the bottom-right of your screen, select “Find in Page,” and type the text you’re looking for.
This trick is especially handy when you’ve got food on the stove, and you’re frantically trying to find the right measurement for that one ingredient in the midst of a ridiculously long article on a cooking blog.
Not that I would know.
I’ve talked a lot about time tracking in these monthly updates, so I thought I’d share my favorite time-tracking tool.
We use Toggl daily at Till Agency, and it’s super efficient.
I actually use the built-in time tracker in Bonsai, my client management software, to track the time I spend on my freelance projects. I prefer Toggl, though.
I suppose I could create a separate Toggl account for my personal work and use it exclusively, but I’m afraid of getting the accounts mixed up. So, for now, I’m keeping them separate.
What do you use to track your time? Got any time-tracking tips for time-challenged me? Let me know!
That’s all I’ve got for June.
(And yes, I’m aware we’re a good week into July now…)
Thank you, as always, for joining my business-building journey. I’m truly trying to keep these updates as honest as I can, so you (and I) can bear witness to the actual ups and downs of this whole process.
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