Creativity in Processes: Tools & Tactics

Creativity in Processes: Tools & Tactics

I am not an artist. I can’t draw, paint, or even write as well as I envision in my mind. But that hasn't left me out of the marketing world- because it turns out even in developing processes you can be creative. Some of us (me) use our creativity not in a typical artistic manner but in the development of efficient processes and operational SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures).  

Hang in there. I promise it’s not as boring as it sounds. Having a standard process in all aspects of your business helps you run more efficiently and effectively and believe it or not, keeps your team happy and proactive.  Who couldn't use more of that?! 

So, what are some ways you can be creative in your process management? First and foremost, you need to work through what type of project management philosophy works for you and your team. 

Creative Project Management Styles:

There are several styles of project management - including Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, and Six Sigma to name a few. Many project managers have a style they prefer, and tend to stick to that as a primary means of managing a team. However, taking into account the different personalities, learning styles and array of job functions on a team- sometimes it works best to be a little more creative. For example, we use a combination of Waterfall and Agile in our systems. 

 

To simplify: Waterfall project management involves working in calculated waves, with each step being dependent on the one before it, and a centralized Project Manager (PM)  taking care of the steps behind the scenes. Sometimes this can slow a process down over time so, combining this system with another alleviates a lot of headaches.  In our case we have combined Agile as a PM ethos, meaning we are flexible in how the processes can change and then update our SOPs as needed. While there is still a centralized PM leading the overall project, there is a strong sense of collaboration and ownership within the project team. Combining these has changed the way we work. Our systems are proven and step and repeat but we have flexibility and collaboration along the way- which is how we are able to get so much done so quickly. 

The best tool we have discovered to manage our processes is Teamwork. This tool was specifically designed with the concept that project management can be creative and therefore is adaptable to any of the project management styles you prefer.. Teamwork allows us to create overall workflows and task templates that apply to our specific SOPs, but also allows processes to be augmented or adjusted based on the realities and needs of real life execution. Everyone in the system has the capability to see what tasks are dependent on other tasks and team members, and it allows us to work more efficiently and collaboratively. 

Once you have chosen a style or combination of styles that work for you and your team, you are ready to move forward into making sure all of this theory works in real life. The first step is to evaluate your overall time management and what tools will work best. 

Time Management

Whenever I think of creative time management I envision the white rabbit running around like crazy insisting that he is late for a very important date. And, let’s be honest, we all have moments (days, weeks- months- 2020?!) like that. The key is to be prepared and flexible in your time management and build in time for fire fighting. 

The key to effective and disciplined time management is that you have to get a little creative in how you prepare and you have to develop a routine to keep you engaged and focused, not to mention motivated. 

We use a routine based approach to preparing our days, weeks and months of work, including daily stand up meetings to discuss the day's key initiatives, and regular check in meetings for small groups and the company as a whole. Communication and collaboration is important when establishing a time management system. Keeping everyone on the same page helps dictate appropriate deadlines and helps every individual plan out their work life. 

As for planning out our work lives, we “practice what we teach” by following the time management techniques discussed in our workshops.  These include intention and goal setting, and the combination of digital and paper tools to help you declutter your brain and overcome the stress. 

Yes, I did just say digital AND paper tools. Because believe it or not, writing stuff down helps you remember more than typing. As it happens a big piece of the time management puzzle is actually being able to remember all the things you need to do. (extra hint: it also helps make those goals a reality.) 

Our team uses the Franklin Covey system and personally, I love it. It allows me to prioritize my big tasks based on my larger goals, and I get a clear vision of the day's work, the needs for the next week and beyond and it allows me to create blocked time for when the fire drills happen. 

Blocked time? Yes. These are often flexible periods of your day when you can tackle a specific task or set a general time aside to cover multiple smaller tasks.  Blocking time helps overcome the stress of feeling like you just don't have enough time to get everything done. It also allows for you to see where in your day you can move things around if and when a fire drill occurs. Extra hint: nothing is so important that it needs to be resolved in less than 30 mins. Breathe and take your time to resolve issues as they arise.

 

By being creative in your processes and sharing the successful processes with your entire team, you will notice everyone becomes less stressed and more willing to be proactive in their roles and beyond- which- let’s face it- isn’t that the ultimate goal? A proactive and happy team? 

 

 

 


Graphic Design Trends 2021

Graphic Design Trends 2021

There are a ton of theories out there about what makes good design. Most of them have something to do with simplicity. For instance, Paul Rand said, “Design is so simple. That’s why it’s so complicated. And according to Albert Einstein, “The best design is the simplest one that works.” But when it comes to graphic design for social media, websites, emails, sell sheets and any other marketing collateral your small business needs, you need a bit more than “simple” to get the job done.

The magic of graphic design happens in the space between what your audience expects to see—and the surprising satisfaction of discovering the solution they’ve been waiting for. Incorporating design trends into your images can show that you’re in touch with what’s going on in your market or help you associate some of that trendiness with your brand, providing that “expected” element. What turns a trendy design into a great one is the original (but not overwhelming) spin your signature branding adds to the picture. As a rule of thumb, your designs should balance 1 part design trend and 1 part branding to excite your audience and compel them to click through.

Here are some of the biggest influences on graphic design that we’re seeing this year and some suggestions on how to incorporate them into your images:

1. Muted Color Palettes

After what seemed like an endless year of breaking news, rapid change and emergency situations, people are ready for subtle and soothing hues. The Pantone colors of the year for 2021 are Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, which is a pale shade of yellow. If your brand colors are bright and bold like ours, try choosing complementary softer shades in your backgrounds and accents. If your branding is pastel to begin with, congratulations, you are on-trend! Just make sure any text in your images is easy to read.

2. Simple Data Visualizations

Like our first tip, this one also has to do with a sense of relief from the overwhelm of 2020. If you are including statistics or data in your marketing materials, consider turning the most critical points into a simple infographic. In other media, choose visual representations that let the data seem to speak for itself.

3. Geometric Shapes Everywhere

Solid lines and symmetry can add aesthetic appeal while letting your message take priority. Alternatively, bigger and bolder shapes can bring more contrast to those muted colors. Try superimposing bigger versions of the shapes in your logo or laying delicate pastel patterns over solid black or white backgrounds.

4. Flat Icons & Illustrations

In case you haven’t noticed, subtle simplicity is really shaping these trends in 2021. Creating custom illustrations can be a great way to avoid using generic stock photos. Be sure your icons really symbolize what your message is about, and try using a little bit of text to expand their meaning exponentially.

5. Classic Serif Fonts

Serif fonts call back to the early days of printed typography and can add an air of maturity or respectability to your design, when used sparingly. We recommend sticking to a couple of standard fonts for your headers and body text, but for special events and promotions, choosing a fancy accent text can really set the mood! Just make sure you read every word to avoid embarrassing Freudian font slips.

6. Social Slide Decks

Since a lot of our information is shared via social media these days, people are embracing the power of the carousel post and the slide deck to tell a longer story with multiple images. The more slides you add, the simpler your presentation should be. 

7. Text Heavy Videos

Last, we have our in-platform video editors to thank for this trend. Just like the kids are doing on TikTok and Instagram Stories, adding text to your videos can add another layer of meaning while making them more accessible.

Feeling inspired yet? If you’re not a visual person and Canva is a scary place for you, get in touch with us! We’ve got awesome designers on our team who can keep your graphics looking good.


How to Support Your Small Business Community During the Coronavirus Outbreak

It’s almost become a campaign cliche that small business is the backbone of America; but in the year 2020, amidst a viral outbreak like we’ve never seen before, the strength and flexibility of that “backbone” is being tested. Without much direction or aid coming from the government, we’re looking to each other to make a way forward—but there’s so much noise it’s hard to make some sense of it all. Our responsibilities as business owners have changed overnight and we’re asking ourselves where the money will come from, if and when we’ll have to let someone go, and how to go about making sales in a quarantined market.

Without a doubt, it’s an urgent time to support our networks while offering the opportunity to support us back. Nobody wants to come across as taking advantage of this awful situation, but what does one do if they want to appear authentic and actually help? Our team had a meeting of the minds this Monday; we came up with our best ideas to help you get through this time and come out on the other side with a team that believes in you, a customer base that knows that you care and partnerships that are even stronger.

Spend Wisely: Support Small

The #1 way to support your fellow business owners right now, as always, is to shop small. It’s especially important to think about brick and mortar businesses that usually rely on foot traffic, like restaurants and retailers. Many are scrambling to build online stores, but some have gift cards available on their existing websites. One of our favorite tricks for lunch meetings on lockdown is sending a GrubHub gift card with a list of locally-owned options.

Everyone’s budget is in flux, but necessaries like cleaning products can be found locally instead of at big-box stores. Think about any birthdays coming up and any other gifts you need to buy soon. Spend some of your downtime searching these local business directories to find what you need right now:

Communicate Mindfully

As we all huddle up to our laptops to stay in touch with the world, we live and do business through our online presence, and our messaging becomes more critical than ever. Be sure to communicate with each of your audiences—yes, everyone—clients, partners, employees, the public, about any changes that will affect their business with you. Communicate with your existing network first before reaching out to new contacts. Post important information in a central location, like on your website, and use appropriate channels to share it.

Just as important as spreading the word about the changes in your business is putting other news on hold until you know for sure that it’s still moving forward according to plan. And even if it is, think twice about whether or not a big announcement is still appropriate. Blaring good news while so much is being canceled may come across as tone-deaf. News about product launches and events may need to be softened or postponed.

Manage Your Fear and Be a Leader

Fear of the unknown is a whopper, especially when you have a team (or a small community) looking to you for answers. While it’s an important time to show resilience, being honest about the things you still haven’t figured out is a much better look than withholding information.

If we didn’t know it before, it’s becoming abundantly clear that a business isn’t run by technology and systems: it’s run by a group of people with a shared goal. And when your mission is bigger than any single person on the team, you can have real faith that it’s all worthwhile. We at @revenue seek out other mission-driven businesses to work with because we believe this so much. Remind your team and your clients how important they are to you, and that no matter what else changes, your mission will drive you forward because it’s bigger than all of you.

Take Action

While you’re waiting on your bigger answers, take action on the things you have the power to do right now. If you need to get out of the house, My Block My Hood My City is accepting donations and organizing volunteers to distribute viral response packages to seniors. Reach out to your network and ask what kinds of support they are looking for.

One thing we know for sure is that this isn’t going to be over quickly; businesses that don’t already have a tech stack to support working from home will need to pull one together. Our team is working on a webinar to help you get digital quick, so watch out for more details! As always, let us know what else we can do to help.


The Times They Are A-Changing: Managing Fear

By Emily Lonigro

Do you feel something is changing? I do. It’s everywhere and I can’t quite name it yet. It feels deep and systemic, something much bigger than just me or you. Are you feeling it too?

During the past 2 months, I’ve been feeling this big change coming and I’ve been working on managing fear. It’s like an undercurrent to every conversation I’ve had. Usually, I can turn up my entrepreneurial mojo and crank out a ton of work and just blast full steam ahead with a singular goal, and I’ve been doing that for about 4 weeks solid now. I’ve done it a million times over the past 15 years — you know how exciting it is to think up a new plan and start the wheels in motion. It’s the part of my job that I love the most.

This time, something is different, and it’s not just me this time. I’ve been talking to foundations, our competition, partner agencies, B Corp CEOs, women in my network, clients, and really anyone I can get for 15 minutes. Everyone is saying the same thing: something feels different and we’re not sure what it is.

I’m not sure either. But here are a few things I do know and I’m hearing from everyone else:

1. There is a clear shift to bring more purpose and intention into our day.

We don’t separate work and life. It’s one big thing and it can be overwhelming. The things we do and say make us who we are, so when one of those pieces doesn’t jive with the rest, we face big problems like self-doubt, anxiety, and anger. When you’re in charge of things, like a business, this can become extremely messy. Finding the right people to talk to, whether a network or a paid advisor is the way through. Because the only way out is through.

I’m seeing more consultants and small advisory practices focusing on self-care, mindfulness, and bringing intention and meaning to clients’ lives. There has been a big focus on the rise of the entrepreneur and the startup, the leader who grinds all day and has a singular vision of success through disruption. Are we getting burned out? Are we spending all of our time working and forgetting about what binds us together as human beings? Or are just spending too much time on Instagram?

I hear a collective need for coming back to mission, purpose, intent, and meaning, especially in the business world. There’s a desire to work less and experience more.

2. We are getting used to working and living in a climate of uncertainty.

The uncertain political climate destroys my business. When we didn’t have a budget in Illinois for a few years, almost all of our work dried up with our biggest client. We know the same happened for a lot of our consultant friends and nonprofits lost funding and resources across the board.

This new political uncertainty that we are all witnessing every day is something else. It is changing our spending habits; we’re less likely to sign up for something for a longer term. We’re hoarding cash because we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. We are hearing about a coming recession, and we’re all wondering what’s going to happen.

Most of my competitors are talking about this. Some of them are digging in, some are getting out, and some are changing. We’re wondering what’s going to happen to our business and a lot of us are making pivots in our service lines and pricing structures to get ahead of it. We’re taking bets.

What does this mean? It means we’re realizing that business, as usual, isn’t working as usual and it’s up to us to keep things moving and for the betterment of our communities. This climate of uncertainty is designed to separate us and keep us alone and scared. I think a lot of us are at the point where we recognize: “yes, those people in charge of policy and big business are bananas crazy, but I need to keep my enterprise going to support my staff and family, so I’m going to keep going and do what I need to do to do that.” We recognize we are part of a system and we’re better of joining forces than going it alone. So let those crazies be crazy and let’s stand for something more.

3. We are slowly getting over being afraid.

I don’t know about you, but I used to be afraid almost all the time up until maybe a few months ago when I got to a breaking point. I finally realized that all of this worrying about uncertainty and what I SHOULD be doing wasn’t making my life any better. In fact, it was killing me.

Thinking back to when I started my business in 2004, I did that because I was tired of selling people crap based on the fear of not being good enough, or having some “other” person take everything away, or the fear of not keeping up or missing out. I rebelled against that idea in marketing, but most of everyone else didn’t. And marketing embraced it. So part of the issue why we’re all feeling like we’re falling behind because we let the marketing get to us.

This fear and anxiety is created by marketers, either deliberately or accidentally. It’s why we love and hate Facebook and why we are addicted to knee-jerk spending on Amazon. It’s a quick fix to a bigger problem: we’re afraid. We’re buying things that fix it for a moment, but in the long term we’ll just end up deeper in debt and at the mercy of the 1%.

I’m seeing a new trend emerging: one of fearlessness. Slowly, I’m seeing more honest questions, more support networks, and more authentic marketing that’s about creating real conversations.

I’m not sure what will be the result of all this, but I do know there is a new way and an old way. The old way is based on exclusion, fear, and profit. The new way is based on collaboration, honesty, and impact.

This is where I’m really excited. I know that the methods of design thinking, when used deliberately and inclusively are perfect for getting at the heart of the matter. It’s not always easy, but the results are always honest and insightful. This has been our practice for a long time now — extending far beyond branding and web development — and I think we’re in the right place at the right time to help more people make real change.

For us, this is the path that’s unfolding: our practice is about uncovering truths, defining a path forward, and inspiring and including. It’s less about the things we produce and more about teaching the tools and practices that help make the world better.

I created this model for to you get a sense of where you are in this uncertain time. Is your org or business responding or reacting? Is it from fear or inspiration?

 

[button style="red" float="left" margin="" size="small" link="https://www.limeredstudio.com/download/6779/" target=""]Click here to download my FEAR or INSPIRATION, RESPOND or REACT Worksheet[/button]


Interview with Voyage Chicago

For the full interview... http://voyagechicago.com/interview/meet-marie-hale-revenue-roscoe-village/

 

Marie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?

I have been an entrepreneur since the age of 22. At 25, I realized I needed to know more about what I didn’t know and sales was the first place I started to get my MBA on the streets. Over the next 10 years, my sales coach and I worked together on almost a daily basis. I owned a marketing firm and inevitably his closers didn’t have enough leads, and my marketing leads were not getting closed. After years of being each other’s biggest fans we became a family, and 2 years after that we opened our own firm, @revenue, putting sales and marketing under one roof…and it was lightning in a bottle.

We shot past our 1-year goal in under 3 months, our clients were marking unparalleled success, and we spent every waking moment together, and with our little Lily. It was every dream we ever had. Until the day he didn’t pick Lily up from daycare. Jim passed away suddenly on Feb 21, 2017, 3 months shy of our companies 1st anniversary. The life-changing shock was nothing compared to what I still had to face. I had to show up, save our company, raise our girl and keep living.

With the support of an incredible team of what was then contractors, whom became employees and partners, and my friends and family I got back on my feet and back to a fairly unrecognizable life. But our mission of empowering small business owners to create more revenue, be more aligned with their mission and grow from professional love kept me moving. We surpassed every goal Jim and I had set, according to the timeline we laid out when our dream was still new. Here, as we walk into our third year, we will surpass 7 figures of booked business before we hit the half-year mark.

A month ago I would have told you the story ended there. I reached stability because my best friend of more than 10 years took the role of office manager, and part-time helper with Lily as she lived with us 3 days a week. She was more than a set of helping hands, she was what held everything together. On August 7th she asked me to take her to immediate care, she felt like she couldn’t breathe. So after we picked Lily up from camp I took her to the ER, and 15 minutes later she was gone. She was 43. It was a blood clot that hit her lungs. No warning, no way to save her.

Looking at what my little business has had to endure I am constantly grateful to those that rally around us in times of tragedy and times of celebration. We are currently moving into our new offices and we have had an outpouring of support. Laura’s funeral boasted more than 500 attendees, some of whom had only spoken to her on the phone. We have had painters, and lifters, and, thank god, offers for cocktails.

Through it all, we continue to stand in a place of love. Professional love that helps us to truly understand that as life gets crazy, AND IT WILL, surround yourself with people of value. And if you are lucky, you will get to be there for them, too.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the @revenue story. Tell us more about the business.

@revenue is a revolutionary company that solves the revenue challenge. We work with nontraditional salespeople, owners, and teams to give them a permission-based sales process that can empower them to close more sales with clients that are going to be a wonderful part of their growth and say no to those that will drag them down. We also have a full-service marketing agency that looks holistically at a client’s needs and gives them a strategy for revenue creation, including digital marketing, public speaking, outreach campaigns and much more. We are one of the few firms in the country that train our clients to hold as much of their marketing as they want so that they can build a marketing department, or partner with them to keep it going so that they can focus on doing what they do best. And we do it all from a place of professional love.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?

Marketing companies are going to have to switch from having big ideas to producing great results, and that’s not easy. I see organizations that do not provide strategies that they can then see through to fruition as phasing out.

Sales training needs a woman’s voice and it needs it NOW! I can’t tell you how many times I hear ‘Well, yeah, you closed the sale, you’re cute. That always opens the door.’

We can show the industry that no matter where you come from, what your personal level of ‘cute’ is or how comfortable you are with sales, there is a way to make sales be about caring for the person across from you in such a way that you help both of you get to a decision that makes sense, on both sides of the table, and that the abundance lies in creating wins for everyone involved.


The GIF is a Gift!

First, I believe we need to address a very important issue. Deep breath because there will be a lot of emotions here. Do you pronounce if GIF or JIF?

via GIPHY

Allow me to settle the battle for once and for all. It doesn’t stinking matter. 

The Psych

Now that we have that out of the way let’s talk about this novel little addition is changing the face of business. As always, the first thing I get excited about is the psychology behind the form of communication. An easy piece to understand is the mere-exposure effect. This phenomenon explains that we have a preference for things that we are already familiar with. In our society, media is the most common denominator. I know, there are always going to be outliers. There is generally at least one in every crowd that wants to loudly tell you how they have never watched TV or that they keep themselves pure of the mind pollution of popular media (Uh….ok...cool. I’m gonna talk to this other 99.999 % of people). Most people have some common experience and when you can use that commonality to express a thought or emotion it has more resonance for the recipient.

Most of the time GIFs are used to communicate emotion. EMOTION, the cornerstone of communication! Take into account  Albert Mehrabian’s 7-38-55 Rule of Personal Communication.

If you are relying only on words to communicate your message you are leaving 93% of your ability to communicate on the table. We also know that people make decisions (about everything) based on emotion and back it up with logic, so if you are effectively communicating to and connecting with emotion, are you doing your level best to get the recipient engaged with your message?

The Culture

As a company that uses GIFs heavily in our communication, I reached out to some of our newest members. Here were some of their responses:

Well, gosh. Who wouldn't want to be around some humor in a company culture? I think a little mechanism like a GIF goes a long way, more than people probably might give it credit for. It shows that you're among friends, or at least that we're all in this together. Without it, you might risk the communication feeling like a cold directive. There's SO much room for the tone of an email to be misinterpreted. Using humor within that communication makes you appear warmer, friendlier and more accessible. All good things that any company culture should want to have.” -Dan Gershenson

“Using a gif is like finding that perfect Hallmark card at the store. Couldn't have said it better myself. It just sends the perfect message, unlike texts. It adds inflection and there is usually no denying what the other person is trying to say. More often than not, it puts a smile on my face and lifts my mood." -Laura Wilson

“First, my lack of knowledge about pop-culture and trivia made me hesitant to follow, but after just my first few experiences, using GIFs takes a weight off my shoulders as a writer. I can lean more on my GIF selection to set the tone. I don't have to be funny - I can just find something funny instead.

To me, GIFs establish a shared emotional connection through pop culture. As humans, our brains connect differently with faces, naturally assimilating to other's perceived emotions. When we see someone happy, we feel happy. This is two-fold when we connect with another through shared experiences of favorite comedians or movie scenes. The art of GIF-giving is selecting one that your audience will 'get' and can easily connect with.” -Megan Robinson

Just last week we entered a NEW client intake meeting (not yet full clients) and they mentioned that they were so happy when I used a GIF in the email because they automatically knew that we were cool (read that as ‘we are like you’), we have a sense of joy and humor, and that we were going to be fun to work with. A tip of my hat the Mr. Sinatra dancing in the rain!

If your internal staff and your new clients appreciate it, how can you create a GIF-embracing culture of your own? Well, start with a few rules and tools.

  1. Use an email plug-in tool like https://giphy.com/ that will allow your team to add images on the fly. They simply need type in a search term like excited, happy, or raining and a small list of images will pop up for them to click on and add to the email, slack channel or the like.
  2. Encourage common sense! This is not a place for profanity or lewdness just like ANY OTHER part of your work.
  3. Know thy audience! If it is your initial conversation with someone and you don’t know if they have a sense of humor to speak of it’s probably not what you want to lead with. You need to have a few exchanges with someone before you will know if this is something that is a fit for them.

The Business Plan

According to Forbes ‘[Other] businesses have had success using  GIFs in email marketing campaigns. A case study of Dell’s GIF-centric marketing campaign was done by MarketSherpa. They compared metrics of the  GIF campaign with other quarterly campaign reports and found that Dell saw a 42% increase in their click rate and a 109% increase in revenue.’

To meet the demand, many of the tools you already use are adding GIF searches to their services. Facebook, Twitter, Mailchimp just to name a few have adopted the movement.  Want to create one of your own?

Forbes even gives you a step-by-step so that you can show off a product or even a great part of a speech.

At the end of the day you have to decide if it is brand congruous for your internal team and your external communication, but for me and my house….we will GIF IT UP!

via GIPHY

 


Stay Inspired

This poem has always been close to my heart. When the gremlins of fear and failure begin to sneak in, it keeps me grounded and reminds me of why I am here. Tell us, what poem keeps you inspired?

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON

author, lecturer


Dream Bigger

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness

That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves

Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

Your playing small

Does not serve the world.

-By Marianne Williamson

‘Marie, I have something to tell you,’ my client began, ‘when I started dreaming about my business and setting goals I was stretching to see myself at 400k in my first year. I thought I was calculating something wrong when I saw that I had booked 800k, but when I realized that I would have more than a million dollars of business on the books before my year was even close to its end I got…’ He took a deep breath, ‘I got scared.’

Sounds like a great problem to have, right? We all roll our eyes at those who tell us that their businesses have grown too quickly, but epic growth not only brings with it a bevy of technical issues but a lot of emotional issues that we aren’t prepared for.

Questions come flying through our brains like:

  • Does this mean that I should expand my business?
  • Should I raise my rates?
  • Do I want a bigger business?

And the truth is, this can be a scary and lonely place to be.

I would like to offer you two words that can greatly impact your future, wherever you are in your journey. Dream Bigger. If your goal, your dream, your plan doesn’t stretch you, make you uneasy or is something that you could do in your sleep, you aren’t dreaming big enough. If you don’t feel a little nervous when you review your goals every month (not your numbers), you are playing too small.

The next part of Marianne Williamson’s poem goes on to say that “we are all meant to shine like children do”, and there is so much truth in that. If your business doesn’t light you up, if you aren’t on fire, take some time and reassess why the heck you are working so hard.

How do you know when your dream is big enough? Gut check time.

  1. What impact would achieving this goal have on my life? If there is no true impact...push further.
  2. How does this align with my values? If your goal doesn’t allow you to exemplify your values (ex. It’s more than just a number) or the impact of your goal on you financially doesn’t allow you to achieve a personal goal that matches your values it’s time to realign.
  3. When you take time to put your goals into actionable steps, can it be done with little to no effort? You should want a little sweat to happen on your way to your dream, it makes it more thrilling to achieve.

This year, I had to realign personal goals this when my whole life suddenly changed; my partner suddenly died. I had to learn how to dream again, how to figure out what will bring me joy, abundance or peace when my dreams were suddenly and uncontrollably altered and out of my control. Learning to dream big is a practice, a muscle, a gift you must work on for yourself.