Winter Retreat

December has some big and very welcome changes in store for me. I’m moving to Charlottesville this weekend, into a lovely home where I will have a dedicated office space. There’s some new office furniture heading my way as well, which I’m hoping will better organize my papers and work space. I’m looking at hiring an accountant and a part-time employee.

Most importantly, I’m taking some time to actually work on my business, and asking myself these questions like these:

  • What do I want for my business in 2015?
  • How can I better server my past, present, and future clients?
  • What structures can I put in place that will allow me to work easier and more efficiently?
  • Where can I venture outside my comfort zone to try something new with my business?
  • What personal daily practices do I need to commit to if I want to be less stressed and happier?

Clearly, I’ve got some planning to do.

My birthday will be here in a few weeks and along with deciding what I want for my business, I’m also deciding what I want for myself, come my birthday. But more on that soon.

Are you planning any winter retreats?


My New Definition of “Success”

I had fully intended to blog while I was away. Fully.

But there were adventures to be had and out-of-the-way boulangeries and macaron shops to be found, let’s just be honest.

One of the reasons I truly love what I do is because it allows me to be so flexible in location. I can live almost anywhere and work from anywhere. So when the opportunity to spend time in Paris came up, I reminded myself that this is why I started my own business, to have little adventures and work in someplace new.

We live in a time when “success” is being redefined, when we have the opportunity as individuals to decide what that means for us.

I had the secure job with good benefits and two weeks vacation per year. I had a salary that many would envy. But nothing about what I was doing felt fulfilling. I felt trapped by the security I had been encouraged to chase.


Starting my own business wasn’t easy and I don’t get a clear two weeks completely off. But I feel more successful than ever before, for three key reasons:

  1. I am completely in control of my schedule, my income, my clients, and my work. I lighten my load when I need to, I take unexpected moments to myself during the weekdays, I choose projects with clients who I believe in and want to support.
  2. I can literally work from anywhere. So maybe that “vacation” in Paris wasn’t completely a vacation, but I saw the city as a tourist and as a freelancer, and that made it special for me.
  3. I can be there for my family and friends. And be there for myself too.

This feels like freedom to me. This feels like success.

I’m still not precisely where I want to be yet, but I’m getting there, and I’m learning insane amounts along the way.



Creating a Home Office

When I first started my business, I was convinced I didn’t need a dedicated work space. Cafes, the dining room table, the kitchen counter — anywhere could be my work space. But after living and working in the same spot for a year, I’ve realized the importance of having a home office.

Right now, I work, eat, and mediate in the same space. Because there’s no division of space in my life, there’s no division of time. My day just runs from one thing to another. I can easily end up working from the moment I wake to the moment I sleep.

Luckily, I’m moving in a month, and in my new home, I have a room dedicated to being an office space. I’ve been putting in a lot of consideration to exactly what I’ll be placing in the room, as our external spaces are often reflective of our internal spaces. This one is going to be calm, organic, and light, a place that I can comfortably work and when I’m done for the day, shut the work away and give myself the down time I need.

Two bookcases to house my collection of books. A nice wood desk to work at. A cute terrarium to bring some nature into the room. An amethyst cluster for clarity. Some awesome arrow bookends. Fun colored binders. And of course, an amazingly comfortable chair for those long periods of focus.

And of course, there must be a spot for the cats! (Because sleeping on my computer is not a good spot.)

Do you have a decided work space for your business or for your hobbies? 

Above: Binder, Terrarium, Bookshelves, Desk, Chair, Amethyst Cluster, Arrow Bookends, Cat Bed


How To Fire A Client


When I first started working for myself, I said yes to every project that came my way. Needed a full website designed and developed? Sure! Looking for some small changes to your site? I can help. Want to talk about social media and website strategies? Let’s set up an appointment.

I not only was paid to grow as a developer, but saying yes gave me many opportunities to grow as a business owner.


Over the past year and a half, I’ve learned who my ideal client is. Some clients have been incredible joys to work with, while working with others has lead to nights I couldn’t sleep for all the worries and anxiety I had over their projects. I’ve always been a people pleaser, but always saying yes meant I was pleasing everyone but myself.


I’m still tempted to say yes to everything, but being able to say no to clients who you’re not a good fit with gives you street cred. We love honesty when we find it in people, and we respect them for it. So when a potential client just isn’t the right one, I’ve started to say no. (Especially because sometimes saying “no” to a client is saying “yes” to myself and my needs.)


In the early phases of your business (and some of the middle phases too), you’re going to say yes to clients that you will later wish you’d said no to. It can be difficult to recognize if a client is one of your ideal clients, especially when you don’t have much information in the beginning. Sometimes, a contract will be in place and you’ll need to get through the project. But if the relationship is longer-term, you may want to consider firing your client.


1. Be nice. You might be tempted to complain in your email or on the phone. Don’t. Gather yourself and do all you can to end the relationship in a professional and pleasant way.

2. Explain that the relationship is not ideal. You don’t need to go into great detail. Simply explain that you’re unable to serve this client in a way that is beneficial for both you and your client.

3. Give your client options. If you’re unable to continue working with them, provide a list of two or three others in a similar line of work whom they may want to contact.

It’s not easy, but firing non-ideal clients can free up space for those ideal clients to come your way.

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