April Began with a Celebration of Spring
April began with what used to be my favorite holiday, Easter. I’d like to take a moment and share some deep honest thoughts about this holiday. I was born on Maundy Thursday, which recognizes the day of the Last Supper – just 3 days before Easter. Throughout my life, my mother always referred to me as her Easter baby for this reason. Since I’m one to accept love from family and friends, I always saw it as a sweet sentiment. However, we grow up. We learn things that our parents never told us and we find out that some of the things we once considered to be sweet sentiments are just empty sayings.
Rather than get into the details here, I’ll share the conclusion – my husband and I choose to not celebrate Easter. Instead, we like to celebrate the changing of the season into the spring with the “resurrection” of the plants and flowers. It feels a little more genuine to me. My parents, who stopped attending church years before I stopped, not so quietly judged me for making this choice. It could have kicked off my month with annoyance, but I decided to let it go. Now I’m working on embracing our differences. That is the theme of April – accepting the things I cannot change and changing the things that I can.
The Business is Growing and There are Growing Pains
April was the first full month of having my new part-time help working with me. It is such a challenge to find suitable support staff for a small business, so I feel fortunate to have found a smart person with a good work ethic. I chose her from the other top candidates for two main reasons: she requires less training than the youngest candidate and she is different from me while still understanding my perspective and the business purpose. She still has plenty to learn, and there is so much she wants to contribute. If we keep up our groove, then I think it will be easy for the business to make enough money for her to become a full-time employee. That’s one of my big goals for this year.
March brought in a ton of interest for consulting work. Since I knew I had additional support to make things happen, I said yes and yes and yes again. Two new marketing strategy projects ran in April and will be wrapped up in the beginning of May. We also have two more proposals that prospects sat on for a couple of weeks, and they appear to be coming to fruition in these first weeks of May.
The downside of taking on the new consulting work is that it cut into my time working on workshops, training ideas, and online courses. My next “big” event is an online workshop in collaboration with two strategic partners on May 15th. Only a couple of people are signed up and it’s largely because I have put so little effort into promoting the workshop. The upside is that my two awesome strategic partners support me in making this an evergreen online workshop that’s available through my Kajabi site. Their feedback was that it’s all equal because I’m always contributing to them with leads and ideas, so they want to return the favor.
Always Be Learning
Professional and personal development are definitely my M.O. in life. If there’s an opportunity to take in some new information that will make me stronger or better in some way, then I’m ready to take it in. With this in mind, I decided earlier this year to implement the software tools from Zoho in my business to make workflows more fluid in operations and marketing. I’ve slowly become a Zoholic (apparently that’s what fans of the platform are called). It takes time to get everything integrated, but I made a good dent in April with improvements to project management and customizing my CRM software.
A Few Highlights of My April
In My Business…
1. Powerful meeting with an organizational development expert.
She guided me through defining my life’s passions, big goals and dreams, clarifying my values, and turning that into an updated mission statement for the business. In this process, I faced things about myself that I should accept (both good and bad) because they make me who I am.
2. Attended a friend’s branding discussion.
I met some interesting people who may or may not turn out to be valuable connections. It was also great to reflect on his approach to branding in comparison with my concept of brand language.
3. Ended a toxic business relationship.
A new client who was expected to be an easy 2 hour gig turned into a nightmare because she is disorganized and a poor communicator. Rather than let it continue on, I finished up the first part of the agreement and closed out the project. It was frustrating to think she go through my pre-qualifying filters, but I learned that even those need improvement.
4. Visual Branding Magic.
My kick-awesome husband began supporting me with my visual branding. I shared my insights from the powerful meeting and the vision of the business with him. He was very happy to support me and contribute to the growth of my business by sharing his expertise about visual concepts. Wow! I am so damn lucky.
5. Gave a New Talk.
A professional friend invited me to her group of entrepreneurs to give a talk about marketing strategy. The title of my presentation was 6 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Marketing Plan. Since this is a topic I know so well, it was easy to rearrange my old speech and give it a fresh spin. The group really enjoyed it and gave me great feedback.
6.Completed a long-term client project.
Over the past 4 months I’ve been supervising and training this virtual assistant to know my client’s brand and know how to work best with her. Apparently, I did a good job and now she is flying from the nest. The client told me she was ready to work with just the VA. Since that was my goal, I feel really good about it.
In Personal Life…
- I had a birthday – 35 years completed. Ready to live the next year with love and collaboration.
- Awkward lunch date with an old networking friend. This was an epiphany lunch where I realized how little we have in common other than the group where we first met. And that is okay. I accept who she is and who I am as different people coexisting.
- Dealt with my aches and pains by trying out Airrosti. It’s like sports medicine, but you don’t need to be an athlete to go see someone. They do a mixture of therapeutic massage (more like pushing into your soft tissue until the pain goes away) and teaching you exercises / stretches to prevent more pain. It’s expensive, but it is working for me.
- Visited with my in-laws for the weekend to celebrate some birthdays. I really like my new extended family, but some of my old yucky habits still flare up. It’s rather embarrassing in retrospect. To strangers, it reads like I was raised by egotistical people who are stuck in childish ways. I’ve had to work hard to NOT be like that and learn to communicate like a normal adult. When you have toxic habits from childhood, it can take a long time to break them. Long story short, my extended family loves me anyway but I’m sure that there were moments of “what the heck?” going on in their minds. I accept that this happened and aim to continue improving myself.