If I had time to complete the enneagram personality test, it would inevitably tell me I am an achiever. I am constantly thinking about the next thing on my to do list, the next big event to plan, the next big goal to reach. I am so focused on my purpose and the steps it takes to get there that if I am not drowning in a sea of checklists I often feel like I’m failing. My 2020 motto has been do the thing — do the thing that is hard, do the thing I think I can’t do, do the thing that I have been putting off.
Truth time. I’m not doing the thing. I am lacking motivation and wasting away on the couch in front of the latest binge worthy Netflix show. To recenter and find my “why” again, I decided I needed help from two friends — working mommas like me trying to “do the thing” with their own businesses. One makes jewelry and the other is a marketing guru, which are far from my daily grind of leading a nonprofit for individuals with disabilities. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t bond over working through a global crisis, running a business while also running a household, and the must-watch trainwreck that is Tiger King.
In a Zoom meet up, I talked with Kelley James, an event coordinator and freelance marketing expert and Jackie Smith, owner of Jackie Blue Handmade, a side hustle turned into a full-scale online business. I spoke to them about working women who had a lot of momentum before this “pause,” as I like to call it, and how we keep that drive going forward.
Kelley and Jackie both echoed the fact that their business model has changed. Instead of trying to sell their products or services, they are instead focusing on being a light for their loyal followers.
“I have learned — don’t ask for anything, focus on giving,” Kelley said. “Fill the need for encouragement. People need other people to open up and share about themselves.”
Jackie agreed, saying she has had to step back and look at other options for her online-based business. In what she calls a crazy whim of an idea, Jackie launched a virtual bracelet making party. She sold seats in a virtual class, supplied the materials and taught her customers how to make the beautiful jewelry that she has found success in selling. With two sold out parties, Jackie said the events were a homerun. Was it a huge moneymaker? No. But she was able to create memories with customers and give them something fun to do to take their mind off of quarantine.
Here are some more collective tips on how to “just do the thing” from my chat with these two boss ladies who are still killing it, despite an unprecedented quarantine.
- Having a sounding board (that will be honest with you). When Jackie thought of the bracelet making party she was afraid it would be an epic fail. She pitched the idea to Kelley, who she knew would be brutally honest with her. When Kelley was on board and encouraged her to go for it, Jackie felt confident in trying something new.
- Shower, get dressed, put on makeup. To do the thing, you have to feel the part, which is difficult during a time when you never leave your house and you are on day 24 of no bra. Just like a power suit will make you a boss in the boardroom, clean hair and an outfit that’s not considered lounge wear will give you the motivation to get to work.
- Your environment is key. I do my best work at Starbucks. I find too many distractions at home (did I mention I love Netflix?). I have tried to recreate my go-to Starbucks seat, complete with my own version of fancy coffee. It’s not great, but I’m trying. For Jackie, getting outside renergizes her. Kelley has tried sitting in different places in her house, which is giving her a different perspective on life and work.
- Tune out the negative. This can mean limiting your news intake during this uncertain time. Or it can mean not caring about what others say or what you think others will say for your leap of faith in “doing the thing.” Or it can mean not listening to your own self-doubt. Surround yourself with positivity and your courage and motivation will reflect that decision.
Want to hear the entire Zoom meet up of real talk with real working moms? You can click below to watch the full Zoom video. And for more content just like this, follow Pieces of Me on YouTube, where we will continue to launch helpful videos featuring real talk with some of my closest friends and mentors.
In the meantime, you do not want to miss out on Jackie’s amazing jewelry — her pieces are simply perfection (follow her on Instagram @jackiebluehandmade)! And you don’t get more real than Kelley James. Do yourself a favor and follow this mom of four and marketing expert on Instagram @kellyrjames. To connect with (me) Amanda Owen, follow my Instagram @piecesofmebyamanda to ensure you don’t miss out on my weekly blogs!