Why NOW is the New Never

The re-design/re-launch of The Life Adventurista has been in the works for three years. Yes, THREE whole years.

It all started back in 2014, when after two years of building up my business and working with clients one-on-one, I wanted to shift, in order to do more workshops, create community, and write interactive guides. I had a plan! But you know what they say about that…

“The best-laid plans of mice and men oft(en) go astray”

Sometimes you think you are walking down a certain path and then *BAM*, there’s a fork in the road, and everything changes. That’s what happened to me.

After we hiked El Camino de Santiago, Eric and I were traveling to Austin, Texas to make a video for our travel blog (because in addition to my workshops and guides I wanted to put out into the world, we planned this whole show we wanted to create on Youtube.) We went to Austin, Texas to shoot the first episode, all about Barbecue in Texas. (We still haven’t finished editing that, but more on that later.) Anyways, on the way back from Austin, I was doing what I do best- shopping online from my phone. I was searching for cute clothes for the upcoming trips we had planned. My search led me to this FANTASTIC pair of leggings. I clicked over and landed on a website. Little did I know how that one action would completely shift my life path.

My search for those leggings led me to LuLaRoe. And when I landed on LuLaRoe’s site, I had this instant gut reaction that told me, “This. You HAVE to bring this to Lake Charles, LA.” At the time, this made NO sense what-so-ever, because we had no plans to be in one place for longer than a month. But at the same time that I had this gut feeling, we were also sent down another unexpected path. That second, unexpected life shift led us to buying an investment property in Lake Charles, which is where Eric grew up. Now, it’s not just any property- it’s the oldest church in our town, which also came with three other properties.

So here we are today, three years later. We’ve converted all the properties on our “compound”, minus the church, into rental properties, and we’ve built our LuLaRoe business up into something that fully supports our life.

This journey of building LuLaRoe and our real estate investments/renovations has been hard, painful, and long. But also amazing. Over the past three years, I have been pushed and pulled, leading to an immense amount of personal growth. Before this journey, I used to think that once I had it all figured out and things clicked, it would be easy. I could not have been more wrong.

Here are some lessons I have learned the hard way on this three year adventure. Whether you are going through a difficult time, starting something new, stopping something that you have outgrown, or are going through a period of personal growth, maybe you can relate.

1.) Be OK with making crazy changes in your life. Over the last few years, I have spent countless, unnecessary hours beating myself up for abandoning my writing and coaching business. I have told myself I am a failure for letting The Life Adventurista and our travel blog fall by the wayside. But none of that is true. We are all humans who cannot possibly do it all. When life changes directions (whether you choose those changes or not), cut yourself some slack for the things that have to fall off your plate, either temporarily or potentially even permanently. Others are not judging you in the way you are judging yourself.

2.) Sometimes you have to just get out of your own way! The other reason it’s taken me three years to re-launch the Life Adventurista site and start writing again is that I became my own worst enemy. I continuously got in my own dang way. Every time I sat down to work on the site or attempt to write, I made excuses or created busy work for myself to avoid facing that resistance I was feeling, which was all fear-based. My fears were telling me I sucked, so why even bother trying. There is no easy way to get out of your own way. The only thing that helped me was simply taking action. (Sorry, I haven’t found a secret fear-busting potion.) I had to dig deep and ask myself what it was I was hiding from. And then I had the realization that the only thing that could possibly counteract my feelings of being stuck, was to take action and do the exact opposite of what I was doing, which was sitting around waiting for those fears to go away. Feel the fear and do it anyway, right? Every day I tell myself, it’s not about being fearless, it’s about acting courageous in the face of fears. All of us have fears that are holding us back from truly living the life we are supposed to. We all owe it to “our calling”, “our why”, “our true path” (whatever you want to call it), to not let those fears hold us back. Take action every.single.day towards what you want to be doing in your life and how you want to live. There will never be a right time. Go for it now!

3.) There is a time for everything, and sometimes plans need to be put on pause. There are SO many unfinished projects in my life right now. And I have learned to be OK with that. We have yet to finish writing our Camino story. We have loads of video and notes from our journey. And while we will finish one day (my goal is towards the end of the year,) it’s not something either of us has the emotional capacity to write about right now. I used to to beat myself up about this daily, because I feel so guilty about leaving our readers hanging. The current journey we are on is very much tied to the Camino, and one day soon, we will be able to share it all! We have also had to hit pause on several other projects we are super passionate about. But in the meantime, we’ve been building a strong foundation that supports how we want to live our lives long term. For us, this means having the ability to always work for ourselves, the freedom to travel when we want, and the means to pursue all our passion projects. We’ve also found ways to combine our love for travel and LuLaRoe. So when you have to put certain things on pause, this doesn’t mean what you are doing is not worthy or good. It’s just a different plan. If I had this perspective three years I ago, I would have saved myself a ton of pain. Hello 2014 Shannon, listen to 2017 Shannon, because she knows a thing or two. Decide what your priorities are in your life right now, and focus on those. All those other ideas and projects can take a seat and wait.

4.) Things sometimes take way longer then we want. Plain and simple. I am a big picture thinker. I dream BIG and get these big, crazy visions for my life. This is a good as well as a bad thing. I tend to go with my gut, but because of that big picture thinking, I want to be living my vision, like yesterday. So getting bogged down in the details drives me INSANE. But on top of that, any plan/project is going to have obstacles. When I get caught up in the fact, that I am not where I want to be today, I give into that resistance, and fear wins. So these days, I am trying to be OK with the process. The realization I have had around this, is that as long as you are still taking action and moving forward, try to be OK with the process. Even though I had this realization, I am still learning how to actually live it. Also, remember we are all a work in progress, so be nice to yourself.

5.) Stop worrying about what others think of you! This has been huge for me! I’m a sensitive and also dramatic person by nature. So if I think someone is upset with me, not only does it eat me up, but I take it to the extreme. Over the last few years, I have really practiced letting go of worrying so much about what others think. Some of it has been painful, because it has led me to realizing I had some toxic friendships that needed evaluating. But on the other side, I have become much more comfortable with who I am. Not everyone is going to agree with the choices we make or how we choose to live our lives. Guess, what? That’s OK. Someone’s opinion of you is irrelevant to your master plan, if you are being true to yourself. Working on this one area of my life has provided me with such a sense of freedom. Again, this is still a work in progress for me. I think we mostly all care, to some degree, about what people think about us. It’s more about removing any negative beliefs people feel about you. If someone has a negative belief about you that is not true, let it go.

So what’s next for me/us?

Eric and I just converted a trailer into a mobile boutique, and we plan to take it across the country. Someimte in the near future, we will start renovations on the church. While we are anxious to get started, we are also being conscientious of giving ourselves a little breathing room. For the last three years, it’s been go-go-go: with our LuLaRoe business and rental properties, not to mention our amazing New Orleans wedding, and the tremendous amount of work that went into planning that. While there has been a ton of reward, we are ready to focus on some non-renovation projects for the next year.  I once heard the quote, “In order to speed up, you have to first slow down.” These words have more relevance to me now than ever before. You cannot constantly be in a state of acceleration. Renovations will start one day and we will be turning our historic church into our house and also a B&B (one of our long-term dreams!). Next year, we are excited to pour a ton of energy into making it the most unique and amazing B&B experience. The one we’ve been dreaming about for years!

We’ve also started recording behind the scenes videos of our road trip, and we will be blogging/vlogging about our adventures. And I will be start working with coaching clients again. Coaching women and providing a space for women to live their best lives is my calling in life and while I do get to do some of that through LuLaRoe, I am excited and ready to dedicate more time to this. I hired two amazing women to help me run day-to-day LuLaRoe stuff so I can incorporate more Life Adventurista things into my life again. (Delegation is key!)

All those things you want in life, they can be yours. I know, because in 2012, I set off on a path to live the life I am living today. I didn’t know that it would look this, but when I look back on the past few years, I realize I am where I am today, because in spite of fear, I did the scary things in my life, and for better or worse, I followed those gut feelings. It’s those moments and life events that create shifts and massive long-term changes in our lives.

For now, welcome to the new Life Adventurista, a space for women to grow, get inspired, and make now their new never. It’s time we stop saying, “I’ll never be able to do that with my life”, or “I’d never do that”, and start saying “NOW is the new never!”

What do you want to start making happen now? I would love to hear from you in the comments below?

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How to Write For Your Biz Blog

How to Write For Your Biz Blog

 

7tipstoabetterbizblog

 

If you have a business, you probably know the importance of having a business blog. This day in age, blogs are an important component to any business.

So, why are blogs key for your biz, anyway?

  • It’s a way to reach your customers. Think about it. You ideal customer is sitting at their computer, searching for that thing they are looking to buy, or a solution to their problem. They type in a few key words, and bam, there’s a page full of info. Now, if you have blog posts or multiple blog posts with the key words that address what they are searching, you are more likely to show up in their search. They click on your blog, and if it’s good, they stay on your site, clicking around and getting lost in your other blogs posts, shops, and offers. They sign up on your newsletter list and keep coming back for more.

  • It gives them a chance to get to know you. This is especially important if you are in the service industry (consulting, coaching, etc.). No one wants to hire a coach or consultant who they don’t feel connect with .
  • It’s the fastest way to set yourself apart as an expert and leader in your industry.

But it’s not enough to just churn out content.

The goal with your blog is not to become a content mill, unless your aiming to be a news site. You need to provide real value, engagement, and connection for your readers.

I read A LOT of blogs. I also work with entrepreneurs to help them develop better blogs for their business, so I see all the positive trends and some not-so-hot trends that really get under my skin.

Here’s my short list of tips for building a business blog you can be be proud of:

1.) Never, ever copy someone else’s work. It’s called Plagiarism and happens across the web. It even happens to Buzzfeed. Sadly, this is a trend that is happening far too much in the life/business coaching world. Make sure your words are your own.

2.) Use punctuation, please! I’ve come across several blog post from entrepreneurs whose websites are actually nice, but then I realize they use absolutely no punctuation in their posts. Your posts need to flow. Punctuation will help you make that happen.

3.) Format! Format! Format! Staring at screens (computers, smart phones, tablets) all day long, hurts your eyes. That means, people tend to scan blog posts. To help people do this, make your blog posts scannable. Use headlines to highlight the key points, create more paragraphs, utilize white space, use lists and bullet points, and use photos and create fun images.

4.) Put a little bit of “you” into every post your write. What I mean by this is that is no matter what you biz is, you can add tidbits of how you learned what you learned, glimpses into how you do something, and behind-the-scenes looks into your life.

5.) Don’t just use your blog to sell. Add value in your readers life give them info they can use. The more you give away for free, the more people will want to buy from you/work with you. I know it seems counterintuitive but when you give people lots of value just because they read your blog, they actually want to work with you more!

6.) Don’t be so formal. Forget about APA, MMA, or how you used to write when you wrote those school reports. No one wants to read something that feels too mechanical. So write like you talk so that your readers feel like you are having a conversation with them! You don’t want them to feel like they are reading a scientific paper.

7.) Write about the things that matter to you and matter to you readers. Don’t write about the topics you feel like you have to write about because it’s what everyone else is writing about. Be your own person! You’ll attract way more readers if you are your authentic unique self.

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Adventures In Online Surfing: Start That Thing Edition

adventuresinonlinesurfing2

Bringing back Adventures In Online Surfing once again! This week I bring you a collection of articles to inspire you get started on that thing you’ve been thinking about for so long.

My soul-sister Shannon Trindade also wrote about her writing struggles this week, and what you can do kick those writing blocks in the the butt.

Don’t fall into the “Passion Pyramid” when you start your new thing. Read this blog post on Talking Shrimp. I’m guilty of some these things too and I promise you they never lead to anything good.

Stop questioning yourself and give yourself the answers you need, with this tip from Ash over at TMF.

If you need an extra kick in the butt this week to actually do something you’ve been waiting to start, stop making excuses, and read this fab post from Rebecca Tracey at The Uncaged Life. Love her!

Need inspiration from other women who have escaped the corporate world? Check out XO Sarah’s blog for endless inspiration. If these women can do it, so can you.

Tell me in the comments below, the new thing you are going to try or start!

xo

Shannon

P.S. – Ready to write your heart out? Check out this virtual writing workshop I am co-hosting this fall. 

 

 

Writing Struggles – Everyone Has Them

Writing Struggles – Everyone Has Them

strugglesqoute

 

I’ve been working on several pretty big writing projects lately. One of these projects is Love On El Camino, where Eric and I are documenting our recent two month hike across France and Spain. This project has specifically taught me that, no matter how much you love writing, or how often you write, it is always a struggle. You will face resistance throughout.

It’s easy to look at people who write often, or who are well known writers, and assume that it’s easier for them. But that’s just not the case. In fact, I just read that Elizabeth Gilbert had writers block for a full year after publishing “Eat, Pray, Love”. No one is immune to writing struggles.

No matter who you are, what you write, or how often you write, sometimes it comes naturally, and sometimes it’s like pulling teeth.

There’s no magic formula to make those struggles disappear and never return. Instead you have to make the choice to push through those blocks. Getting your writing and stories into the world is rewarding. It’s worth the pain and tears.

If you’ve found yourself struggling to write lately, here are a few of the tricks I use to tackle the struggles head on:

Turn off your distractions.

That writing is not going to happen as long as you are stalking all the friends you’ve lost contact with on Facebook. And refreshing Facebook every second, won’t lead to any ah-ah moments. My favorite tool to turn off distractions is Self-Control. Download and use it.

Block off time to write.

If you want to write on a regular basis, schedule dates/times with your laptop in your calendar. Whatever you do, don’t stand your laptop up! Write, even when you think you don’t have the words to write. Write no matter how you are feeling. One tool I love using to create a daily writing habit is Habit Forge. I especially love that you have to set a punishment for yourself if you don’t meet your goal, AND it asks you to imagine your life if you DO meet your goal. Imagine it now, writing every day = more blog posts, ebooks, newsletters, or getting the book you’ve been wanting to write for so long DONE!

Go to a coffee shop or take your laptop to a park.

Sometimes my best writing happens when I leave my house.

Get a writing buddy.

I’m currently working on an ebook for women who don’t consider themselves “outdoorsy” to get out of their comfort zone and try a new activity outside like hiking, rock climbing, skiing, etc. It all came about while I was doing my first through hike on the Camino de Santiago. I knew that it was going to be a huge undertaking, and having an accountability partner was key. That’s where my biz twin, Shannon Trindade comes in. She helps me brainstorm, expand on my ideas, and holds me accountable for the deadlines I set for myself. While I haven’t met every deadline, I’m writing a lot more with her by my side then I would without her.

Make your writing time a bit more fun by creating a playlist that you listen to while you write.

I make new playlists based on projects that I’m working on. For example, when I’m writing for Love On El Camino, I listen to the playlist that I often listened to while we were hiking. It brings me right back to how I was feeling at the time, and it makes it easier to get the words down. For my outdoor guide, I have a different playlist that pumps me up and gets me excited to write. Also, I’ve been listening to the new Angus and Julia Stone album on repeat all week while writing for other business projects I’m working on. Try listening to different genres and styles of music when you write to see how they influence you.

What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to writing? What have you done to try to face those struggles head on? Tell me in the comments below. 

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How You Know It Might Be Time To Start Your Own Business

How You Know It Might Be Time To Start Your Own Business

starting your own business

 

If you had asked me a few years ago if I ever saw myself running my own business, I probably would have said something along the lines of:

“Are you crazy? No way! I’m not cut out for running my own business. That’s for other people, not me.”

For six years, I worked in nonprofits in DC. I even worked at one nonprofit, where I ran and taught a small business training program for immigrant and refugee women in the DC metro area. I was always inspired and in awe of the work they were doing and the sacrifices they made to follow their dreams. I loved teaching the weekly business classes and helping them brainstorm and launch their ideas. Yet, I never saw myself in the entrepreneurship roll.

At that point, I was five years into my nonprofit career, I had co-founded a nonprofit, and at 27 years of age, I was BURNED-OUT beyond belief. At the time, I didn’t even recognize it as burnout.

To top it all off, my fiancé (then boyfriend) was traveling for work more often then not, while I stayed in DC working myself into a frenzy. While he was away on a job in Australia, we realized we no longer wanted to live this way. We wanted to travel together, and I wanted to be able to go with him when he had long-term jobs in other countries.

The next 20 years of our life started unfolding before our eyes. Both of us knew, if we didn’t make a change soon, we’d end up unhappy and resenting each other.

So I started looking into teaching English overseas (again, still not thinking about starting my own business). It was in my Google searching that I came across several websites for life coaches and business coaches. As I was clicking from site to site, getting sucked into a Google vortex, it suddenly hit me, “This is it! This is what I do already. I’ve just been doing it at a nonprofit. I can start my own business doing what I already know how to do!”

The answer seemed so simple. So why I hadn’t I realized that before?

Probably because I had convinced myself that starting a business wasn’t for me.

As soon as I mentioned the idea to Eric, he excitedly proclaimed, “Yes! This is what you were meant to do. Let’s make it happen.”

It was a like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I had found the answer I was looking for, but I didn’t know how to get from point A to B. I felt like I was drowning in a sea of information, where all I wanted to do was compare myself to others out there already doing the work and running their own business. So I hired my own life coach to help me get over some of the self-doubt I had, get an outside perspective, and hold me accountable.

9-5 commute.

The very last time I ever commuted home from my 9-5. Don’t miss those long commutes at all!

It’s now been more than two years since my realization. I’m still a long way from where I want to be with my business goals, which are constantly evolving, but I could never go back to a traditional 9-5. Through all the ups and downs, sacrifices, hard work, blood, sweat, and tears – it’s been worth it. Other than my relationship with Eric and hiking the Camino de Santiago, it’s the hardest, but one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in life.

So whether you’ve thought about starting a business before or you are just surfing the web searching for answers, here are 10 clues on why I think you might be ready to start your own business:

1.) You are sick and tired of living the 9-5 life. You don’t want to plan your life around your work anymore. Sure, running a business doesn’t mean working just four hours a week, but it does give you the ability to set a lot of your own hours. There are some weeks where I work 10 hours a week and some where I work 40+. But, I love having the freedom to schedule my own week.

2.) You got fired and/or you’ve been turned down from countless “dream” positions. When I lived in DC, I applied for job after job after job. Sometimes I’d go on six interviews at one organization and be told, “that’s it, you are our top pick”, and then they’d give the job to someone else- someone who was slightly more connected than I was. Or I’d be told, “we love you, but we feel you are overqualified.” I started to feel like I’d never be able to move into a position that would allow me to do things I really wanted to do.

3.) You are ready to work harder than you ever have before – as long as you are passionate about your work. Since starting my own business, I have worked harder than I ever have before. I’m not going to lie, it has been a huge responsibility and undertaking that impacts every aspect of my life.

4.) You are miserable at your current job and/or burned-out. Even though I work harder than I ever have before, I’m finally starting to get over my burnout. I personally believe, that it has a lot to do with how fulfilled I feel. I think under-fufillment leads to long lasting burnout.

5.) You are looking for some financial freedom, but you’ve capped out within your field or at your current job. This was always a struggle for me working in the nonprofit world. In two different jobs, I was hired as the Project Director, but because each time was at a nonprofit, my salary was always capped at the mid-$30,000 range. There was no room for me to move up in title or salary. I wanted to do good in the world, but I also wanted financial freedom. I’ve had to bootstrap my business, but as it grows, I’m able to do more and more, and I can see how with more financial freedom and a business model that fosters social good, you can support amazing change in the world. I love nonprofits, there is a need for them, but I now see there is also a need for businesses that do good.

6.) You have at least one supportive person in your life who believes in you, and/or you are willing to go out and find a mentor or someone to support you along the way. I’m lucky. I have some incredibly supportive friends, family, and the best fiancé in the world. What I’ve learned is, that in starting a business, support is vital. If you don’t already have at least one supportive person in your life, that is there for you during your darkest hour, and believes in you no matter what, go out and find someone, hire a coach, or get a mentor.

7.) You want to be able to live in any city, state, or country you feel like. You don’t want your job to determine where you live!

8.) You look at other people who have their own businesses, and you are inspired by them. You think it would be awesome to be able to do the same.

9.) You are ready for a roller coaster ride. You realize starting a business is no walk in the park. You know there will be days you want to quit, or that you don’t believe in your ability to build a successful business, and you are prepared to work through them.

10.) You have something you are super passionate about, and/or you see a gap or need in the market. You are ready to make time to researching and exploring the idea.

Starting a business is a huge risk. But I believe it is one worth taking.

If you think it’s something you even remotely want, I challenge you to let yourself believe it is possible. The idea of possibility inspires ideas, and once you let your mind go there, you will discover ideas you didn’t even know were there.

If you want to stay in the loop with all the things happening around here + get help creating the life meant for you, be sure to join our FREE Facebook Community here: http://bit.ly/theadventuristasociety