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Category Archives: Business

Lesley Stefanski, blogging, authentically
When I first started blogging it was more like an online journal entry filled with quick little snippets of my thoughts from that day, or even events and outings. There was nothing significant except for the outrageous spelling mistakes and horrendous grammatical errors. But I wrote for me and me alone. It was the perfect introduction for me to write authentically and honestly.

Then I started writing as an extension of my business everything changed. I started looking to see how other people were writing or expressing themselves and quickly got lost in the world of writing without a voice. I was in constant turmoil because I felt like I couldn’t write or express myself the way that other bloggers could. I felt that I had to use inspiration from their blog topics or categories and write similarly to gain any sort of readership. I became so clouded with everyone else’s words that it took me awhile to realize how lost I was from my own true voice and writing style.

I have been asked on numerous occasions how I have been able to find my own writing style, how to write authentically and honestly in a way that resonates with readers and allows yourself to be set a part.

I feel inadequate to be teaching on how to write authentically since I still feel like I’m on the journey myself, but I will share what I have learned and what I know to be true for me.

 

The guide to Writing and Blogging Authentically:

 

1) What style are you attracted to?

I researched and kept track of the style of writing that appealed to me. This was everything from magazines, blogs, novels, and books. I learned that I enjoyed reading detailed, feminine and sometimes called floral style of writing. It moved me in ways that typically only classical writing has in the past.

I began experimenting with this style of writing and found that although there were a few bumps to overcome, I began to look forward to writing and expressing myself in a more feminine and detailed way.

This style of writing has been called too elaborate for business writing, and though I agree when writing sales pages or contracts, it is completely different for a blog.

2) What topics resonate with you?

This time I took to researching what made my heart skip a beat or flutter a little bit faster when speaking with others. This one took more time as I have lots of interests and passions, but I slowly started to narrow it down to which topics made me the most excited to speak about. I absolutely love to talk about dreams and visions, business and creative industries, and creating a lifestyle that resonates deeply with you.

I then began to experiment with these topics on my blog and took note as to which ones I was having difficulty writing about, which ones came easily, and which ones I was resisting all together.

Typically what I was resisting was the topic that I was going through at the moment or what I needed to write about the most. When I realized I was having difficultly on another topic I assessed whether it was something I truly enjoyed writing about or was forcing myself to write about it because I felt that it complimented the rest of my writing or was ‘expected’ of me because others in my industry wrote about it.

Every topic I wrote about would be assessed with whether I enjoyed writing about it or not and once enough research was gathered I would decide whether it was something I wanted to continue writing about or not.

3) What topics resonate with your readers?

After you have done the research as to what you enjoy writing about now you can start researching what your readers enjoy reading! This one is the most time consuming as the research never ends.

I assess what resonates with my readers through the following avenues:

  • comments and likes on the post, Facebook, or Instagram
  • google analytics and how many click throughs I received through Facebook or Instagram
  • google analytics to view the most popular posts
  • google analytics to view the topics that my readers are most attracted to

Once you have a writing style that you enjoy, topics that you can’t stop writing about, and a list of posts/topics that resonate with your readers you begin to build a strong platform to continue building upon while your tastes and life experiences expand and grow.

Even though you have done all this research you will most likely still have days where you feel like what your writing about has already been written about. You will have days where you feel like you are forcing yourself to write even when you have no desire to press another key on the keyboard. You will wonder if anyone cares if you write another word. You will wonder if you are lost in the sea of all the other bloggers and writers in the world.

I can only say is yes, it probably has already been transcribed by someone else. You are another blog amongst the billions out there. But no matter what, your voice, your thoughts, your views are needed and wanted and even if there is only one reader – write to that one reader.

Guide to investing in your business, outsourcing, business coaching
Starting and maintaining a business is not easy. It is not for the faint of heart and it is not for ones who are looking to make some quick money. It is for those who are in it for the long haul, who are willing to put in long hours, sweat the small stuff along with crying a lot of tears in frustration. It is for those who are willing to constantly feel ‘turned on’ by business and typically unable to turn their brain off of how to generate more content or attract another client.

It is a long and tiring road, but one full of great satisfaction.

Due to the stress and toll running a business can have on you - emotionally, mentally, and physically – you need to know where to find the support to make sure you can run an efficient and profitable business.

I know it seems easier (and more economical) to do everything yourself, but in my experience it takes longer, you become more frustrated, and you end up doing yourself and your clients a disservice. I believe you are in business because of what you are passionate about, not to do the things you detest.

Take an honest look at yourself and assess your weaknesses and be proud of them!

Where in your business do you put tasks off until the deadline is staring you in the face?
Where in your business do you find anxiety or stress to get tasks done?
Where in your business do you find it takes up the most time and you hate the whole process?

List everything down that comes to mind. It is okay to write them down as weaknesses, it is actually better to know where your faults lie in business…because you’re going to outsource them next!

Next you are going to find your support to get those tasks off your plate. Now do not allow yourself to think you do not deserve help or that you need to do it on your own. You desire a profitable and successful business, and this will get you there. There are family, friends, and other business owners who love to do what you hate doing and it is time you allow them to flourish along with you.

Yes, this will require money.

It is an investment to your business AND your wellbeing.

Set yourself a budget, even if it is $20 for the month, hire the support to get you to where you want to be. If you need to, raise your prices the exact amount you need so that you can hire your support.

Believe me, it is worth it!

I recently hired myself a Virtual Assistant to help me with blogging and emails because there were certain aspects of the administrative side of business that stressed me out and caused a lot of anxiety. My virtual assistant thrives in those areas so I hired her to support me in my business, and in turn I am also supporting her business.

It is scary, to ask for help, but it is totally worth the investment.

What is one area you have been wanting to outsource but have been afraid that you could not afford it? Are you going to commit to investing in your business and wellbeing?

Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

What a newsletter looks like
Have you thought about adding your name to my newsletter but concerned it might just be another spam email in your inbox to contend with? It has never been my intention to send spam emails or to send words that do not inspire or fulfill you.

I thought, just perhaps, if you were interested I would show you what I do send. And I only send emails when I feel like I have something to say. This is what I sent last week to my newsletter subscribers, who I refer to as my secret society of supporters.

Dearest,

In a world where we are forever moving as fast as we possibly can to get to the next task, to make sure we are there for the next event, to make sure we anticipate the next breakdown it can be difficult to live.

To truly live, in the moment. Eyes wide open.

To fully realize that we are living a dream that was once exactly that, a dream…a vision of what life could be like. A ‘wouldn’t it be nice?’.

It is too easy to strike the task ‘complete’ and move onto to the next without realizing that we should breathe and take it all in. You accomplished something that a moment ago was something that you didn’t know would actually come true.

Whether that be:
washing the dishes.
getting yourself dressed in the morning.
cuddling your little babe in dark of the night.
starting your business.
getting that first sale.
owning your dream home.
starting your retirement fund.
going on that long desired trip.
moving across the world.

It can be so easy to just move onto what’s next instead of letting yourself live in your dream, and soak up every moment of it.

There have been moments of this for me, while living here in London. There are times when I want to start planning and dreaming of our next season abroad and even moments when I dream of my big tub back home.

But I have to remind myself, live the dream now. Soak this up, enjoy the moment, etch it into your memory. Because, this too shall pass.

I want to encourage you to also breathe deep, soak in your surroundings, and enjoy the moment. No matter what it is, you have accomplished something today!

always,
lesley

If you’d like to sign up for the newsletter, you can do that here (or below) and you receive my Workbook as a gift! I would love to have you along, my newsletter feels like an extension of my blog where I share my heart with you.

Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.


Waking up on a Monday morning when you’ve spent the past eight hours on and off with your babe who thinks that sleep is the last thing we should be doing, can definitely give you the case of the Monday blues. As much as I tried to nap with my babe in the morning, I couldn’t do it, I knew I needed to get stuff done.

When you say yes to the first thing on your to do list, you begin the spiral of yeses for the day.

I hopped in the shower and enjoyed 15 minutes of alone time to just let my mind wander while the water cascaded over my body. Once I finished my shower I could have easily thrown my hair into a top knot, but I decided to spend another 30 minutes doing my hair and applying some makeup. While my babe napped I kept an ear open for any crying since doing my hair takes some time, but she slept perfectly.

After I fed her and let her play for a little bit she quickly went down for her next nap. I thrive off of these naps! It’s more time to myself to do whatever I need to do. Today, it’s continuing to say yes to my to do list. I was on the phone setting up appointments, filling out applications, folding laundry, vacuuming the house, putting away dishes, and now blogging.

With a new babe I’m still surprised I can get things off my to do list, but it all begins with yes.

You see, the moment I start saying yes, it builds and the momentum grows to keep on saying yes to the next task or project. Every day I easily could say no and decide to stay in bed in my yoga pants watching episodes of random TV shows, but instead I choose to say yes and slowly start seeing changes in my life and in our home.

Once I say yes I realize that half way through my day my house is clean and I’m being extremely productive. I also learn that I can’t be productive without a clean house and when I say no, nothing gets done.

See what I mean by it’s a spiral of yeses?

Obviously with a new babe it can be completely thrown off course and I spend the afternoon tucked away in my bedroom with a sleeping babe in my arms, but knowing that I’ve started my day with yes makes a world of a difference.

What do you do to help you stay productive and get stuff done? I would love to hear your method!

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Originally I was going to title this post “Suffering through burnout”. But let’s be honest, having to deal with burnout is suffering enough, but what we actually end up going through is life. And someway or another, actually moving forward. Because that is the truth of the matter, that even though we’re suffering we move forward.

I experienced the worst burnout of my life this past year, and mixing it with depression threw me into the deep end. Those six months, I suffered, and lived through it.

When we arrived in Vancouver all I knew is that we were supposed to be here. Every sign had pointed us back to our hometown, so we packed everything and moved back, but other then that I had no idea why or what I was supposed to do. Mister would go off every day to a job he loved and instantly succeeded in, but I was left with the hard reality that stepping away from a thriving business to having no purpose at all was a bigger challenge than I was willing to face. I fell hard, down the slippery slope of depression and with it, burnout.

I was so tired of feeling, doing, and being anything. I didn’t have the energy to get out of bed some days and the thought of starting a new project made me ill. I did not have the drive to put any thought or action into what needed to be done. I hardly had energy to meet with family or friends because I didn’t want to talk about what I was going to do now that I was in Vancouver.

I was tired of dreaming up dreams, writing down goals, achieving, and setting out to do good in this world. I was done, dead. All my emotion had left the building and I didn’t know if it was coming back. At first I was worried, what if I stayed emotionally dead? How will my marriage succeed, how will my business become what I want it to be, will I ever move forward? I struggled through these thoughts for months before eventually finding a stillness and soaked in the pleasure of emotional burnout.

  1. I stopped caring. Somehow all that achieving and pushing forward takes a backseat in your life and you stop caring about what other’s are achieving or doing. I found it a great way to stop comparing myself or feeling like I’m competing. I was able to step away from facebook and I quit my google reader as well, two things that I had always felt attached to as a way to stay ‘informed’.
  2. You learn to be still and enjoy a season of non creative energy. There is this idea that we always must be pushing and creating, without stopping. Feeding that idea will lead to burn out. But once you realize it’s okay to just be still and enjoy, it feels amazing! Plus it helps you create a sense of balance once the energy comes back.
  3. You take the time to truly appreciate the small things in life. It’s amazing how good it feels to have a spark of energy to go for a walk, talk with a friend, or sit down to a movie that makes you laugh until your stomach hurts.

Looking back I realize that my burn out wasn’t all that I had thought it was while going through it. Now that I’ve lived through it, I know that I come out stronger and more focused than before, but it’s no vacation where you sit pool-side sipping cocktails all day. It’s an emotional roller coaster and takes a lot of energy, and you hardly have any to begin with, to fight your way back to the top.

To be completely open about my experience with burnout I am in no way saying it was easy. It’s a suffocating experience and I hope I never have to go through it again. If you happen to know someone who is going through one, be there for them, support and give them space. They’ll appreciate it, believe me. That being said, I’m thankful to have a husband who supported me while giving me the time and space to heal. Without him, I would probably still be wandering around burnt out, depressed, and stressed as well.

Image Source: Fredric Lagrange