Last updated on July 8th, 2019 at 09:52 am
As a new year rolls into view, I haven’t exactly been excited about the prospect of pinning my ears back (even more) and working on a bigger business plan for my online entrepreneurial dream.
I think I feel this way because I’m just dog-tired from spending four years building a popular blog while being a full-time freelance writer and working for a publishing company part-time while raising a teenage son (and his father) and taking care of an aging parent and just maybe it’s all kicking my ass.
Do I want to push myself more?
Then I read the articles written by the other dreamers on 8WomenDream–their gut-wrenching, beautiful stories about their big dreams and I feel a pull to my heart. The writers deserve to be known for what they do. They too deserve to make an excellent living at their dreams. I mean, this is the reason why we are pursuing our passions. Don’t we want to make the kind of money that allows us to “play at” our passions full-time–full-throttle? These thoughts consume me as I fret over how I am going to make it all work, and then I think about parts of running a business that I don’t like.
On the flip-side, I’ve also seen women attempt to run a successful business by lighting candles and dancing naked around their computer when the moon is full. I know that’s no way to run a business. It’s not even a great way to improve your sex life. There has to be a balance between the creative and the serious (look at Pixar’s business model!). Who could I trust to help me? What if I don’t feel like spending the money to expand? What is wrong with me? Do all online entrepreneurs go through this?
Welcome to my dream-thoughts.
In my offline life, I have the pleasure of spending time with Dawson Church, Ph.D., helping him with his media and creative projects. I never talk about 8WomenDream when we are working together. He’s just as bad of a workaholic as I am, so we are always focusing on how much we can get done in four hours. He’s rather pleasant to me. He lets me get mad at him while still doing specific tasks his way. It’s a compromise.
Christmas was crazy this year, and before I knew it, Dawson was off on a lecture tour. He left behind a Christmas bag full of goodies that I found nestled in an area where I usually sit to work. I kicked the bag with my foot and picked it up, thinking his family left it for him. I glanced at the card and–lo and behold–there was my name neatly written in the middle.
For some reason, I didn’t open the bag right away. I wanted to wait until I was alone. Once home, I spread the tissue-wrapped contents from the bag on my bed. I have no clue as to why I wanted to open the gifts this way, but something told me that there was something special for me in that big, heavy gift bag.
I squeezed each of the wrapped objects and ended up opening the heaviest-one first. It turned out to be this 2 inch, ring-bound book/workbook called, “Heart of the Visionary” by Shiloh Sophia McCloud. I was instantly drawn to the cover–sprinkled with one of my most favorite colors (teal). It was so heavy that it fell on to my thighs as I pulled off the wrapping.
As it turns out, Heart of the Visionary is a “workbook for women’s work.”
And to be honest, at first, I thought, “Oh God this is going to be one of those books that is going to ask me to dance around my computer naked while burning sage and chanting” so I set it aside to look at the other gifts, but I kept staring at that cover. I fell asleep staring at that cover.
When Christmas died down a bit, and I had another moment to breathe, I began to read through the first pages of the book.
And I love it. It’s precisely the advice I was searching for but didn’t know it. The book is about building a financially successful creative business for creative women, combining the right amount of serious planning with creativity.
The chapters in Heart of the Visionary are:
1. Invitation. Answer the call to explore your dreams.
2. Creation. Nurture your creativity.
3. Vision. The power of passion.
4. Abundance. Practicing gratitude and abundance.
5. Perspective. Being ourselves.
6. Wisdom. Seeking wise counsel.
7. Money. Learning about our relationship to money.
8. Market. Showing up and sharing our work.
9. Business. Building structure.
10. Communication. Creating powerful results.
11. Wellness. Learning to care for ourselves. (The oh-holy-hell one)
12. Compassion. The power of caring.
13. Community. Gathering with the strength of the like-hearted.
And as you put together your plans for next year while I create my plan for taking my online dream to the next significant level, I’m going to start with the “Go-girl, Go-action Plan Checklist” by Sherri Morris, a contributor to the book.
The Go-girl, Go-action Plan Checklist
1. Decide on your business type and name. Do research (this includes looking at available URLs) based on the design you have in mind:
2. Business Name:
3. Business slogan/motto/tagline:
4. Theme colors/symbol/image/brand:
5. Domain Name for your website:
5a. Email addresses:
5b. Grab social media sites in business name too (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram):
6. Get a business license/ File for a fictitious name or whatever is required in your location:
6a. You may want to meet with an attorney or an accountant, or at least interview some to get an idea of what you will need.
7. Describe product or service:
8. Set up business checking account:
9. Get a resale license/sales tax permit if needed:
10. Decide on your permanent business address:
11. Business phone number:
12. Have professional business cards designed by a professional along with a logo for online and print:
13. Who can help you with what you are trying to accomplish:
14. Find a mentor, a team, and people (groups and organizations- both online and offline) who will inspire you and help you in business – ideas:
15. Network with other women entrepreneurs’ ideas:
15a. I will connect with (list entrepreneurs) by (set date):
16. Get funding – ideas:
16a. What are your personal money sources?
17. Trademark your name/Copyright (Recommended but not required) and register a brand.
18. Set up a bookkeeping/record-keeping system:
19. Plans for records:
20. Make a list of what you need for your workspace:
21. Create a work schedule and a vision schedule, even if it’s part-time:
22. Marketing actions:
22a. Step 1:
22b. Step 2:
22c. Step 3:
23. Ways you can be paid (Paypal, credit cards, cash):
24. Website monetization goals:
25. What are your weaknesses and who can you contract with to do those tasks:
26. Who do you need to help you:
27. What resources do you need immediately:
28. What supplies do you need to deliver on what you offer:
29. What is YOUR title:
30. Describe what you do in 200 characters or less:
31. Action list – what next (as you move through items on this list, other things will come up and add them to your notes here to keep revising your action plans):
Review goals with dates, get supplies and stock – sufficient to get started but do not overstock, market, advertise, or sell. How do you initially want to launch your business? If you have the funds, hire a marketing agency. Buy insurance, damage or liability-determined by your type of business, establish working systems, and keep a personal eye on quality control. Work with a great tax accountant.
Because I’ve been working on my dream for some time, I have already completed quite a bit of what is listed on the checklist, but in case you are just beginning an online entrepreneurial dream of your own, I wanted to share this part of the book with you.
Do you feel yourself resisting anything that is mentioned on this list?
Don’t worry; it’s reasonable to find reasons why your big dream might be too hard or beyond what you think you are capable of accomplishing. I’ve been there also, hell, I still struggle with it, but for some crazy reason, I keep putting one foot in front of the other and continue.
It’s the only way to take your big dream from the visual to the physical. The dancing naked around your computer is optional.
Catherine Hughes is the founder, content director and editor-at-large of 8WomenDream. She is passionate about helping women step out of their own way and strike out into a world waiting for their special talents. She’s a published author and a former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine has helped companies both large and small create engaging web content, social media narratives, and unique blogging platforms. She claims to be a redhead, but don’t hold that against her.
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