Challenging Myself to Stay the Course & Redefining FreedomJuly 10, 2023 July 10, 2023 /
When I decided to move to Costa Rica in 2021, it was probably one of the easiest decisions I had ever made.
And a decision I made very quickly.
At the time, I had just spent a year in Boise, ID (literally March 2020-2021, so the pandemic) and needed to make a decision as to whether or not I would renew my lease.
I knew I didn’t want to stay in Boise (I’m from Northern California... Boise was my test to see if I could actually move away from my family. Having lost my Mom in July of 2019, it ended up being an incredibly healing year, lockdown and all), but I wasn’t quite sure where I wanted to be.
At one point, I had looked into moving to Portugal, but with the pandemic, it would be a year before I could get an appointment to get the paperwork even started, so I passed on that.
I have a mentor who has property in Costa Rica, and once I realized they had fiber optic internet, I thought, “Why not?
Within a week of making this decision, I found a place, gave a deposit, and had five weeks to get myself out of Idaho. I spent two months in California getting ready for my move to Costa Rica, and on May 31st, 2021, I was on a plane for a new chapter.
In hindsight, I can see that having made this decision in such a short window and then only having three months to move to another country (that I had never visited and where I didn’t speak the language) kept me so busy I didn’t have a lot of time to overthink this.
I’ve always been a pretty decisive person, and moving to Costa Rica was no different. Worst-case scenario I move back to California.
Moving to Costa Rica was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.
Once I made the commitment to do it, I was all in.
Which is exactly where I’m at in my business right now.
I’ve been in a “burning the boats” mode lately, and it feels phenomenal… regardless of the excited/nervous feeling I have in my gut.
When I started my business over 15 years ago, my primary motivator was freedom.
I was widowed at 32 with two small children at home, and I wanted to be around for them. I knew that commuting and being out of the house 50+ hours a week was not what they needed, and it wasn’t what I wanted.
I have also always known that there was something else I was supposed to do with my life beyond a job.
When I started my business, I was not technical… at all.
But I was committed to making it work. I used to use the analogy that if I could put together IKEA furniture, I could figure this stuff out. And I did.
The truth is, most things are learnable if you have the desire and commitment.
Freedom is still a primary motivator for me, but with grown children living on their own, my time truly is my own. I created the time freedom I desired a long time ago.
Now I’m redefining what freedom means to me.
I’ve got bigger goals for this next chapter of my life, so naturally, what I do to get there needs to look different.
A catalyst for creating this next chapter in my life is the book, “Be Your Future Self Now” by Dr. Benjamin Hardy. I highly recommend it if you’re at a stage in your life where you are craving something more/something different.
My new definition of freedom includes two main components:
- The work I do & how I spend my time
- Financial Abundance
Let’s talk about the first component:
The Work I Do & How I Spend My Time
This will speak directly to my “challenge to stay the course” as well.
I realized as I started “burning the boats” that I was splitting my energy in a few places. I love using ChatGPT in my business and showing other people how to use it as well, but I don’t want to become known for ChatGPT.
I spent ten years as “The WordPress Chick” and made a very conscious decision to shift to my personal brand in 2018.
I’m not going backward.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t use what I’ve created and integrate these tools into what I’m doing and what I teach. I’ve created a few products for ChatGPT, but that’s as far as it goes. Moving forward, I’ll integrate ChatGPT into what I’m teaching but as a tool, not a business model.
I know my purpose in this lifetime is to create and inspire.
Everything outside of that isn’t the best use of my time.
That doesn’t mean that’s all I do, but once things are in place, they get handed off (i.e., social media – but more on that in a minute).
I love writing, podcasting, and creating products (courses, curriculum, PDFs, ebooks, etc).
Therefore, my focus is on a business that allows me the time and space to have that be how I spend most of my time.
Sidenote: I’m not interested in creating a bunch of random products, just better products. My goal is a core suite of products that, once they’re created, the focus shifts to consistent traffic, engagement, and testimonials.
It’s often easier to get clarity on what you do want by first eliminating what you don’t want (don’t want to be doing, don’t want in your life, etc.).
In no particular order, here are the things in my business I don’t enjoy doing:
- Editing: any type of audio or video editing.
- Repurposing: There is nothing I enjoy about taking long-form content and turning it into a bunch of social media pieces or short-form content.
- Social media: Just no. Outside of when I choose to engage or am in the mood, this has to be done by someone else.
- Administrative: In order to keep things moving, I need someone to manage some of the admin tasks and processes. It’s the only way to grow (and also stuff I don’t enjoy doing). Even though there isn’t a lot of admin work, this needs to be handed off.
I could probably add paid traffic to that list, but I’ve made a commitment to myself to put the time and energy into one paid traffic channel at a time, and once that’s working, add another. I’ve spent way too much money paying ad agencies and on ad courses.
I’d rather have that money for ad spend.
So I’m sticking with figuring out and mastering one paid traffic channel (FB & IG) for the next 12 months. I’m not saying I will have mastered this, but it will be profitable.
As for the four things I’ve listed above (editing, repurposing, social media, and administrative), all will be hired out. I have a couple of people lined up already and will pull the trigger on one or two by September.
Let’s Talk Social Media and Threads
Unless you were out of the solar system this past week, you’ve probably heard about “Threads” – the new Twitter competitor created by Meta. If not, a quick Google search, and you’ll have plenty to read.
Because users can create their Threads account using their Instagram login (and move all their followers over), it amassed something like 30 million users in 24 hours—the fastest of any social network to date.
I’ve been on Twitter since 2008, have a decent following, and have tried to put some energy into it over the last couple of years… but short-form tweets and that style of content have never resonated with me.
I see a lot of people saying Threads feels different, but it looks and feels just like Twitter to me.
I grabbed my name, followed some people, posted once, and am still on the fence.
Didn’t I just say I don’t like short-form content?
Yes, I did.
Even logging into the app feels like I’m selling myself down the river for some quick attention.
If my goal is to spend less time on social media, this feels like a massive contradiction (and somehow putting this out the world is me waving the flag of accountability to myself).
Better use of my time would be writing more, creating a podcast, or working on copy for a landing page and ad (or continuing the Facebook ads course I have).
There’s a line from a poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer called “The Invitation” that speaks directly to this:
“I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.”
That’s a little bit of a gut punch, isn’t it?
As I started reading and listening to Dr. Benjamin Hardy, he shared that one of his big goals was to get a six-figure book deal.
So he blogged on Medium every day for three years straight. His writing improved, he became prolific on the platform, and he got his book deal (he also grew a list of 100k email subscribers, which played a huge role in getting his book deal).
He’s now written seven books, 3 of them with Dan Sullivan, and guess what?
He doesn’t blog on Medium anymore.
His goals have changed, so the work he does needs to change.
Back to social media and Threads…
I have zero judgment about what anyone else does or how they spend their time. All I know is that I have to be ruthlessly protective of my time, energy, and attention in order to create the life I truly desire.
And that means less social media, not more or different.
I’m choosing not to betray my own soul.
Let’s look at the second component – Financial Abundance
I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs financially in my business (and life).
Incredible 5-figure weeks and months… along with scraping by or rebuilding.
At the risk of stating the obvious, the incredible weeks make life a whole lot easier.
I’ve invested much in my business with coaching, masterminds, and learning. I have no regrets and firmly believe in the investments I’ve made.
I’ve met amazing people, had some unique experiences, and learned a lot.
Financial abundance allows you to make these investments in yourself and your business without thinking twice.
I love what Ramit Sethi says about investing in learning (I’m paraphrasing), but he never limits how much he invests in books and learning. Even if you only get one idea from a book, it’s worth it.
Unfortunately, I see way more men claim the financial abundance they want (and create it) than women.
This needs to change.
This is also why I’ve committed to serving female entrepreneurs. My audience and email list have always been pretty split in terms of men & women, but 95% of my customers are women.
I don’t believe in a ceiling of “enough”…
I also don’t have a set dollar amount that I have to keep attaining.
I have financial goals that support the freedom I want (go back & forth between California & Costa Rica… goodbye winter, 😉) and the things I want to do.
Which includes a lot more time for non-work activities.
More time with family and friends, painting, drawing, reading, exercising, traveling… all with comfort and ease.
All of this ties in with working as long as I can.
As long as what I do continues to be fun and I continue to grow and learn? I’m going to keep working.
Financial abundance allows me to create that in the way that works for me.
I know that social media is simply part of doing business online, but unless that’s your business model (you’re a social media manager or make your living from being on social media), it doesn’t have to be a distraction or time-suck.
I have a very close friend who has someone else do her social media. She made half a million dollars in 2022 and stays focused on doing the work she loves.
Her focus is exactly why her income continues to grow and why she’s able to help her family (how good would it feel to write a check to a family member for $20k without blinking an eye?).
That’s financial abundance.
So, to sum this up, my challenge to myself is to stay the course I’ve created.
I’m 100% committed to creating the life I want, which means less social media, more time freedom, more financial abundance, and serving exactly who I know I’m meant to serve.
Before you get too excited about another traffic opportunity or jump into Threads, my challenge to you is to take a little time to reflect and decide if another social media platform is the best use of your time.
If it is, go all in.
Make a commitment to showing up consistently, creating and sharing content that truly represents who you are and how you help, and then measure if it’s working.
My gut says you can connect with and create a community on any social platform with consistent effort, measuring what’s working and enjoying what you’re doing.