In this episode, I want to challenge you to start thinking about More Creating, Less Producing.
Let me back up a little bit and explain where this came from (and yes, I’ll probably be creating a framework for this).
I came up with the term #FtheHUSTLE over six years ago.
At the time there were so many people preaching about hustle and grind it started getting on my nerves. It made me feel like no matter what I did, it wasn’t enough.
And I’m a doer.
I take action, I like being productive and seeing results from my efforts.
All that being said, I didn’t need to be bombarded with the message that I needed to do MORE or that I wasn’t serious about my business because I wasn’t working 24/7.
And can we just zip it about binge-watching TV already?
Do whatever works for you to refuel and recharge.
I didn’t do anything with #FtheHUSTLE until almost two years ago when I saw the logo in a dropbox folder and knew instantly that it was going to be the name of the newsletter (I had no idea at the time I would use it for my podcast as well).
Fast forward to today, and I’m much clearer on what #FtheHUSTLE is (more on that later…and surprise, I’ve met with a book coach to start outlining an #FtheHUSTLE book! I started doing it with AI last year, and it didn’t feel right. I want to write every word of this book).
#FtheHUSTLE is subjective.
Meaning it gets to be whatever it needs to be for YOU.
Whether it’s a shorter work week, limiting calls, more vacation time, not selling a product or service the way everyone else is telling you it needs to be done, choosing not to use social media or hiring someone to clean your house.
It can be business or personal, or better yet both.
It’s about creating a life that allows you to be and do whatever it is you want.
This brings me to more creating, less producing.
I’m going to back into this because it will be helpful to hear how I’m focused on creating in a way that isn’t necessarily obvious.
Align, Design, Assign
First off, Align, Design, Assign is from an amazing book I’m reading called “free time” by Jenny Blake.
HOLY MOLY, I love this book.
Recently I shared that I got the updated version of Mike Michalowicz’s “Clockwork” because I want to remove myself from the aspects of my business that aren’t the best use of my time.
I’m also launching a new company (you’ll hear about that in the next month, I promise) and want to make sure it’s set up in a way that isn’t reliant on me as the brand’s voice.
I will 100% be part of the brand in terms of part of the company (and obviously, using what I’ve created to support the launch), but I will not be the primary content creator. In fact, I’m hoping that within the first 6 months, we have a tiny, effective team (also from free time).
Back to Assign, Design, Align.
What hit me with both of these books and the work I’m doing behind the scenes for the new company (the naming took a lot of work, now I’ve moved on to the messaging and voice of the brand while having hired a graphic design company to work on the logo) is how I’ve had to slow down to be able to build something phenomenal.
I’m going to share a few bullet points from the “Align” part of the book that resonated so deeply within me.
That last one is EVERYTHING. “How you build is as important as what you create.”
Circling back to the #FtheHUSTLE book for a moment (I promise it will make sense).
As I was working with the book coach (Christine Sheehy btw if you’re looking for someone brilliant), she asked me what the core principles of #FtheHUSTLE were.
I told her I felt like I’d always had a hard time defining it.
All of that changed with her help.
On that call, I literally said, “More creating, less producing,” when we were discussing one of the principles.
What happened to enjoying the work we do?
Why does every freaking thing we create have to be done in a set period?!?!
Look, I completely understand the need to “ship it” and get the thing out the door.
But there is a HUGE difference between being lit up about something and getting it out there and “I need to generate revenue, so I need to get this out there.”
I commend anyone who pulls the trigger and tries things.
That’s how we learn.
Some things are going to hit, some aren’t… and that’s O.K.
What’s not O.K. is forgetting why you’re doing what you do and deciding that the only thing that defines your success and value as an entrepreneur is how much you produce and how quickly you produce it.
The problem with this kind of production is you’re going so fast that the message starts falling flat.
You’re on such a mission to make MORE that you don’t even see that what you’re making isn’t working.
I need to say that louder for the people in the back.
Naturally, this all inspired a doodle:
For those of you listening, the doodle is “Producing vs. Creating” and has two panes. On the left, we have producing, which shows someone on a hamster wheel, running, with a weary expression on their face.
On the right, we have creating, which shows a very happy person jumping with crayons in their hand, a light bulb above their head, and a little heart off to the left.
This is more about the approach you take to what you’re creating rather than producing content.
I’m all for systems, processes, and schedules that help with automation, repurposing, and creating a team to help you grow.
But this is about YOUR zone of genius.
And how you come across to your subscribers, customers, and potential subscribers.
How to know if you’re producing instead of creating
How does your content sound?
Can you differentiate one email/tweet/post from the last?
Things are very different from how they were a few years ago. People want to feel a connection to you. Think about who you always open emails from.
People you know, like & trust, right? (yes, I know that saying is a little overused, but it is what it is).
I have a handful of emails I subscribe to that 95% of the time I end up deleting without reading. A few are friends (I know, it’s O.K. to unsubscribe from friends), but more often than not, it’s people I don’t remember subscribing to or haven’t heard from in ages.
Creating shouldn’t be about “just getting it out there, “… at least not most of the time. We all have those days, moments, or weeks when we aren’t feeling it, but we get it done anyway.
What you don’t realize is how much this hurts your business.
Every time you push something out there because you need to be doing more, your audience will feel it.
There’s a feeling of desperation to it.
And your audience will know.
Take the time to enjoy the process
I had a ridiculous amount of fun working this past weekend.
It’s been gray and rainy in Costa Rica for a while now (it actually feels like fall here, albeit not really cold. It is cooler than I’ve experienced here), and I’m not doing much with my back anyway, so the quiet weekends working feel like bliss.
I spent part of Saturday morning helping a friend with her messaging and audience and working on a name for her newsletter (I swear if someone had told me five years ago, I would love doing this stuff, I would have thought they had lost their minds).
Then I ran out to get a friend here some meds (COVID and a sinus infection!), and just as I got home, it started pouring rain, which was perfect for jumping into Justin Welsh’s “Content OS” (also more on that later because hot damn it’s brilliant!).
On Sunday, I planned to work on a sales page for a small course I’m doing called “Create an Email Experience,” – which I’m so excited about (I’ll do an entire episode on what that is), and was struck with this overwhelming feeling that I didn’t have to do that day.
Which, in and of itself, felt a little delicious.
Even though it was a self-imposed task, I wasn’t feeling it, but I still wanted to work.
Here’s where the podcast comes full circle, back to “free time” by Jenny Blake.
I think I came across her book as a suggestion on Amazon, so I clicked through and listened to the Audible sample.
I was hooked instantly.
I didn’t know how deeply this book would resonate with me.
I tend to listen to audiobooks when I’m driving or walking, rarely do I sit and listen to books at home or while I’m working.
Not this book
I spent most of Sunday listening to this book, taking notes, and getting clearer on creating and setting up the right systems in my businesses.
Here’s the magic that happened also…
During my call with Christine about the #FtheHUSTLE book, I told her I had hesitated to use certain words or language in my content, copy, and marketing. I used them from time to time but not in a deeper, spiritual, and energetic way related to business.
Words like align, energy, magic, trust, etc.
Then I get this book, and that’s how she’s built and scaled her business.
Connecting the intangible with the tangible, and most importantly, not explaining or justifying it.
Another phrase from the book: Marketing with magic and serendipity.
All of the work I did over the last few days (my call with Christine, helping a friend on Saturday, taking the time to learn from Justin Welsh, and devouring as much of this book and her work as I could) was part of the creating process.
We must take the time to “get quite enough to let the ideas bubble up.”
We don’t give ourselves enough credit for the inner work that gives us what we need to do the outer work.
Another phrase from the book I love is NLBs or non-linear breakthroughs.
Here’s an example.
I’ve shared that I’m launching something new.
Recently I talked with a friend about this, and he suggested being a strategic partner. In fact, I had another call with someone who also suggested a strategic partner.
Initially, I thought that it would be super helpful to have someone manage a particular piece of the business in exchange for a revenue share and possible equity.
We’ve been meeting weekly to discuss this.
On our call last week, when we started discussing an operating agreement, I was hit with an overwhelming “No.”
And I knew with every ounce of my being that I wasn’t giving any of this company away.
I’ve done far too many collaborations and partnerships, and I’m done. Not that they’ve been negative experiences (working with Jodi on the Content Creators Planner was great), but because it’s time for me to do this alone.
I’m also building a tiny, effective team, and that’s enough.
My creativity and confidence have gone through the roof because of this decision.
This is what I would call a non-linear breakthrough.
And it’s worth celebrating.
I want to wrap this up with a little summary:
- Creating better quality that you enjoy creating and can repurpose will outperform all day long
- Don’t lose sight of why you’re doing what you do
- It’s not only O.K. to listen to that inner knowing, it’s imperative for your success
- Doing the work doesn’t have to be “HARD” (I LOVE her lower case & upper case example). You just need to do it
- Start saying what you want to say in the way you want to say it. That’s how you attract the right people
And if you’re looking to create solid systems and processes in your business, I highly recommend free time by Jenny Blake and Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz.