How to do it YOUR way.

What is your knee-jerk reaction to the word trailblazer?

What's your knee-jerk reaction to the word trailblazer?

Does it make you feel amped up and excited? Or does it make you feel less than, like you aren't anywhere CLOSE to being a trailblazer in any aspect of your life?

If you answered yes to the first question, rock on with your bad self. 

And if you answered yes to the second question, we feel you and also lovingly call bullshit on that response.  

DO IT NOW:

Get out a piece of paper or journal and write down all the ways in which you are going against the grain and doing things YOUR way.

The very nature of entrepreneurship — whether you're doing this full time or not — is that of blazing a trail. You are going against the grain big time, simply by wanting to create something that is your own.

You think differently.

You act differently.

You take risks when others aren't willing to do so.

You see creative solutions where most people see problems.

You feel called to help others.

You are following your passions.

You are a trailblazer.

If you've been digging your heels in on this word and feel like this doesn't apply to you, we want to challenge you to prove yourself wrong. To look for the ways in which you are defying the norm, sticking your neck out there, and doing something that others would be afraid to do.

What does productivity look and feel like to you?

What does productivity look and feel like to you? | wepropelle.com

A month or so ago, in between the first sounds of my daughter waking up from her nap and me going upstairs to get her, I felt a twinge of regret.

Why? Because I was telling myself that I didn’t get very much done because I had squandered my time, even though I was able to cross off one of the items from my list of top priorities for the week. Somehow, I felt like I wasn’t nearly as productive as I wanted to be.

I wanted to cross everything off that list immediately.

I wanted to have time to write — for myself, for my various sites, and to respond to the emails that are piling up in my inbox.

I wanted to write a handwritten note or two.

I wanted to spend some time journaling to make sense of what’s been swirling around in my head.

Instead, I had exactly enough time to edit two blog posts — one interview and one guest post for the blog.

It would be easy to say that my lack of productivity is the result of shorter naps, but I’m guessing that’s not entirely true. In fact, I think it has way more to do with how I define productivity — AKA logging hours in front of the computer.

No wonder I feel like I never accomplish anything.

When I was able to widen my definition and take into account everything I had done today, things shifted in a really powerful way. I felt more at peace, was kinder to myself on the whole, and had a fuller picture of what my day entailed.

Which, by the way, started in THE best way possible: snuggles in bed with my daughter.

It was full of eating and talking, errand running, party planning, reading, coloring, scheduling out blog posts, getting organized about my week, getting our tax information finalized, doing dishes, cleaning up our house, and tea parties galore.

And that’s just the tangible stuff.

I also managed to be playful instead of yelling when frustration and anger showed up. And was able to enjoy my day more profoundly than I have in a long time.

So why are those things any less meaningful than sitting in front of a computer and writing or checking off an item from my to-do list? I honestly wish I had an answer to this one because I am ready to rewrite this story into something more balanced and supporting.

Here’s to shifting perspectives and changing a faulty narrative.

X+O,
Emily

PS—I just came across the Beyond the To Do List podcast. Has anyone listened to this? It seems like this is a good start at helping me broaden my perspective around productivity.

Rockstar of the Month: Angelica Ross of angelicaross.co

Photo credit: Porter Loves

Photo credit: Porter Loves

It's a new month and that means we get to feature another one of our lovely Rock It! members. And this month, we get to feature the ever amazing Angelica Ross. 

Angelica is a word herder and social media whiz. She's creative, she's clever, and she's one hell of a content creator. We love witnessing Angelica in action and are totally enamored by her openness to try new things. 

Also, Angelica is an avid DIYer and gardener, so she's always up to something fun.

We hope you love getting to know Angelica as much as we have. And if you want to hang out with heron the regular, you may want to consider joining the Rock It! Community.

#justsaying

An interview with word herder, Angelica Ross of angelicaross.co | wepropelle.com

Name: Angelica Ross
Job Title: Copywriter + Content Creator
Website: angelicaross.co  
Instagram: @AngelicaRossPGH
Twitter: @AngelicaRossPGH 

For those that don't know you, tell us about yourself and what you do.

I provide copywriting and content creation for badass business babes (that’s you!) who are sick of doing everything themselves so they have more time to work on what they really love to do.

When did you officially take the leap into full-time entrepreneurship, and what has that journey been like for you?

It’s been almost a year — June 15th was my first day of all-me employment! Before that, I was working on the side with social media management and content marketing for over 5 years.

It all started when the owner of the company I worked for at the time asked if I could manage their social media. She knew I was interested in making that my career and gave me an opportunity to try it on. Little did I know, that opportunity would kick off my business.

My original rate was $10/hour and I built into the contract that it would increase as our presence grew. We grew, but I never went back and asked for more money. Lesson One: Enforce the terms of your contract!

When I knew I wanted to get serious about this, I looked around for other women doing the same thing and sent a cold email to the only one I could think of who would be good for advice: Tori Mistick. You may have heard of her? She really encouraged me and has been a great resource.

When I decided to leap, it felt very now or never. I remember thinking I was already so apathetic with my desk job; I didn’t want to do anything but come home and zone out with Netflix. Seeing that pattern play out scared me just enough to light a fire under my ass. I set a deadline for myself, gave my notice, and went for it.

Talk to us about the power of YES when it comes to building and running a business.

I’m a recovering people pleaser. I always felt that the agreements I made with other people were more important than those I made with myself. If you’re familiar with Gretchen Rubin’s book, Better Than Before, that’s a textbook Obliger personality type.

“Yes” is a great word to say and hear, but giving it up all the time isn’t sustainable (who wants to be a “yes slut”?) When you’re in serious work mode, you have to be selective and give intentional yesses.

The only way I’ve found to sustain any joy is to know why I’m doing something and make sure what I’m agreeing to do — whether it’s work with a company or posting to Instagram — aligns with my why and I’m being very intentional with my yes. Otherwise, you'll feel resentful or miss out on opportunities for a better yes.

We’ve heard it before: if it isn’t a hell yes, it’s a f*ck no. It’s important to note that the Hell Yes has to come from a place of excitement and expansion, not a place of scarcity or fear. 

And of course, we’re complex beings. Give yourself a little grace when you agree to too much and have to cancel or if you do something anyway because you agreed to it even though isn’t what you want to do. Learn from that and try to respect your own boundaries next time it comes up.

If it isn't a hell yes, it's a f*ck no. | wepropelle.com

You did an awesome post for us a while back around the power of mantras and affirmations. How has that impacted your business? Has anything new opened up as a result?  

Mantras have been a huge help both personally and professionally. Someone asked me if mantras just have a placebo effect or if they really work. It’s a little of both; your energy goes where you focus it, so you’re naturally more attuned to whatever you're mantra-ing about. But the Universe isn’t just going to dump something at your door because you wish for it, you have to do the work.

When I started using mantras, two new clients I actually wanted to work with came to me (instead of me going to them). I also felt confident when saying no to a few that weren’t right. It’s helped me to shift from thinking, “I need money, must take all the clients,” to only agreeing to work with someone who’s a good fit.

Better clients, more money. Thanks, mantras!

How has your business (or focus) shifted over the years? In other words, as you've evolved, had more experience working with clients, etc., how has that impacted your business?

I went from all social media marketing and no copywriting (what I really wanted to do) to just a little content marketing and a lot of copywriting. Having a firm grasp of what I want to do, and knowing that I can and am allowed to pivot, has helped when new opportunities arise. 

Of course, I have become more confident in my abilities to do the work and I don’t feel the pressure to take jobs just because someone is paying me money. I’ve learned to be selective with my time and give those intentional yeses when an opportunity is right. I’ve also started to use better tools; I have a program that drafts contracts and an invoicing system now. When I started, I tracked hours and sent invoices in an Excel spreadsheet. It was such a pain — I was consistently months behind on it!

Looking back, is there anything you'd do differently given the chance?

I would have liked to have my legal ducks in a row a little bit sooner and really understood things like taxes and insurance. You know, all the things that come with the non-Instagram-worthy part of self-employment.

I also wish I would have tapped into the intentional yes and understood how that felt sooner. I did a lot of things I really didn’t enjoy because I thought that’s what I had to do to “pay my dues,” if you will. That’s true to an extent. If it doesn’t light you up and help you progress, though, it isn’t worth it.

What's on the horizon for you? Do you have any new projects or services in the works?  

I’m excited to work with more ladies as a Creative Collaborator. Brainstorming and working through tricky issues in marketing, blogging, and copywriting is so much easier when you have someone to turn to for support, opinions, and unbiased advice. People who hire me for that walk away from the session with clear ideas for smarter workflows, better focus for blogs and emails, and tactical advice to apply to their content marketing strategy. 

Famous last words... What advice would you give to women who are navigating the wonderful world of entrepreneurship?

Honestly, the first few months of full-fledged work were an emotional rollercoaster for me. I wasn’t prepared as well as I thought I should have been, but the joke’s on me: you’re never as prepared as you think you can be. When you have an unyielding desire to go for it, you’ll know. Be ready to give yourself that yes.

If it doesn’t light you up and help you progress, it isn’t worth it.