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my journal

Make It About Them, Not You

Make It About Them, Not You

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry I'm speaking to the small business owners and aspiring small business owners out there who are trying to grow their businesses on social media. Here's the quick takeaway point of this journal entry: you've got to make it about THEM and not YOU. This will save you loads of time and also keep you sane. There's no need to Instagram every Starbucks you drink, every cute thing your child does, or every date night you and your hubby or significant other have together. Spend a few weeks doing that and you'll exhaust yourself! And you probably won't see much business from it either.

If I had to boil down Instagram for business into one sentence it would be this: every time you think about posting something on your business account, pass it through this filter: "Is this serving my audience in some way?" The other would be: "don't chase likes and follows, instead chase click throughs and website views" (hey that rhymed!) but that's a topic for another day perhaps. 

When you start a small business and you set up a social media business account, such as on Instagram, you obviously have to post pictures of your products or talk about your services. But you also want to sprinkle in some other content to keep things interesting, introduce yourself to your clients/customers, and be seen as a real human behind the business (customers are looking for that more and more these days - a lot of people are moving away from faceless, human-less, ginormous companies like Amazon to support people-centered small businesses). So what do you post to fill in the gaps between product/service photos? It depends on your business of course but every single business should strive to primarily post things about THEIR AUDIENCE and not merely about THEM. Let me make this a little more clear through an example. Last week was my two year anniversary with my boyfriend. Sure, I could've posted a photo of us and said "yay two years!" but I am trying to get better and better about posting things that are about my audience and not just about me so here's what I did instead. I posted a photo of a beautiful bride who recently got married wearing g+h earrings and spoke about how I love hearing all of my customers' love stories. I shared how I met my boyfriend on the dating app Bumble and asked my audience to tell me how they met their significant others. It was really fun because a lot of the people who follow me are engaged and looking for wedding jewelry, so they're in love and eager to share their stories. There was so much love in the comments of that post, let me tell you! It truly brought me so many smiles to read their stories and I also got to connect individually with some of them who messaged me. You see what I mean? I made it about them too, and not just me.

You don't have to do this ALL the time but strive to do it MOST of the time. Listen, most people have a hard enough time keeping up with their close friends and family members on Instagram, so they sure don't have the time to keep up with a complete stranger's daily trips to Starbucks and other routine matters. If that's the type of content you post most of the time, your audience is going to quickly tire and unfollow. They followed you because you {insert what you do - whether that's sell jewelry, or offer one-on-one business coaching, or anything in between} so they want to see content related to that topic. Period. Don't make it complicated!

Let me come back to something I said earlier so there's no confusion. Yes, it is important to introduce yourself and let your audience get to you know as a person. That helps build the "know, like and trust" factor of the client or customer journey. First, someone has to become aware you and your business exist (know you), then they have to come to like you, and then they have to come to trust you, before they will buy. If you're selling a $30 item, people might acquire the know, like, and trust factor with you in one day. If you're selling a $1,000 coaching session, it's going to take a lot longer. I think that's a great gauge for how much you should be sharing about yourself, don't you think? If I'm selling $30 t-shirts, I probably don't need to talk too much about myself. If I'm selling a $1,000 business coaching session, I probably need to talk about how I graduated from an Ivy League school, worked in the corporate environment for 11 years, left and built my own 6-figure business, etc. You see my point?

Here's another thing to keep in mind. I think some business owners post too much about their kids, coffee, or dogs because they don't know what else to post. They want to post SOMETHING and those things are quick and easy to share so that's what they do. There's no thought, no planning, no content creation and, frankly, no work behind it. You might feel better for a second because "I posted yay!" but it's not really serving your audience or your business in any way.

If this resonates then perhaps the place to start is to plan out your content. It doesn't need to be formal and written out, but think about it intentionally. For example, say to yourself, "I want to strive to post on Instagram Stories 3 times per day, 5 days per week." Ok, so that's 15 times. So tell yourself that business-related content needs to take up 10 or 12 of those stories and personal posts about dogs, kids, and coffee can take up 3 to 5 of those stories. Does that make sense? Become intentional about what you post, instead of doing it unconsciously. Once you've become good about that, the next step is to become more intentional about those 3 to 5 more personal posts. For example, I live in Charleston, which is beautiful and romantic (and also happens to be a top wedding destination), so I could share some scenic photos from around town. Here's another example: I primarily sell jewelry, but my catch line on the sign outside my shop in Charleston is "jewelry designed by a former lawyer pursuing a prettier life" and so I talk about how I left my job as a lawyer once per week on Instagram. How can you make your personal posts engaging, and not just a Starbucks photo snap? We all have unique traits about us that can help make our business stand out. Emphasize those when sharing about personal topics!  

Bottom line: you want people to follow your business social media account because they are interested in your business, right? So give the people what they want! Post about your business and stop wasting time posting too much personal content. Here's another filter you can use when thinking about posts - if I post this, will anyone be enticed to visit my website and learn more about my business or what I'm offering? Because, honestly, that's the entire point of your business social media accounts! Keep that goal in mind and it might help you come up with some interesting content for your audience. How can you educate a quick tip in 30 seconds? How can you inspire with a photo or idea? How can you use your gifts and talents to serve your audience? It's all about service!

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something from my experience and also my mistakes!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I'm in the process of creating a Weekly Journal board on Pinterest so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. I only have a few weekly journal entries on the board right now, but I'm adding more on a weekly basis. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h over the past couple years and I want to make it easier for you to read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,
Stacy

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How The Need For Approval Can Hold You Back From Living A Life You Love

How The Need For Approval Can Hold You Back From Living A Life You Love

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry I want to talk about the unconscious need for approval. Are you more attached to receiving approval than pursuing happiness? I find this is a big blind spot for people in high-level positions in particular who got straight A's all their lives and went to top colleges and grad schools. It used to be a big blind spot for me. Becoming aware of this issue is one of the keys to unlocking happiness and creating a life you love.

Let's jump right in and get deep here. For me in particular, I grew up with a father who rewarded success at school. To be honest, it was hard to get his attention and "approval" (i.e. love) in other ways. So I think I grew up thinking that I needed to get straight A's and be a high achiever to gain the "love" of my father. Totally false, but as a kid you don't know any better. If, into adulthood, you remain unaware of this root cause and underlying belief like I did, it can translate into things like this: let me get into an Ivy League college, let me go to law school, let me get the best six-figure lawyer job I can...all to prove I'm worthy...all to earn the "love" of my father. Perhaps you have had a similar experience.

When you spend a lifetime chasing "approval" you miss out on a lot. You deny yourself the beautiful experience of pursuing your own unique goals and the pathways that would lead to your happiness. Instead, you spend your energy chasing things other people want for you. This leads to feelings of frustration and unhappiness but, most of all, it leads to a feeling of emptiness. Have you ever strived for a goal only to achieve it and feel kind of empty? That's what I'm talking about here. If you're someone who strives and achieves, but never feels satisfied or inner peace or true happiness, you might be dealing with this issue. You might feel empty when you achieve a goal because it's really someone else's goal (for example, perhaps it is your parent's goal for you to get a high level position with a six-figure salary).

So once you're aware of this issue, where do you go from there? I believe the next step is writing down your own dreams and goals. This sounds a lot easier than it is. People with this issue often have a hard time verbalizing what they really want out of life because they've never really thought about it. They've spent their entire lives chasing dreams belonging to their parents or pursuing goals forced upon them by society and they've never even determined what they want. That was me! I saw a therapist for some time as a lawyer to talk through this issue (and others). Don't feel ashamed if you resonate with this paragraph - therapy has never been more accessible than it is right now. You can even talk to a therapist from the comfort of your own home these days. Remember, becoming aware of an issue is half the battle! So if this journal entry resonated with you, recognize that you're already half-way there.

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something from my experience and also my mistakes!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I'm in the process of creating a Weekly Journal board on Pinterest so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. I only have a few weekly journal entries on the board right now, but I'm adding more on a weekly basis. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h over the past couple years and I want to make it easier for you to read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,
Stacy

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Don't Focus On Money, Focus On The Feelings Money Will Bring

Don't Focus On Money, Focus On The Feelings Money Will Bring

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I'm writing about a topic we all can relate to: career and money. I have this book called One Day My Soul Just Opened Up by Iyanla Vanzant, which is a daily devotional book. Each day the author offers a couple of pages on a principle you might want to think deeper about and implement into your daily life like surrender, service, prayer, compassion, and so on. Day 14 is entitled "Freedom" and this passage jumped off the page at me:

Most of my life I thought I wanted money. I believed that if I had money to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, I would be deliriously happy and free. As a child and as an adult, I have often heard myself self, "Boy! I wish I had a million dollars." I thought that would be my ticket to freedom. One day I woke up with those same thoughts floating around in my mind, and by the end of the day I had $1.1 million. It was a short time later that I realized it was not the money that I actually wanted. My true desire was for the freedom I thought the money would bring. It was too late! I had the money and all of the obligations that came along with earning it.

Wow. That is a game-changing perspective. I got chills when she said, "It was a short time later that I realized it was not the money that I actually wanted. My true desire was for the freedom I thought the money would bring." That right there is the way you need to look at money and, by extension, career. It is NOT about the money. It is about what the money will bring or help us achieve. We get so caught up in dollars and cents and bills and financial goals, that we sometimes lose sight of that. We lose sight of why we actually need and want money.

The truth of the matter is, most of us don't need to be multi-millionaires to live our dreams. Don't believe me? Try playing the abundance game, sometimes referred to as the prosperity game. You can Google it to see what it's all about, or click here to read about it. But basically, each day your money grows and you have to list out how you would spend it (aside from your rent or mortgage and basic bills). It wasn't long before I struggled to find ways to spend the money! You'll learn other things about your views around money if you play the game, but the one thing that stands out is that you don't really need to be a multi-millionaire to live the way you want to live. That, in and of itself, is a very freeing idea.

Quite incorrectly, we are taught by society, or our university, or our parents to strive for the best job with the best salary we can obtain, when really we should be taught to strive for the feelings we think that salary will bring. What would those be? Namely, they are freedom, security, and stability (and maybe a few others personal to you). And the truth of the matter is, freedom, security, and stability are NOT found in money and they are available to you REGARDLESS of how much money you make. Huh? Yep, that's right. The disconnect occurs when you think you can only get freedom, security, and stability through money. 

So, let's get practical here and talk about what that really means. Is the new career or job you're dreaming about going to be more fulfilling, and therefore bring you more joy and internal peace? That's stability right there. Mental stability. And mental stability is a lot more valuable than boatloads of money in the bank. For one, you can't buy mental health or physical health. Health is arguably the most valuable form of abundance.

Here's another example. Is the new career or job going to make use of your God-given talents and gifts which you aren't using in your current job? If you answered yes, that's security right there. Let me explain. When you use the talents, gifts, and skills you were born with, you are working from a place of service (i.e. how can I best serve the world with the special skills I have?). This is the opposite of working from a place of "I need a paycheck." When you build a career around the gifts that come naturally to you, you're going to excel more quickly, more easily, and face less risk of layoff. And even if you do face a job cut, you're likely going to gain a new one quickly. Job security doesn't mean "I have a job with this employer forever." No, no. Job security means "I naturally excel in this field because of my God-given talents and skills and therefore even if my employer goes bankrupt through no fault of my own, I will find a new job in this field quickly because I'm naturally great at it." That's security right there.

Now here's the kicker. Ironically, when you approach career and work from this perspective, the money follows! It's amazing. Almost like magic. It doesn't happen overnight and some patience is needed, but when you commit to work that's in alignment with YOU, the money follows naturally.  

If you want to make a career or job change of some sort and you are hung up on the money issues that are involved in the decision, try changing your focus. Try changing your perspective. What are you chasing? Paychecks? Or real feelings of stability and security and freedom for the long-term? Always prioritize the latter. The money will take care of itself. Trust me. I am living proof of this through my decision to quit my 11-year career as an attorney in 2017 to start grace + hudson.

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something from my experience and also my mistakes!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I'm in the process of creating a Weekly Journal board on Pinterest so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. I only have a few weekly journal entries on the board right now, but I'm adding more on a daily basis. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h over the past couple years and I want to make it easier for you to read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,
Stacy

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There Is Freedom In Failure

There Is Freedom In Failure

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I'm writing about failure. I heard this line the other day, “There is freedom in failure” and it resonated with me so much. We think of failure so negatively, but it doesn't have to be that way. I happen to have some first hand experience with this.

About ten years ago, my first jewelry business "failed." Yep, that's right! grace + hudson is actually my second jewelry business. You’ve probably heard me talk about this before, but I'll tell the 2 minute version of the story for those who are new to my Weekly Journal. I quit my lawyer job twice, once in 2017 to start grace + hudson and once in 2010 to open a brick + mortar jewelry store in New Jersey where I grew up. I closed that store after just one year and had to go back to being a lawyer. Some would label that a "failure" but, looking back, I realize that grace + hudson wouldn't be what it is today (and maybe it wouldn't even exist!) without that first experience. Let me be more specific. When I had that store in 2010, brides-to-be often came in looking for bridesmaid jewelry gifts. They all raised the same complaints and were looking for similar things. I have never been married myself, so there was no way for me to know how hard it is to find classy jewelry with sophisticated, subtle color to match a wedding. At a giftable price point. That can be worn again after the wedding (so it truly is a “gift” and not just something to wear in the ceremony). Having that first “failed” store was a crucial step in me building a successful second business that focuses on classy, giftable jewelry. Aside from learning about this need in the marketplace, this first “failed” store taught me so much about what it takes to run a business. You can read all day long about what it takes to start a business (and you should because knowledge is power!) but until you’re in the thick of it, you just don’t know. It’s just one of those things you need to experience first-hand. All the mistakes I made the first time around taught me how to be better this time around. So it goes without saying that I don’t for one single second regret opening that first jewelry store in 2010 even though most would label it a “failure.”

After that first "failure" I felt such freedom! Freedom to take risks. Freedom to follow my heart. Freedom to try. Why? I realized that I wasn't going to die! I say that with laughter but I'm serious... so many people avoid following their intuition and their dreams and their ideas because they are paralyzed with fear. In response to this, I always say, "Ok, let's get real here. Bottom line, if you do this, and it doesn't work, you're not going to die from it. I promise." Sure, you might encounter some difficulties along the way, but - like me - the difficulties and the "failures" might be leading you to your big success. You might need the hard moments you're actually trying to avoid. They might be appearing to teach you something very important you'll need for the big success. 

I think - for most people - once you "fail" in a big way, you're not scared of failure ever again. You realize there is a silver lining to every situation. You learn to focus on what you learned from the experience, not how you "failed." Is it really a failure if it grew you as a person? I think most people would say "no." And no one can ever take those important lessons from us. No one can ever steal our growth. These lessons and life skills can never be stolen. And, bonus!, a lot of the skills and lessons you'll learn through "failure" can actually apply to other areas of your life, too. Maybe the "failed" business you started taught you patience, and now you're more patient with your romantic partner. You see what I mean? 

I wish you the freedom to try! The freedom to fail

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something from my experience and also my mistakes!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I'm in the process of creating a Weekly Journal board on Pinterest so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. I only have a few weekly journal entries on the board right now, but I'm adding more on a daily basis. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h over the past couple years and I want to make it easier for you to read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,
Stacy

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What Happens If You Hit A Bump In The Road (And You Will!)

What Happens If You Hit A Bump In The Road (And You Will!)

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I'm answering a question from a reader who started a small business: what happens if you pursue your dream and start your own business, but you hit a bump in the road? The question is not if, but when! Because you will definitely hit a bump in the road at some point. If small business ownership was easy, everyone would be doing it! It comes with challenges, road blocks, and obstacles, but it also teaches you so much and grows you as a person in ways you could never imagine. You don't grow all that much when life is easy and smooth all the time, right? That's right! So here are my thoughts on encountering bumps in the road.

First, let's get really honest. During the first 2 years of my business - so we're talking about 2017 and 2018 - I would get so discouraged at times that I would look for jobs online every so often. And by "every so often" I mean every other month or so. It's true! It is overwhelming to be the owner of a new business (obviously!). There were so many times I thought I would never make it, where I thought I would run out of money, where I thought it was just plain easier to collect a paycheck from a regular job. Know ahead of time that it is 100% normal to feel this way. I think I might have applied to three or four jobs, but usually things would turn around before I even got around to submitting a resume. I'd feel more positive for a time, and then I'd feel discouraged again and I'd start looking at jobs again. Looking back, I realize the act of searching the job listings comforted me. It reminded me that, even if things got really bad, I wouldn't be living on the street. I would simply get another job.

You see, people don't pursue their business ownership dream because they are so incredibly fearful that it won't work out. But let's talk that through. So what? If it doesn't work out, you'll just get another job. And, if you're smart enough to start a business, you're smart enough to know when it's time to do something different. You'll be running out of time or money, or both, and you'll start looking for jobs before that happens. Maybe you'll get a part-time gig and continue working on your business at the same time. Maybe you'll just abandon the entire thing altogether. You might have a few rough months. Or maybe you'll move in with your family for a short while as you re-group. But the fact of the matter is, you aren't going to be homeless, friend-less, and family-less if things don't work out. You just aren't. So stop making decisions based on fears that are not likely to happen.

Let's get back to the main question now: what happens if you hit a bump in the road? Well, you'll navigate it the best you know how! That's all. That's it. Well what the heck does that mean?!? It's going to be different for everyone. Maybe you have a rock solid family that supports you every step of the way and their kind and inspiring words are something you can turn to whenever you are feeling discouraged or overwhelmed. Maybe you have a rock solid faith and you'll turn to prayer. Maybe exercise is your safe haven and you'll turn to a workout class that makes you feel like you can conquer the world. Maybe, for you, it's all about meditating and taking things one day at a time. Maybe it'll be a combination of things. Remember what I said before? That starting a business teaches you amazing things and grows you as a person? Well, here's where that happens. Maybe one of the things you'll learn during your small business ownership journey will be the coping skills to get through hard times. Eventually, you'll overcome so many challenges that you'll come to know and understand that you can make it through anything. That happened for me last year. I signed a lease to open a brick and mortar store in February 2020, just a few weeks before we found out about the virus. What did I do? Well, I didn't freak out! I didn't quit! I just took it day by day and turned to my coping skills toolkit. Now that I survived that, I know I can survive anything - whether that be in business or in life. That's just one of the ways that owning my own business has grown me as a person.

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something from my experience and also my mistakes!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I'm in the process of creating a Weekly Journal board on Pinterest so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. I only have a few weekly journal entries on the board right now, but I'm adding more on a daily basis and hope to finish it next month. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h over the past couple years and I want to make it easier for you to read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,
Stacy

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Work On The Inside More Than You Work On The Outside

Work On The Inside More Than You Work On The Outside

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I want to talk about working on the inside more than you work on the outside. What does that mean? Well, if you've strived for a degree, a particular job, a high salary, a husband, 2.5 kids, a dog, a house with a white picket fence and you still aren't happy that means you've neglected the inside. You've spent so much time working on the outside that you've forgotten (or were unaware of) the work required on the inside. As a society, we have it all wrong. We have it backwards. When you work on the inside first, the outside stuff comes easily... and gracefully too. But for some reason we're taught that you need to push and strive and hustle for all the outside stuff and only then will you become happy on the inside. Wrong!

I observed and became aware of this early on - when I was 22 working at my first job as a paralegal at a very prestigious law firm in New York City. This was before I went to law school. All of the lawyers working at this law firm seemed miserable yet they appeared to "have it all" - a law degree from Harvard or Columbia, a ridiculously high salary, a spouse with an equally impressive degree and salary, a million dollar condo in NYC, a new baby, a fancy car, and luxurious travels. It was quite obvious to me I('m a pretty deep thinker and analyzer by nature) that striving for all the outside stuff must not be the key to happiness. It couldn't be! These people "had it all" by societal standards and I'm not exaggerating when I say they were miserable. So miserable that a lot of them drank excessively and had other addictions. It's no lie when they say the legal profession has a high rate of depression, suicide, and alcoholism. 

I allowed this observation to guide my life, but I was not without struggle. Societal expectations and the unspoken pressure from family is powerful! Especially when you are still so young in your 20's. I ended up going to a top 25 law school and taking a six-figure job at the age of 26, driving a Lexus, and renting an expensive apartment. Along the way I made some non-traditional decisions but, for the most part, I found myself falling prey to the societal "norms" in the legal profession anyways. Looking back, I realize what an internal conflict it was. I knew outside things weren't the key to happiness yet I found myself striving for them just like everyone else. Yet, unlike everyone else, I internally knew that I wouldn't become "happy" the second I checked all of these things off my list. So there was a sort of emptiness on the inside, and an internal conflict over what I wanted and what society wanted for me. Does that makes sense? Society stresses getting the best job you can at the highest salary you can, buying the nicest house you can, driving the nicest car you can, etc etc. And many people - including our parents and other family members - often reiterate the same message because it's the message they've been hearing all of their lives, too. And it sort of just perpetuates itself, with no one really stopping to think whether it (a) makes sense or (b) resonates as true for them. We just do it. Without thinking. Without analyzing. Without intentionally deciding whether there's a better way that makes sense for us individually. We just follow the crowd. We just follow all the societal and familial expectations because "everyone else is doing it."

Anyways, I couldn't keep up the charade for long. I quit my job as a lawyer after about 3 years. I knew this was not the path for me and I knew I was chasing a life and an "image" that wasn't what I wanted. This wasn't just a case of "I don't like my job." It was a deep, deep knowing that this wasn't the path for me. It literally felt like I was betraying my soul. And so I quit and started my first jewelry business! Yep, grace + hudson is actually my second jewelry business. My first was a storefront in New Jersey in 2010 near where I grew up. The economy was crashing but I didn't want to hear it and I opened my storefront anyway (this was before small businesses could afford to start online shops). That first jewelry business didn't make it and I had to go back to being a lawyer for some time as I figured things out, but it was my first step towards jumping off the fast and furious "societal expectations train" and it ultimately got me to where I am today. 

Looking back at my journey, I am thankful that I woke up so early in my career - in my early 20's. I knew chasing all the outside stuff doesn't lead to happiness, but I guess I needed to experience that first-hand for a few years. I can personally tell you that driving a Lexus and collecting a six-figure paycheck doesn't make you feel better as a person. It doesn't somehow validate you as "worthy" or even "successful." In fact, the thrill wears off pretty fast. When you strive for something, achieve it, and then feel how truly empty the achievement feels, it's...well...depressing. But, like someone with an addiction, you move on to the next achievement and start striving for that, and then the next one and the next one. Do you see how toxic that is? Honestly, for some people it truly does require therapy to work through this issue. I went to therapy beginning early on in my legal profession and I highly recommend it. 

If any of this resonates with you, my advice would be this: work on the inside more than the outside. Work on yourself more than you work on buying a new fancy car. Keep the focus on internal growth and developing into the person you're here to be. We spend so much time going to the gym, getting our hair highlighted, buying new clothes, applying self-tanner....what if we spent even HALF that time working on the inside? I'm telling you, that's the ticket. That's the key. How do I work on the inside, you ask? By reading self-development books, listening to podcasts on personal growth, meditating, journaling, having deep and meaningful conversations with the people we love, going to therapy, taking time to research and explore our given talents and gifts and how we best might use those, reflecting honestly on our unique goals and dreams we want to see come to fruition in this lifetime, working on the relationships that are important to us, learning how to become a better parent and partner, etc etc.

And you know the irony of this whole situation? This too I've experienced first hand. When you work on the inside, all the outside "stuff" shows up all on its own. With ease. With grace. And it feels so much better. For example, when I buy something I want now, today, with money I've earned through grace + hudson, it feels GOOD. Back when I was a lawyer, doing soul-sucking work that left me drained and tired in exchange for dollars, it didn't even feel that good when I spent those dollars.

So, if there's something you want - whether it be a new career, a relationship, a baby - and it's not happening for you, I highly recommend you take an honest look on the inside. Rather than focusing so much on the resume and the interviews, on swiping right on the dating app and exercising to look more attractive, on tracking your ovulation like a science and trying to conceive, start focusing more on the inside stuff. Start working on that part of the equation because, chances are, you've neglected it. The inside part is going to look different for everyone and you might need the help of a therapist to navigate it. But I can tell you it will involve taking an honest look at your beliefs, ideas, habits, and the stories you've been telling yourself about the topic you're struggling with. Those are so, so, so powerful. And you might not even be aware of them. So you're over here trying so hard to lose weight and look pretty to find a man, when really the problem is over there lurking on the inside and you're paying no attention to it. And when that click happens - when you make the shift on the inside - I swear to you, things fall into place like you wouldn't believe. You know that expression "it happened when I wasn't even trying" or "I finally met someone when I stopped looking." Yeah, that's what those common phrases are referring to.

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something from my experience and also my mistakes!

xoxo,
Stacy

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How Do You Make The Jump From A Job You Hate To A Job You Love? Here's The Key

How Do You Make The Jump From A Job You Hate To A Job You Love? Here's The Key

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I'm talking about motivation and courage. How did I work up the motivation and the courage to actually say "I quit" and start my own business? I get this question a lot. So many people want to follow a similar path, but they don't know how to make the jump from A to B. That's where motivation and courage come in. I think the mistake a lot of people make is that they're looking for something out there, when the jump from A to B really has to come from something inside yourself. And that key, that spark, that something inside of you, has to be powerful enough to give you the motivation and courage to actually make the leap. The key will be different for everyone. In this journal entry, I sharing my key and maybe you'll be able to relate.

I was a lawyer for about 11 years. I hated it from the very beginning. Literally hated it. This wasn't just a case of "work stinks" - this was literally a job that I found toxic (there's a big difference). It felt like an abusive relationship at times (and I don't say that lightly). If you're familiar with the legal profession, you know what I'm talking about and I won't go into all the details here. Fast forward and at around 8 years into my career, I landed what should have been my "dream job." I was working for an international billion dollar corporation as the Head of Employment Law for North and South America. But I felt completely empty inside. That's what happens when you strive for things that don't really resonate with your soul. It's a terrible let down. At about the same time, I lost my father to cancer. Actually, it's the 7 year anniversary today. He passed away on May 3, 2014 after a short 10 month battle with lung cancer. That rocked my world. All of my relatives on his side of my family lived into their 90's. In fact, my grandfather (my father's father) was still alive in his late 90's when my father passed. My father was the epitome of a responsible employee working a steady job, supporting his family, contributing to his 401(k) with the hopes that it would all be worth it in retirement when he finally got to move to the beach and start living life. Well that never happened. He passed away just one month after he turned age 65. Can you imagine? Working so hard for that goal only to pass away before it gets here? That was one of my big wake up calls. Our American culture lives this silly fairytale dream about how retirement is amazing and worth working and saving for for 65 years but in reality many people never get there. Or, you get there and soon after get a part-time job to keep busy because retirement has been, shall we say, somewhat of a let down. I have a relative who's experiencing this right now and it happens more than you think. A life is meant to be lived for all the years of your life, not just from age 65 onwards. And here's another thing that never made sense to me... everyone talks about living on a beach in retirement but most older folks don't like to be out in the sun and heat, right? So where in the world has this story even come from - this fairytale story that you're going to work hard, retire on a beach and live happily ever after? 

In short, I tell you all of this because this is where my motivation and courage to make the huge leap from lawyer to jewelry business owner came from. It came from the experience of losing my father 7 years ago and thinking through life. What path is my life on right now? Do I like where it's going? Does it make sense? Am I just following the story every one is taught to believe, or have I consciously decided this is the right path for me personally? Life is SHORT. And it can be taken away in an instant. I'll never forget the day I found out about my dad's illness and how his cancer was already at stage 4 when they discovered it. And I'll never forget how he longed for the simple things when he was in the midst of his illness. He just longed for a normal day at work. A normal day running errands and cutting the grass. One of my fondest memories of his last days was when he made me lunch. Yep, just warmed up some leftovers in the microwave for me. Life truly is about the simple things. Literally any one of us, at any time, could receive a similar phone call about our own health. What if you found out you only had ten more months to live? Losing a parent in particular gives you a keen awareness of your own immortality. Up until that point, you might live a little bit like you're invincible. But the greatest gift is realizing that you're not. That your time is limited here too. And to make the very most of it. Realizing all of this is how I got up the courage to say "I quit" and got the motivation to start my own business and do what I was put on this planet to do.   

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something from my experience and also my mistakes!

xoxo,
Stacy

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Want Different Results? Make Different Choices

Want Different Results? Make Different Choices

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I'm writing about a simple idea: If you want different results, you need to make different choices. So many people write to me about wanting to start a business, but they don't want to change anything about their current lifestyle, they don't want to take any risks, and they don't want to give up watching Netflix every night in exchange for working on their business ideas. So this week I'm talking about the importance of making intentional choices when we desire significant changes.

Have you ever heard the definition of insanity? You know the one... "doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results?" If you want to start your own business and/or change careers like I did (or make another big change!) then you have to do something different. Your current decisions have gotten you to your current state of affairs. If you want something different, it all begins with making different choices. For example, if you are currently an attorney making a six-figure salary with a designer handbag habit, something is going to need to change if you want to quit the legal profession and start your own business. For starters, instead of spending money on handbags, you can put that money towards your business ideas. Yet you'd be amazed at the amount of women I've talked to in this position who aren't willing to do this. There are deeper issues there, of course, such as a false sense of self-worth coming from having a prestigious position, high salary, and designer handbags. If that's you, then you need to be brave enough to dive deeper and find out what's really holding you back from making the desired changes. You might even want to see a therapist (I did! And I think it was one of the best things I ever did. I wanted to make sure I explored my reasons for quitting the legal profession with an unbiased neutral source, before I made such a big decision).

Starting your own business or leaving behind a toxic career are big moves and they're going to require big effort on your part. Look at it this way - how did you get into the current position you hold? You went to school, maybe you got special training, etc. You didn't just show up one day and start your job. So think of your next job, your next business (or your very first business!) in the same light. There are sacrifices and investments you're going to need to make. This or that. If you buy a handbag, you aren't going to be able to afford that online marketing course. If you watch Netflix every night for 2 hours, at the end of the week you've forfeited 14 hours you could've been working on your website. You get the idea. It takes discipline. It requires new habits.  

{Insert moans and groans} Hey, I hear you, I've been there. Humans crave routine and getting out of our comfort zones can be scary. And if you're currently working at a job that drains all of your energy, it can be hard to find motivation after work to work on your business idea (I can soooooo identify with that). But at some point, you need to put on your big girl pants and do what needs to be done or you're going to be the definition of insanity - doing the same thing year after year expecting change to show up out of thin air.

So where do you start? Small! Start with small changes, small decisions. Instead of buying some new clothes for the summer, can you take a look in your closet and determine what you really need and then use the rest of the money towards an online advertising course? If you can't give up Netflix at night, can you wake up 45 minutes earlier to work on your business ideas 2 times per week? And then 4 times per week? And then up it from 45 minutes to 60 minutes? 

Bottom line, you need to think about what you want and the intentional decisions that are going to get you there. But please please please, don't continue to say you want X, Y or Z and do nothing to get there. I honestly know people who've been whining about their lawyer job for YEARS and want to start their own business but they've literally done nothing towards that goal. Look at all that wasted mental energy! DECIDE. Do it or don't do it. But don't waste 5 years complaining and wanting something different with no action to back it up. You'll feel better either way - whether you commit to staying at your current job or you commit to start making the necessary changes.  

Last but not least, if you find yourself harboring jealousy towards those who have gone before you, remember this: they already made all of those hard decisionsThey already got up the courage to quit their job. They already found the motivation to start their own business. Don't be jealous (because that's another waste of valuable energy), but rather recognize they have made the hard decisions that you haven't been willing to make just yet. When you look at it that way, they become an example of a way forward rather than a source of jealous pain. They become an example of what's possible when hard choices are made.

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something from my experience and also my mistakes!

xoxo,
Stacy

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"Marketing" Is Not A Dirty Word!

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I want to talk a little about marketing. If you just started a small business or want to someday, it's important you become comfortable with marketing. Yet so many small business owners think "marketing" is a dirty word! It's something that makes them feel icky and slimy. But how can customers find you if you don't engage in marketing? You might have the solution or item they've been looking for but if they don't know about you, they can't buy from you.   

Let's start with the basics. What is "marketing" anyways? The American Marketing Association defines marketing as "the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large." Basically, it's your strategy for communicating to people who might benefit from your product or service. News flash: posting to Instagram on a daily basis is not a marketing strategy! It can be one part of your marketing strategy. But, in order to work well and scale up, your marketing strategy needs to include multiple avenues for communication. In other words, it needs to be diversified. And you need to have a marketing budget. There are free communication channels (like posting on Instagram) but a real marketing strategy that has the possibility of long-term success incorporates both free and paid marketing strategies. What type of paid marketing strategies are out there? You can run an advertisement in your local newspaper, run ads on Instagram or Facebook, learn how to use Google Ads, start an email list and communicate with your subscribers regularly (and make sure you're giving them value! No one wants another newsletter in their inbox that has nothing unique, special, different, or valuable about it), run ads on Pinterest, pay for a space at a trade show if that's where you're most likely to meet potential customers, etc.

Let me insert some real talk here. You might feel a little overwhelmed after reading that and thinking about a marketing budget. But if you want a REAL business, you need to engage in REAL marketing. Selling to friends and family is not a real business - it's more of a glorified hobby. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh (and by the way, it's totally ok if you want a little on-the-side sort of business like that!). But I think most people start a small business with the hopes of growing it into something that can really support their family, with extra left over. And if that's you, you need to sell to strangers. Your friends and family can only buy so much. So how do you find strangers to sell to? Marketing!

If you feel icky or slimey about marketing, like you're some sort of used car salesman, I would suggest you work on your ideas and beliefs around marketing. Read the definition of it again - it's the "processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers." If you truly believe you meet a need and your product or service has value, why would you ever feel icky about telling people about it? You have a solution that meets their need! And p.s. you don't need to be solving world hunger! You can be solving the silliest need ever - for example, I would absolutely love if someone came up with a lotion pump that would allow you to use the last amount of lotion at the bottom of the bottle. That would be amazing! Have you ever turned the bottle upside down and used the remaining lotion? It lasts for like 2 weeks! That's a lot of money to dump down the drain over the years. So, ask yourself, what value does your service or product have to the people who'll most enjoy it? Keep your focus on the value, and you'll stop feeling like a used car salesman.

If you're struggling here, let me suggest something else. You might need to work a little bit on your confidence. If you aren't confident in your business idea, how can you expect a stranger to be? This is an issue for women in particular. It's like this - you finally get the courage to start your own business, and now you have to work on having the courage to believe in your products or services. But for some reason, we doubt. We doubt whether people will really like what we have to offer. We think, "Why would someone ever want to buy from me?" It's a mind game! I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Starting a business is a challenging personal journey and it requires you to work more on your mindset than your website. P.S. I have been there! I know what it's like. And if you need someone to talk through this with, I offer mentoring services which you can read about here.   

I hope, after reading this, you're thinking about marketing in a new light. And let me end with this - marketing is going to be a huge part of your duties as a business owner. If you truly don't like it, you might want to reconsider becoming a business owner. I mean it! Of all the tasks I do each week, marketing always takes up the most time. I didn't know this before I started g+h, but I happen to really enjoy marketing. I enjoy learning about it, studying it, and taking courses on it. I enjoy looking at all the data and trends and making new strategies based on that information. I think it's really interesting, especially in this new era where small businesses can afford to advertise on social media platforms and reach ideal customers so easily. It is so inexpensive and effective compared to the days when people had to advertise in magazines and newspapers (and you never really knew how effective the ads were unless someone specifically told you they found you in such-and-such magazine).

One last note. I don't recommend outsourcing marketing, especially in the beginning. I recommend you take a few courses on marketing (I can make some recommendations if you like!) and learn about it yourself. Then, after you've tried some different things and somewhat nailed down your strategy, I think it's ok to hand over the reins to someone who can take your directions and make it happen. Why? In the beginning, marketing is just too important to outsource - it basically forms your business's personality and image, and that stuff is still forming and changing in the early stages. It's just like an infant! And if you outsource it, you're giving a stranger too much power to form your business's personality. 

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something from my experience and also my mistakes!

xoxo,
Stacy

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The Small Business World And Something To Be Careful About

The Small Business World And Something To Be Careful About

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I want to talk a little about the small business world. If you want to start a business someday or already have, there is something to be careful about in the early stages. I wish someone had warned me about this before I started my business.

When you start a small business, you'll naturally begin to meet other small business owners. For example, if you're selling a product, you're going to do a few pop-up shops, fairs, and markets to see if they work well for your business. You'll meet a few business owners there and they'll tell you about a small business conference or meeting next week. You'll go and meet more business owners there, and on and on your networking will go. New start-up owners typically go to these types of events, as opposed to more established small business owners. On the one hand, this is a great thing! Especially if you are like me. I had recently quit my lawyer job and I was feeling really disconnected to my friends still working as attorneys. I couldn't stand how much they complained about work since I was no longer in that world (side note: I no longer keep in touch with most of those people. I have written about this before but expect your friendships to change in some ways). Anyways, it was nice to meet like-minded people who were pursuing a similar path.

But, on the other hand, I found the small business start-up community to be a bit draining. I heard a lot of complaints about "how hard it is to be a new business" and "how difficult small business ownership is", etc. A year or two into my business ownership journey, I separated myself from these types of meetings, organizations, etc. I realized that this environment was actually dragging me down more than it was pulling me up. It seemed like more time was spent griping over the difficulties of small business life rather than building community, sharing strategies, or solving common problems. In its place, I decided to make more of the online groups and resources that were working for me. I found it easier online to weed out these draining "complaining" groups from the helpful ones - maybe because it wasn't as much of a time commitment. I didn't need to get dressed and go to a meeting or networking event. Naturally, this means that I have small business friends all over the country and I can't necessarily grab a coffee with them, but hey that's ok - especially in this day and age. 

I tell you all this because mindset is EVERYTHING in the beginning stages of starting a business. It is so incredibly easy to doubt yourself, your ideas, and even your entire life's trajectory because what you're embarking on is HARD. If it were easy, every person would be doing it. You must, must, must protect your mindset from complainers who whine about the difficulties of small business ownership. If you choose to see small business ownership as difficult, it will be difficult. If you choose to small business ownership as an exciting challenge, it will be just that. You cannot afford to waste time surrounding yourself with people who are going to contribute anxiety, fear, and doubt to your mindset. If this means that you feel a little bit like a "loner" in the beginning, that is ok. It'll keep you mentally on track and that's where you need to be to succeed. 

So, in conclusion, I'm not saying to avoid these groups and meetups and conferences all together. All I'm saying is to keep your guard up. If you sense someone wants an ear to complain to, keep your distance. Humans are funny - misery loves company! But that's company you don't need in your life.

If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something from my experience and also my mistakes!

xoxo,
Stacy

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