Arrow Fat Left Icon Arrow Fat Right Icon Arrow Right Icon Cart Icon Close Circle Icon Expand Arrows Icon Facebook Icon Instagram Icon Pinterest Icon Hamburger Icon Information Icon Down Arrow Icon Mail Icon Mini Cart Icon Person Icon Ruler Icon Search Icon Shirt Icon Triangle Icon Bag Icon Play Video

my journal

Is Money Holding You Back From a Fulfilling Career?

Is Money Holding You Back From a Fulfilling Career?

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I am writing about money. Why? Money is the number one block to turning your passion into a career.

So...how do you feel about money? Is it a taboo topic? Yucky? Is money usually something that leads to arguments? When you think of your feelings around money, do words like "awesome", "a source of power", and "easy to manage" come to mind? I'm willing to bet not. This is no surprise! For one, we're taught ZERO about money in school and most of us grew up around parents that fought (at least occasionally) about money. This means that we grew up thinking money is something you (a) don't talk about and (b) when you do talk about it, it's likely to lead to a fight. No wonder our society grows up with negative beliefs and stories surrounding money. I believe this is the reason that money is the number one block to turning your passion into a paying career. But I've got good news for you! I've found that the most effective thing we can do to bust through our money blocks is easier than you think and will cost you nothing. It's this: you have to work on your money mindset - which is your feelings and beliefs around money - and turn off the negative stories you've been telling yourself about money and replace them with more positive, empowering money stories. Changing the way you think about money is more powerful (and certainly more long-lasting) than hitting the lottery or scoring a generous business loan. Those things are fleeting. If you don't have a healthy mindset around money, those things will leave as fast as they came. That's why so many lottery winners end up bankrupt in a couple of years. They don't know how to hold onto money, nor do they really, truly believe they deserve an abundance of it.   

How do you start working on your money mindset? Awareness is key. Most of us are not even aware that negative beliefs and stories about money are sabotaging our desire to pursue our passion. If we're aware of the things that are holding us back, we can change them. Let's start here: what kinds of beliefs and stories do you hold about money? Think about how your dad handled money. Think about how your mom did. What kinds of jobs did your mother and father and other relatives hold? Did you get an allowance? Were you told that you could only spend money on certain things? Was money a secretive topic in your home growing up? How did your parents respond when you needed to ask for money? Here are some examples of beliefs and story lines that you might identify with (spoiler alert: these are all taken from my own life): 

  • A lucrative career and a meaningful career are mutually exclusive. I can either be rich or happy, not both. Most of us grew up learning that you need to decide between the two. A job that you enjoy, that gives you purpose, and pays the bills? No way! 
  • I'll never be able to make enough money doing XYZ. We're continually told by our parents, "You'll never make enough money to pay your rent doing [insert your passion project]." But that's because our parents' generation, for the most part, sought out stable, secure jobs because their parents lived through the Great Depression. There was usually no joy, purpose, or meaning in these jobs but the pay was good and the pension was even better, and that was of utmost concern. The Great Depression has long since ended, but we are still prioritizing the stability of an office job with a good 401(k) at the expense of joy, purpose and meaning. 
  • I don't deserve to earn a lot of money doing something I love. This is a sneaky one, but chances are this resonates with you at least a little bit. Similar to this is "I'd feel guilty if I earned a lot of money doing something I love, while others struggle with their 9-5 jobs." This is the way our 9-5, TGIF, live-for-the-weekend American culture is set up, so who are we to challenge it?
  • "You work hard, then you die." Most of us have a relative or friend who prescribes to this theory on life. They work long hours, live paycheck to paycheck, and there's just no end in sight (except retirement or, you know, death). 
  • Money is the root of all evil. If your parents fought about money, you probably grew up with the belief that money is dangerous or evil. And I'm pretty sure the Bible says money is evil, too!
  • Rich people are snobs. What does a wealthy woman look like to you? Many of us think that rich women are bitc*y. Do you want to turn into a bitc*? Heck no! 
  • I'll start truly living when I retire. Did your parents save, save, save into that 401(k) or pension plan, and teach you that life begins at age 65, when you can retire from your dreadful job? That doesn't even make sense! Some of us won't even see age 65 (unfortunately, my father passed away one month after he turned 65). Plus, it's a lot more fun to travel and live near the beach before you turn 65 and start acquiring various illnesses and ailments. 

You get the idea. Once you identify the money beliefs that might be holding you back, you can call them out when they show up. This isn't easy, but it can be accomplished with some practice. When you see it happening, turn that negative money story around. For example, if you notice yourself thinking, "If I do what I love for work, I might be happy but I'll probably be poor" turn it around in the moment and say, "I can be happy and wealthy at the same time. I deserve to make an abundance of money doing what I love."  

Here's another way to practice a better money mindset. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love a daily mantra. So take your money mindset practice to yoga or bring it into your meditation or morning drive! During this time, silently repeat to yourself, "I can make more money following my passion than I ever have in my current job." Chances are, you won't believe it at first, but give it a few weeks or months, and you'll see the pathways in your mind start to open up to the possibility of making more money doing something you love.

Another way to practice a better money mindset is to make a habit of looking out for kind, awesome, rich women. How about one of your favorite authors, singers, or actresses? This practice is especially good if you believe most rich women are bitc*y. 

You can also read books on the topic. There are two books in particular that I've found invaluable. The first is You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero (you can find it here on Amazon) and the second is Get Rich, Lucky Bitch!: Release Your Money Blocks by Denise Duffield-Thomas (here on Amazon). I know, I know - the titles! Please do not be offended by the curse words, they are simply there to emphasize the light-hearted approach that both of these books take towards money. And boy is that a breath of fresh air! Both of these women are hilarious, so I highly recommend listening to these books on Audible. Play them over and over again until things start to click. I promised you'll have some "ah-ha!" moments that bring you new clarity and a new perspective on your relationship with money.

If I can do it, you can do it. I've had to overcome some serious mental money strongholds on my journey from type A-perfectionist-attorney to free-spirited jewelry business owner (it was quite a leap!). I've had to battle every single one of the examples in the bullet point list above plus more, and I'll tell you what: it's a daily choice to live with an abundance mentality. It doesn't happen overnight, but gradually the shifts will come. Some beliefs are easy to acknowledge and dispose of, while others show up time and time again and take a lot more work to get rid of. Money beliefs were one of my biggest blocks, but over the last few years I've transformed the way I think about it through reading books on the topic, journaling about my blockages, using daily mantras, and just plain being curious about the money fears that show up for me (I'm always asking myself, where did I learn this? Who taught me to think this way? Do I actually believe this, or can I disagree with it?). 

Once you clear your fears and doubts around money, you'll be so much more capable of turning your passion project into a full-time paying gig. Cheers to making money doing something you enjoy! 

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 valuable from my business journey and my experiences!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,

Stacy

Continue reading

Strive For Joy, Not Validation From Others

Strive For Joy, Not Validation From Others

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I am writing about seeking validation. If you're stuck in a job you don't like and you see no way out, this is a big topic to address. First and foremost, you are not alone. I stayed stuck in my job as a lawyer for 11 years even though I hated it from day one. What keeps us stuck? I can only speak from my point of view but I believe it's a view shared by many women - especially high achieving, smart women. 

As many of you know, I practiced law for 11 years. I went to an Ivy League college, a top 25 law school, worked at a couple of prestigious law firms, made a high salary, drove a Lexus before the age of 30, and seemed to have it all going on, as they say. But, inside, I was honestly a bit of a mess. Appearances aren't always what they seem! I was always sick (nothing serious thankfully, but I always had a cold, always had a stomachache, and I never felt healthy). The law firms I worked for pretty much owned me - if you are familiar with the legal profession, lawyers have to keep track of their "billable hours" and the law firms I worked at required me to keep track of every 6 minutes. Yes, every 6 minutes. Meaning, if I talked to a client on the phone for a short call that lasted from 9:00 am to 9:12 am, I literally had to write that down and bill 0.2 hours to that client (12 minutes equates to 0.2 of an hour). Talk about feeling absolutely controlled by my employer. And then, on top of that, partners at law firms are ALWAYS cutting your hours, telling you that the legal brief you wrote for court should have taken 7 hours, not the 13 hours it actually took you. So you are constantly being told you aren't fast enough or good enough. Looking back, this is an INSANE way to live and it's literally unbelievable to me that the legal profession still operates like this. As you can imagine, this wrecks your nervous system. And then on top of it all, lawyers are well, lawyers. I'm not going to sugarcoat it - most of them are awful people to work with. Lawyers have a certain reputation for a reason. In part, it's not our fault. Our life is one big argument. Every day. For years on end. And we are taught to always look for the negative. For example, when you're drafting a contract for a client, your job is to think of EVERYTHING that can go wrong and then draft legal provisions in that contract that protect your client if those things happen. Why do I mention all of this? Because a normal person would equate this to a toxic relationship and they would tell you to run the other way. Like, now. Not tomorrow, not the next day. Now. You deserve way better. But yet, I stayed. For 11 years. And I consider myself one of the lucky ones because I eventually escaped. Many do not. So, this brings me to my point - why on earth did I stay? Validation was a huge part of it.

Let me explain. When you are disconnected from your inherent worth and value - you know, good ole self-esteem - you strive for external validation. You look to other people and circumstances to affirm your value. A good job means you're smart. An attractive husband means you're loveable and pretty. You get the idea. Whether it's conscious or not, you're striving to make the outside look "perfect" with the hope that you will feel better about yourself on the inside. But let me tell you, it doesn't work that way. I had many hallmarks of a "successful" life before I even turned age 30 and I was a bit of a mess. Why? These external things are merely quick hits, almost like a drug. Sure, it made me feel good about myself for when someone told me they were impressed by the college I attended, or that I was able to get a job at a prestigious law firm. But that feeling lasted for about 5 minutes. The nice clothes I wore, the nice car I had... they didn't make me feel better about myself on the inside. They didn't make me feel that good, authentic, inherent worth and value that only genuine self-esteem can bring. There came a time when I felt really betrayed. This happened around age 34 where I landed the position I "should" have wanted to remain in for the rest of my life - the pinnacle of my career. And the story in my head went something like this: "I thought that if I strived for all these things, I would be happy. I have them all - why am I not happy?"

I was missing a big piece of the puzzle - I was never taught to work on the inside because what's going on on the inside matters a whole lot more than what you see on the outside. That's not my fault, so the first step was self-compassion for myself. We're taught in school and in society and by our families that we should strive for all these things and we are led to believe we'll be happy when we get them. This is what I mean by external validation. And if you haven't figured this out yet, it is a complete lie. And anyone being honest with themselves will tell you that. But this lie keeps us stuck in jobs we don't like because they pay high salaries. This lie keeps our bank accounts depleted while we try to dress up ourselves with nice clothes to look better than we actually feel inside. This lie keeps us in a bad relationship because we don't want to upset our families by getting a divorce. So the second step - after having self-compassion for yourself - is to examine the areas of your life where you're merely "keeping up appearances." Is there anything in your life that would bring a huge sigh of relief if it were gone? Maybe it's something big like a relationship or maybe it's something smaller like a car payment on a car that's a little too fancy for your income. Are you driving it because you love cars or the particular make and model? Or are you driving it because it impresses upon others that you are successful? These are the kinds of questions we need to be brave enough to ask ourselves. Because when you get rid of the things that aren't serving us - the things that we're doing or being for other people - then we get more into our authentic selves. And that's the path to peace and freedom and joy. So, start this week by thinking about what you have, why you have it, what's weighing you down, and what would feel like a release if you let it go. Those are the first steps on a path to leading the life YOU were meant to live full of things that YOU want and desire -- not merely the things you are taught you "should" want. We aren't all supposed to live the same lives you know... but you would think otherwise from schooling and the culture we live in. We're all meant to be different and serve different purposes. And a joyful life looks different to every single one of us.

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 valuable from my business journey and my experiences!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,

Stacy

Continue reading

Why Did I Name My Shop Grace + Hudson? The Meaning Behind The Name

Why Did I Name My Shop Grace + Hudson? The Meaning Behind The Name

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I am going off the usual topics and instead answering a question I get a lot: what's the meaning behind the name "grace + hudson?" No, they are not my kids' names nor my dogs. Although I must admit... I sometimes think about getting two dogs and naming them Grace and Hudson. 

When I was thinking of starting this business, I knew right off the bat that I would not name it "Stacy Mikulik Designs" or something else using my personal name. I just can't stand that. I think it's appropriate for some people - like real life artists who paint or sculpt - to brand their work with their personal names but I just don't like it when jewelry designers do that for some reason. I wanted something way more creative. And while I show my face a lot on social media and talk about my story of going from lawyer to jewelry designer, I didn't want my company, my brand to be named after me. I wanted it to be a living, breathing thing that can stand all alone on its own (p.s. anyone who's owned a business can tell you that a new business does feel like a living, breathing newborn baby at times!). In other words, I wanted it to have its own identity. 

"Grace" came to mind because it is my favorite word. I love the sound of it, the ease of it, the elegance of it, the beauty of it. It's just a lovely word in my opinion. And then, when you dive down deep and discover the meaning and definition of it, whoa - I'm just blown away. The Oxford Dictionary defines "grace" as "simple elegance or refinement of movement." You know, something like, "She gracefully walked into the theater..." It also defines "grace" as "courteous goodwill." Other definitions for grace are "a short prayer at a meal" and "pleasant and polite behavior (social graces)" - per Webster's Dictionary. And we haven't even gotten to the Bible yet! The Bible has grace written all over it. In religion, grace is generally thought of as the help and kindness that is freely given by God to all humans. Wikipedia defines grace as this (ok, I know, I know, Wikipedia is not a religious source but I kind of like the way they've summed up grace and I'm trying to make this accessible to all and not just Bible readers):   

Help given to one by God because God desires one to have it, not necessarily because of anything one has done to earn it. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to people – generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved – that takes the form of divine favor...

Ah, grace is a beautiful thing. We also see grace show up a lot in our relationships, right? In our relationship to ourself (giving ourselves grace when we mess up), in our romantic relationship (by extending unconditional love and giving him or her the benefit of the doubt), and in our family relationships (choosing to be loving when the other person doesn't necessarily deserve it). And surely grace is present in our friendships and co-worker relationships too. 

So you see, grace is a beautiful word with deep meaning! Now, I just needed a word to go with it. I played with a lot of different combinations but I eventually landed on "hudson." I once lived on a Hudson Street and that's how it came to mind. Once I thought of the combination, I couldn't let it go. "Grace and Hudson" just seemed elegant enough to represent bridal jewelry but not so elegant to be too formal or stuffy. I also knew that I'd be selling giftable jewelry that wouldn't necessarily be used for a wedding 100 percent of the time (although that's my main market) so I didn't want to include the word "bridal" or "wedding" somewhere in the name. 

Then, to make it a little different, I added a "+" sign instead of writing out the word "and" or using "&" and I also lowercased the "g" and "h." Truthfully, I just like the way the "g" and "h" look as lowercase letters. They aren't as pretty capitalized! And there you have it, the name of my company was born!

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 valuable from my business journey and my experiences!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,

Stacy

Continue reading

The Fear You'll Feel When You Start A Business or Make A Big Career Change

The Fear You'll Feel When You Start A Business or Make A Big Career Change

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I am talking about one of the fears that can hold you back from starting your own business or making a big career change. And that's the fear of what everyone else is going to say about you. What will they say behind your back when you quit your current job? Launch your website? Go back to school for a different degree? Unfortunately, it's common for people to gossip and judge others - it's just a reality of life. Hopefully you have a small circle of supportive family and friends you can rely on, but sometimes judgments come from people we love the most. Why can't people just smile and be supportive? Well, I think there are two forces at work here. 

Do you remember that phrase from elementary school that goes, "I'm rubber, you're glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks onto you?" It's applicable here. The judgments people throw your way often say more about them than they do about you. When someone judges or criticizes you, she is revealing her own beliefs and her own fears (in other words, the judgment bounces off of you and sticks back onto her). Let me give you an example. Let's say someone at work says to you, "Do you really think it's smart to leave your stable office job to do something so risky like start a small business?" Through this statement she is revealing HER belief that a stable, corporate job is the only route to financial stability and HER belief that business ownership is too risky and therefore a poor decision. It has absolutely nothing to do with you. Unfortunately, someone like this is a bit small-minded. She doesn't realize that people are built differently. We are all put on this planet with different dreams, skills, personalities, and risk-taking levels. If we were all the same, the world would be boring - and it wouldn't function very well. For example, if we were all built like your co-worker, there would be no one on earth to take the risky jobs. Everyone would be working in an office (and let me tell you, once you quit an office job, you realize just how many people do NOT have a typical office job). So that's the first thing to keep in mind when you're the target of a judgment - remember their words reveal more about them and their beliefs, than you.

The second thing to keep in mind when you receive a judgment is that people often act as mirrors for us. Subconsciously, of course. Let's look at an example. Let's say your best friend expresses a lot of fear and concern when you tell her you are going to quit your job next month. You've been working hard on your business, have turned it into a side hustle, and now you're ready to quit and go full-time. But she goes on and on with her parade of horribles: "But what will you do if this happens? What will you do if that happens? Do you have enough money? What if you run out of money?" And on and on she goes. You get mad at her for reacting so negatively and you tell her you've got to go. On the walk home, you think about all she had to say and you realize that she's actually reflecting back to you all of your deeply held fears about making this leap. It's an interesting principle, but this happens so often in life (most often in romantic relationships and close familial relationships). We get so upset at someone for reacting with negativity and fear, only to admit to ourselves a few hours later that he or she merely spoke into existence the fears that we hold deep down. So, the next time someone reacts to you with fear and concern, see if this principle applies. It doesn't always, but it is really interesting when it does. And these people can actually help us confront our fears head on. For example, you can promise yourself that if you see your bank account drop below a certain amount, you will get a part-time job. And for each fear on the list, you will make a plan: "if this happens, I will do this." Write it down. Keep it in a safe place. When you feel the fears creeping back up, read your plan. You can't plan for everything, but you can plan for a lot. And taking a big leap is never going to be risk free. If you're waiting for the risk to go away, you're going to be waiting the rest of your life! So remember these two ideas the next time you're the target of judgment, and it'll slide right off of you!

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 valuable from my business journey and my experiences!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,

Stacy

Continue reading

Why My First Business Failed...And My Second Succeeded!

Why My First Business Failed...And My Second Succeeded!

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In the last two journal entries, I spoke about my first jewelry business which I had back in 2010. It only lasted a year and I went back to being a lawyer. I practiced law for another 6 years before I quit yet again and started grace + hudson. This year, grace + hudson will turn 5 years old which is quite a milestone for a small business. I think I read a statistic recently that said 95% of new businesses fail within the first 5 years. So making it to this point is worth a little celebration! In today's journal I'm going to share what I think the biggest difference has been between my first failed business and my second successful business. And I bet it'll surprise you. 

So let's get right to it. The biggest difference has been my mindset. Yes, my mindset! Which is something you have complete control over. It doesn't depend on a large advertising budget or any other outside circumstance. Let me explain. Back in 2011, I didn't believe I deserved a better life than working 80 hours per week as an attorney, constantly arguing with others for a living (if you've come to know me, you know that doesn't fit my personality, like, at all). To sum it up, the first time I quit, I had these beliefs:

  • Work isn't supposed to be fun
  • The purpose of work is to earn a paycheck
  • I'm supposed to work until age 65 and then I can retire and enjoy my life
  • The right thing to do after college is to get a job with good income potential
  • I work an office job because I need health insurance
  • I stay at my corporate job because I need the benefits
  • Having a regular paycheck makes me feel secure  
  • I work a 9 to 5 job during the week and I countdown to the weekend. Friday at 5 pm is my favorite. They say TGIF for a reason!
  • Who am I to think that work should be any different than this? Everyone else feels the same way. That's just life. We all have to work to pay the bills.

I actually felt guilty and naive at times for trying to make a living doing something I enjoy. I'm not sure if it was (a) the doubt that I could go against the grain or (b) the guilt that killed my dream first, but I was back working as a lawyer within a year. I truly was not in alignment with my dream of being a business owner. What was I in alignment with? I was in alignment with working in a career I didn't really like. It can be hard to examine your beliefs and have enough self-awareness to admit that. But looking back, gosh it was so clear. I honestly didn't believe I deserved better. 

Now I DO believe I deserve better. I believe I deserve to earn a living doing something I love. I believe that I don't need to "sell my soul" to a law firm to afford my living expenses. I believe that I can create a business that reflects my ideals and my authentic self, and therefore brings me joy on a daily basis. I believe that I can blaze new trails that lead to a super successful business, and that I don't have to be like every other jewelry artist on the planet, struggling to make sales any which way they can. When you truly have these beliefs, you receive out-of-the-box inspiration, you wind up in the right place at the right time, you come up with ideas that seem divinely inspired, you blaze new trails. For example, if you believe you can only make $20k per year as a baker, begging to sell cupcakes at various markets and events around your city, you are completely foreclosing other possibilities. What if Oprah Winfrey stumbled upon your cupcakes, posted about them on Instagram, and you received 1,000 online orders in 3 minutes flat? Your negative mindset is completely foreclosing that option, and other less radical ones that have just as much revenue power.      

So, you ask, how did I change my mindset? Part of it was simply the wisdom that comes with growing a little older, and part of it was some real transformational work I had done with a therapist after I lost my dad to cancer. I was in a dark place at that time in my life. Everything was going wrong and it was just one thing after another. I was finally in enough pain to say, "Ok! Enough is enough! Something's gotta change here!" And that desire for change propelled me to work on myself and really challenge myself to grow beyond this pretty negative headspace I found myself in. It didn't happen overnight that's for sure, but slowly and surely I worked on a little tiny aspect of myself, and then another, and another, and another. And soon enough the momentum was great enough to make some really big, lasting changes. Maybe the biggest and most lasting change I made has to do with my perspective. I learned to see the world and my circumstances very differently. I used to buy into all the ideas society feeds you (see the list about career above!) and once I realized I can choose differently, my world changed. You see, the things you believe really shape your life. If you want to believe that "life is hard" and "my life hasn't turned out the way I wanted it to" your brain will look for evidence to support those beliefs. And, might I add, your brain also will ignore evidence to the contrary. It really is true that when you change your thoughts, you change your world. Do you see what I mean?

If you want to start working on your perspective, start with small things first. Here's my suggestion: on Monday morning when everyone else is saying "ughhh I hate Mondays," choose instead to say, "I'm excited about all the possibilities a new week holds." Do this every single Monday. I'm telling you, within a few short weeks you'll notice just how negative you used to be about Mondays. They might never become your favorite day of the week, but you can look at them from the perspective of possibility instead of dread. Once you do this little experiment with a few small things, you can graduate to bigger things. For example, you can start to challenge some of the beliefs on the bullet point list above. One by one, the dominos fall. And then you can expand this little game to other areas of your life like relationships. Oh there are a whole lot of societal beliefs around marriage and relationships that are just no good and setting you up for failure. Someone once said that "a miracle is a change in perspective" - which means miracles are ordinary, they happen every day. Isn't that a beautiful sentiment? (From the book A Course In Miracles)

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 valuable from my business journey and my experiences!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,

Stacy

Continue reading

Failure Sometimes Is The Mother Of Success

Failure Sometimes Is The Mother Of Success

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In last week's journal entry, I shared how grace + hudson is actually my second business. Yep! I had a small jewelry store in 2010 that failed after just one year and you can read about that here. In this week's journal entry, I wanted to expand upon that and talk about failure. 

Some would label my first store a "failure" but, looking back, grace + hudson wouldn't exist today without that experience. You see, brides-to-be would come into my first jewelry store looking for bridesmaid jewelry gifts. And they all raised the same complaints about the current options in the marketplace. I have never been married, so there was no way for me to know firsthand about these complaints. If you weren't following me back in 2017 when I launched grace + hudson, I launched my company primarily with bridesmaid jewelry in mind. In fact, I didn't even offer bridal jewelry back then! That came later. At first, my goal was to offer timeless, classy bridesmaid jewelry with sophisticated, subtle colors to match a wedding. And it had to be at a giftable price point since some brides have very large bridal parties. And it had to be versatile - you know, so that it could be worn again after the wedding (so it truly is a “gift” and not just something to wear in the ceremony). So you see, having that first “failed” store was a crucial step in me building a successful second business.

That first “failed” store taught me so much about what it takes to run a business, too. You can read all day long about starting a business but until you’re in it, you just don’t know. All the mistakes I made the first time taught me how to be better the second time. My second attempt definitely didn't feel as overwhelming as the first. I knew what I was getting myself into and I knew I could handle it. Opening my second storefront felt like a breeze compared to the first one.

After my first "failure" I also felt a lot of freedom to take risks. Business ownership comes with risk - in fact, it requires it. No one builds a great business by simply copying everyone around them. So, after "failing" once, I felt great freedom to follow my ideas and my intuition the second time around. So many people told me "it's so hard to break into the jewelry market" and "there are so many competitors in jewelry online" etc, etc. But I knew I found a niche that I could really run with (bridesmaid jewelry) and I trusted my intuition on that. And, bottom line, I knew if I failed at it, that nothing major was going to happen. I wasn't going to die, I wasn't going to get hurt, I wasn't going to... anything. I might have to pay off some business-related debt but that's about it. I think 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 led you to your second successful business? Is it really a failure if it grew you up as a person and gave you new skills? The lessons and life skills we learn can never be stolen, no matter what happens to the business in the end. 

I hope you shed your fear of failure today. You might encounter some difficulties along the way to your dream, but - like me - the difficulties and the "failures" might be leading you to your big success. They might be appearing to teach you something very important you'll need for big success down the road. Keep a good perspective and go after it!

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 valuable from my business journey and my experiences!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,

Stacy

Continue reading

If At First You Don't Succeed, Try Try Again - I Did!

If At First You Don't Succeed, Try Try Again - I Did!

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. It's been quite a journey! Some of you may know this already, but grace + hudson is not my first business. I actually owned a jewelry store back in 2010 that only survived for about a year. It was a brick and mortar store in New Jersey where I grew up. So yes, that's right, I actually quit my lawyer job twice! Once in 2010, after about 2.5 years in the legal profession, and then again in 2017.

A lot of people say to me, "Wow, you were brave to try again." I suppose that is true, but I don't see it that way. That first business - that first "failure" - proved to me that I wasn't going to die if I tried to start a business or change careers. I say that with some humor but it's true! When you want to make a big change like I did - opening a jewelry store after practicing law for 11 years - we think the decision to do so is life or death. It can feel massively overwhelming. But the fact of the matter is, it isn't. I don't say that to trivialize the change, but to emphasize that the decision isn't necessarily permanent. If it doesn't work out, you'll probably just go back to your first career and maybe even the same job you had before (if you left on good terms). Sure, you might lose some money in the process, but relatively speaking the damage is quite minimal. It is NOT life or death. My first failure taught me that. When I closed my brick and mortar jewelry store in 2011, I went back to being a full-time lawyer and I paid off the small amount of debt I had acquired from the store. That's it! Was there some shame involved? Of course. It was a little embarrassing to fail. But those feelings quickly passed in a matter of days. People are too wrapped up in their own lives to spend too much time dwelling on a failed jewelry store. Who cares, right? It's an interesting bit of gossip - that's about it.

So, if you are just dying to make a huge career change or start your own business, do it! Try it out. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. I guarantee you you'll learn some things along the way and probably meet some new people. And maybe, like me, you'll try again 5 or 6 years down the road with different results.

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 valuable from my business journey and my experiences!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,

Stacy

Continue reading

The Magic Behind My Daily Mindset Practice

The Magic Behind My Daily Mindset Practice

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. It's been quite a journey! And I know a lot of you would love to leave your 9-to-5 someday and start a business doing something you love. In this week's journal entry, I am writing about my daily mindset practice. If you follow me on Instagram you already know that I share a daily inspirational phrase each morning. I started this practice a long time ago in my own life, but I began to share it on Instagram at the beginning of the pandemic when the world felt really overwhelming. I got such positive feedback that I've continued sharing inspirational phrases every day over the last two years. If you don't follow me over on Instagram already, you can do so by clicking here. Anyways, here's why this daily practice has been one of the keys to my success in making the successful leap from lawyer to jewelry business owner.

Let me start by sharing an example of what I share on Instagram each day. At the beginning of the week, I usually post something like this: "I'm excited about all the possibilities this new week holds. I don't have to dread Mondays. I can choose to be excited about all that will happen this week." You see, the storylines that run through our minds shape our experiences. We can choose to repeat negative stories (for example, "Mondays suck") or positive ones (for example, "I am excited about a new week"). When we choose to adopt a positive perspective, we grow our ability to look at something "negative" and focus on the important lesson it taught us rather than the heartbreak it brought us. And when you have that kind of perspective, it becomes easier to manage life and to "roll with the punches" sorta speak. Negative things no longer hold the extreme power over us that they once did. Sure, we all have to deal with negative things and that's a part of life, but we can become more stable and even-keeled and "bounce back" sooner when we have the right perspective. Maybe we spend just one day crying in bed about a negative event rather than 8 or 9 or 10 days. You see what I mean?

After you start to use affirmations or mantras for the small things (like how you feel about Mondays) it becomes easier to use mantras for the big things. And this brings me to my point - mantras were one of the keys to my success in making the successful leap from lawyer to jewelry business ownerWhen I first wanted to make this big career change, I became very aware of the powerful negative stories that were holding me back and I started to change them by using mantras. This didn't happen overnight because, let me tell you, I had some pretty powerful negative stories about career and money running through my head. But slowly and surely, my beliefs and my stories changed.

For example, one of the thoughts I had running through my mind was that I will never be able to make as much money selling jewelry as I did as a lawyer. When I became aware of that belief, I realized how much it was creating my reality. If you believe you can't make a living selling jewelry, you won't. If you believe on the other hand that you can make even more money selling jewelry than you ever did as a lawyer, you will. It really is that simple. And so I began to say this mantra over and over again: "I can make more money selling jewelry than I did as a lawyer. I deserve to make money doing something I love." It worked! And I have concrete evidence to prove it. I had a jewelry business about ten years ago, in 2010, and it failed after about 12 months and I had to go back to being a lawyer. Why? I didn't believe I deserved to earn a living doing something I love. I didn't believe that a job could or should be fun. I didn't believe I could earn enough money to support myself making jewelry. But this time around, with grace + hudson, I do believe I deserve to earn a living doing something I love. I do believe that work can and should be fun. I do believe I can earn more money than I did as a lawyer. And you know what? That's exactly what's shown up for me this time around. (Side note: I also did a TON of self-development work on myself in the intervening 10-year period between these two businesses. And it was hard. It brought up a lot of tears and caused me to examine a lot of things about myself, some of which I didn't particularly like. But it was 100% worth it. Some storylines take a lot of work to reframe.) 

So how do you implement a similar mindset practice in your own life? It starts with awareness. It's hard to be honest with ourselves about the storylines running through our heads. You might think you're a positive person, but upon further examination you might realize that you actually have a lot of negative storylines running through your head each day. This is where the personal, self-development works comes into play. It takes a lot of courage to admit where we can do better, and to ask for help in making changes if we need it.

Once you've identified your negative storylines, the rest is (comparatively speaking) easy. Switch those negative stories into positive ones. Change your perspective. And start repeating the positive ones whenever the negative ones try to creep back in. For example:

  • If the storyline you hear in your head all week long is "I hate this job and I'm never going to be able to break out of it and pursue my dreams" change it to "I wouldn't have been given this dream if I didn't have the power to make it happen. I might not be happy at this job right now, but it's paying the bills and teaching me things I might need to know down the road. I'm saving a little more money each week so that I can one day leave this job and do what I've been put on this earth to do."
  • If the storyline you hear in your head all week long is "I'm overweight and I'll never feel good in this body" change it to "I am releasing excess weight that is holding me back. I am grateful that my body can move and support me and it's only a matter of time before I feel healthier in this skin."
  • If the storyline you hear in your head all week long is "I am not smart enough to start my own business" change it to "I may not have any experience with business ownership but there are online courses available to me and so much free information on the Internet. I know I'll be guided to what I need to learn." 

In time, you'll begin to change your beliefs around the subject you're struggling with. And the positive storylines will drown out the negative storylines. Once this happens, new and different things will start to show up for you in your life. New opportunities and relationships and people and events and options. Your reality will gradually shift, which is an exciting thing to experience.

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 valuable from my business journey and my experiences!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,

Stacy

 

Continue reading

Does Doing Work You Love Sound Like A Bunch Of Baloney? Then You Need To Read This

Does Doing Work You Love Sound Like A Bunch Of Baloney? Then You Need To Read This

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I am excited to be back with new journal entries for 2022. If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. It's been quite a journey! And I know a lot of you would love to leave your 9-to-5 behind and pursue your own business doing something you love. In this week's journal entry, I am writing about opening your mind to the possibility that you CAN do work you love.

If you take a quick look around, it's not hard to see why most people feel an unsatisfying 9-to-5 job is the only option. It's all over our culture - from "I hate Mondays" to "TGIF" - we are taught to hate 5 days of the week and live for 2 of them. In school, we are pushed to get a "stable" corporate job at a reputable company. We are taught to "think practically" and stifle our dreams. Did anyone in your schooling ever sit down with you to evaluate your God-given gifts and talents? Think about it. We all have really special talents - some people have one big one, some people have a few smaller ones. Some people are gifted writers. Some, singers. Some people are absolutely fascinated by the human body and want to pursue medicine and healing. Some are intrigued by construction work and want to pursue a trade. I don't know about you, but I never - not once - had an adult sit down with me during my formative years to evaluate how my talents, gifts, and special skills could be parlayed into a career.

This is one of the reasons it is so hard to leave a "stable" 9-to-5 and pursue a dream. To most, it sounds foolish given the programming we endured for so many years about work. Still to this day, if I had a dime for every person who said, "Wow you left a stable job as a lawyer to make jewelry?!" I would be rich. They'll even walk into my store in Charleston and say that - with evidence right before their very eyes that my dream has come into fruition. That's the programming we were brought up with. And some people are very unaware of it.

If you want to start your own business one day or pursue a different career than the one you find yourself in, you will have to overcome this programming. You will need to erase it and replace it. That sounds daunting, doesn't it? I mean, the TGIF culture is all around us - from the TV shows we watch to the way we sign off emails with "Have a great weekend" - heck, there's even a national restaurant chain named TGIF's. So where do you begin? It's a process, not something that happens overnight. I would suggest that you begin by writing down this phrase and repeating it every single morning on your way to work and every single night as you fall asleep. I would also recommend repeating it every time you feel negative feelings about your current work creep up. Maybe put this phrase on an index card and carry it with you in your wallet or copy and paste it into the notepad on your phone so that it's always available to you. Here it goes:

It is possible to do work I love. I don't need to hate my job and live for the weekends. I can earn money using the talents and gifts and skills I was born with, and have fun along the way. It is possible to love my job and my work.

If that phrase sounds like a load of crap to you, well my friend you have a lot of work to do. Your programming runs deep. In addition to repeating this phrase as much as possible, I would recommend that you look for real life examples of people doing work they love. Maybe you have a relative or friend you can point to. Or you can point to someone famous - I mean, look at Betty White. She did work she loved until the day she died. Look at singer Tony Bennett - he performed with Lady Gaga last year at the age of about 95 years old. It's true, when you do work you love, you never "work" (as you currently understand that term) a day in your life. And the idea of "retirement" also gets turned on its head (but that's a discussion for another day). And please, please, please, look at me as an example. I am no different than you. If I can do it, you can do it. It takes WORK. It will be HARD. But it is so, so possible. There is no instant gratification here. Nothing worth having gets handed to you on a silver platter. If you stick with it, you can change the way you perceive work.

When you change your perceptions around work, that's when things really start to shift. You start to become a magnet for work that feels good, because that's where your mindset is. Work is supposed to feel good. Don't get me wrong, every day is not a walk in the park in a fantasy land. But overall the way you spend 40+ hours per week should be satisfying on a number of levels. You should feel like you're contributing your gifts and talents to the world. You should feel like you're learning and growing as a person. You should feel like you're earning a living by contributing what you have to offer. It's a beautiful exchange when you think about it: to give your gifts and get currency in return to pay for your life's expenses. I love the word "currency" instead of money because it conveys the energy behind it.

And several years, after things have changed for you, you'll look back and you'll be able to see exactly why you attracted those jobs you hated. I see it now, with myself. I know exactly why I was attracted to being a lawyer, and why I allowed myself to remain there for so long even though I hated it. In short, I was a straight A's at school perfectionist who went to an Ivy League college and a top 25 law school and got all of my internal worth and self-esteem from being validated at school and work. That's where I excelled. So as I kept excelling and excelling and excelling at school and work, I felt "better" about myself. But it was really a false sense of self-esteem I was building that eventually came crashing down but that's a journal entry for another day. And then, when I got into the legal profession, some unhealthy personality traits I developed as a child living with a bipolar father served me extraordinarily well in my profession. For example, when you're a child living with a bipolar parent who is not managing his or her disorder, all of your effort goes into "not making dad or mom upset." And by default, you learn that your needs and wants don't matter. Of course, as a child you don't understand that you aren't the one making dad or mom upset. You don't understand its their disorder. Well, fast forward to the legal profession where you are asked to work all hours of the day and all days of the week, and bend over backwards for your clients. Your needs don't matter. Your clients always come first, no matter what. I can remember a wedding I missed because of work. I can remember missing out on seeing my grandmother before she passed because I had a legal brief due in court the next day. Awful. Awful. Awful. This is not acceptable. But of course at the time, my clients' needs were more important than my own no matter what the price tag and that made me a great lawyer. Ironic, isn't it? As you can imagine, there were some deep-seated issues that needed to be healed and I used the help of a therapist. Your journey may be similar. When people used to ask me at the beginning of my business ownership journey - are you scared you'll have to go back to being a lawyer someday?  My answer has always been a resounding "no." You know why? I have healed the junk that made me a match for that job. That situation is no longer acceptable to me, for various reasons. I am now a match for doing work I love, having personal freedom to prioritize the events that matter to me, having boundaries at work, and earning a living by offering my gifts and talents to the world.

So, if you're in a job or career you don't particularly like right now, I hope that you too will no longer be a match for it someday soon. With some hard work and some time, it's guaranteed. The choice is yours.

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 valuable from my business journey and my experiences!

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!

xoxo,

Stacy

 

 

 

 

Continue reading

The One Thing I Think All Business Owners Should Invest In

The One Thing I Think All Business Owners Should Invest In

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 sharing the one thing I would invest in if I were launching a new business right now. A lot of you are aspiring business owners, and maybe you've even started to work on your business website! If so, you might be overwhelmed at all there is to do and what it costs. Which things are worth the money? Which things can you cut corners on? What do you really need now, and what can wait? Looking back, here's the one thing I would prioritize that I don't see a lot of entrepreneurs prioritizing these days.

I've been in the entrepreneur world for about 5 years now and I've met a lot of business owners during that time. Both online and in real life. When you're just starting out, you tend to do a lot of networking! I also did a lot of pop up shops before I had the pleasure of opening my own brick and mortar store, and I met a lot of other business owners at those pop ups. And these days you exchange Instagram handles more than you exchange business cards, right? So I've seen a lot of social media accounts and websites from small business owners. And there's one one thing I noticed a lot. And there's one thing new business owners complain about a lot. And that's professional photography and the cost of it.

If there's one thing I can persuade you to invest in, it would be professional photography. And listen, you don't need to go for the gold and hire someone expensive. No, no. Not necessary. You can upgrade to better photography as your business grows and makes more revenue (in fact, I've just hired a new more experienced photographer to upgrade my website photos in 2022!). But starting out, I highly, highly, highly suggest you get yourself some professional photos. If you have a website (well, you better! That goes without saying!) it needs to look professional and polished. If you're selling online, people cannot touch and see the product for themselves. You have to convey how beautiful and amazing it is in photos. That can't be done with crappy iPhone photos taken by someone who doesn't know how to edit photos. And if you're selling services (such as coaching or consulting) you are the product. So you need to look polish and trustworthy and professional in your photos, or potential clients are going to have a hard time trusting you with their dollars. Bottom line - your photos are your language. It's how you communicate with people. Most people don't read words these days. For real! For example, Instagram captions are kind of a dead thing, right? If you don't capture their attention with a photo, they definitely aren't going to read the words under it. Heck, even if they like the photo, they still might not read the words. It's all about instant impact with visuals.

Despite this, so many business owners complain about hiring a professional and claim they don't have the money. Well, I'm sorry to break this obvious news to you, but if YOU won't invest in your business, don't expect others to! Right? Right. If you truly are unable to invest in some photos, see if you can hire a photography major from a nearby college. These students often have to build up a portfolio, so they might work for a very low rate or entirely free. Think outside the box! You might even be able to barter - if you sell jewelry and you need jewelry photos, perhaps you can agree to give the photographer 5 free pieces if she does this work for you. Or maybe you have a friend who is really, really good with iPhone photos. There are so many editing apps out there to make photos look polished and professional and maybe you have a friend or two who can navigate those. Get creative! After all, coming up with creative solutions to problems is one major job of an entrepreneur.  

So when you're making your budget for your new business, leave some room for professional photos. You won't regret it! You have one opportunity to grab a stranger's attention. 

I hope you're able to learn something valuable from my own business journey and experiences! If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. 

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. 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 access and read the entries that resonate most!


xoxo,
Stacy

Continue reading