One thing I hear a lot is, "how do you find the time." I hear this a lot when I tell people that, in addition to my (very full) full-time job, and being a wife and mom, I run and market an Etsy shop.
This is not about "having it all," because we all know that’s a fantasy. But I have learned some strategies for working smarter while building my brand. Here are a few ways to follow your passion when you’re short on time but long on inspiration:
1. Do what you can, when you can
Think about the space you have in your day. Maybe it's 15 minutes on your lunch break. Maybe it’s a few minutes while riding the train to work. Maybe it's the half-hour when your kid is at swimming lessons.
Now try to imagine what you can do during that time. Can you answer emails, or post to social media? Can you plan out your next project, or return a few phone calls? Build routines that help you tap into those little windows of time in a strategic, organized way. I keep a list of little things that I can do when I have a bit of down time, like commenting on other blogs or sharing my products on Pinterest, that might otherwise fall by the wayside.
Now, I'm not saying you should spend every waking moment focused on your project. You deserve down time, too. But 10 minutes roughing out a blog post may be more energizing than aimlessly browsing Facebook.
2. Quit (or pause) what isn't working
When you're trying to launch a brand or build your following, staying on top of multiple different social media accounts can feel totally overwhelming. So don’t panic — just take it one step at a time.
If you’re just getting started with social media, take a look at what others in your niche are saying, and try imagine yourself joining the conversation. If it doesn't feel like the right fit, don’t force it.
If you're struggling to craft the right tweet, or your Instagram photos always fall flat, it's OK to let that platform go — maybe for now, maybe forever. Your audience isn't just on one platform; they're everywhere. You'll be able to connect with them much more easily when you find a space where you can be your best, authentic self.
3. Look before you leap
When I'm excited about something, whether it’s re-branding, launching a new product line or collaborating with someone, I want to do everything right now. And while that enthusiasm can be a great catalyst, it can also lead to rookie mistakes — which can be a huge waste of your precious time.
Give yourself permission to spend time on blogs and social media sites in your field, and pay close attention to what others are doing. Ask yourself, “What do I like about this? What does this person do well?” Inspiration is out there if you’re open to it — which leads me to my next point:
4. Say "I can" instead of "I can't"
It's way too easy to compare yourself to others, and feel frustrated or discouraged. It's the trap of thinking, "Well, if I could afford to hire models, my products would look terrific too!" But that kind of thinking is only a waste of time. So focus instead on what you can do.
For years, I used a terrible old iPhone 4S to take product photos. They were grainy, and the color balance wasn’t great. That was my reality until I could afford a better camera. So I worked hard to improve my photos, seeking out the best possible light, learning more about my photo editing software and focusing on composition. If you keep sight of what’s possible, you won’t get stuck pining for the things that aren’t yet within your reach.
5. See what sticks
If you just launched a cooking blog, but you suddenly have the urge to do a style post, I say go for it. Give yourself permission to experiment — to see what your audience responds to, and also to see what feels right for you.
While building a consistent brand is important, you may have to feel your way a bit to get there — and that’s OK. When I started blogging, I tried everything from giveaways to DIY and craft posts, just to see what worked. Taking an idea from concept to reality requires some flexibility.
6. Be smart about stats
Stats can make you crazy, and can gobble up a lot of time as you sit there staring at the numbers, wondering why no one liked your post from last Tuesday. But I am a serious stats lover. Give me a good data set, and I'm like a kid with a new toy. The key is to ignore the numbers, and focus on the trends.
My blog stats showed me that my most popular posts by far were interviews, and refashion posts. Rather than getting hung up on the individual numbers, I can use this information to guide my content going forward. I won’t tie myself in knots to chase stats, but on the other hand, it’s exciting to share things that I know my readers will respond to.
7. Ride those coattails
I've joined linkups and fashion challenges, interviewed other bloggers, reached out to local Etsy sellers and joined a blogging network. These no-cost strategies got my brand out to new people while also helping me create a network of like-minded people in my niche, who happen to also be super awesome.
When I started blogging, I had an "if you build it, they will come" mentality. Which is pretty hilarious, given how much competition there is for people’s time and attention. Since then, I've learned that partnering with others in my field who are more well established is a much better strategy — and it doesn’t have to cost you a dime.
We all wish we could have more time in our days. But with these seven smart strategies, you can get the most out of the little time you have.
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."