Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain

Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain

Holy balls.

It has been WAY too long since I put pen to paper here. And you guys deserve to know why.

It’s because I am incredibly amazing. And incredibly amazing people are very busy. Obviously.

That’s why. And there’s only one of me so I’m working my lovely ass off to keep everyone satisfied. And satisfied they are.

That’s also why.

And I’ll let you in on a secret that no one is really talking about: It turns out, running a business when you are bonkers busy and in high demand IS wonderful, fulfilling and cool-as-shit… but it is ALSO exhausting, overwhelming, time-gobbling, confusing, and hard.

Yes. I totally just humble-bragged about how busy and successful I am and how hard that is.

Go ahead, throw a shoe at me. I deserve it.

If I were just starting out I would throw shoes at me too.

It’s funny, isn’t it? We spend years working towards something – hating being happy for those who have the success we want and imagining that when we get there everything will be all fluffy bunnies and sweet-smelling roses and we’ll never have any problems again.

“They can cry themselves to sleep on their pile of money,” we say.

Pretty sure I have said those very words.

But then when we get what we’ve been working so hard for and we realize that it’s just another set of challenges. And then, somehow, those who are successful are magically no longer allowed to talk about having problems of any kind. We don’t talk about it because we don’t want to make other people feel bad, and because we are – after all –  supposed to have our shit together now.

I am now successful. There. I said it.

I was probably successful before, but I was too busy to notice.

I’m still busy and still tap dance my toosh off to keep everything moving forward. But at the end of the month, there is also now money leftover. And that, my friends is the incredibly low bar that I set for myself to feel successful.

Just so you know, my pile of money is not as large or as soft as my crappy seven-year-old Target pillow – so for now, I’m gonna just sleep on that. Thankyouverymuch.

But with that success has also come a level of complexity I was unprepared for.

And since everyone loves a good backstory… Here’s what happened: A few months ago, MM was cooking along. Busy. Steady stream of clients. Happy folks. Then, things got a little busier. Not a lot. Just a little. But that little was enough and I found myself barely keeping up. I realized that if I was going to be able to continue to take care of my clients to my standards and still churn out new work to teach and sell, I needed to hire people. Like IMMEDIATELY. Actually, more like yesterday. So I started working on how to do that. And this is how that played out:

Creative Brain: I need to hire people.

Practical Brain: Ok who? And for what?

Creative Brain: I dunno. How does one outsource the magical wizardry that is ME?!?

Practical Brain: Well, first we need to create a protocol for working with us. Then we need to see if anyone wants to work with us. Then we need to figure out what we can afford. Then we need to choose the right people. Then we need to create contracts. Then we need to figure out how to manage multi-faceted projects in a way that makes sense for everyone and makes our lives easier, not harder. Then we all need to learn said new platform. Then we need to assign tasks. No wait, first we have to write out instructions for new tasks, THEN we can assign them. Then we need to figure out how to check progress of new people while also valuing their autonomy, creativity, and time and not micromanaging them. Then we have to figure out how and when to pay them. Then we have to pay them. Then we have to check their work. Then we have to roll them out to the public. Or do we? I dunno. Then we need to write a Brand Standards guide for MM so they know what they are representing. Then when we finally finish all of that, then we can handle more capacity.

Creative Brain: OK cool. You get on that. I’ll be over here working on all the current client work we already have.

Practical Brain: …..but…..

So that’s what I’ve been doing for the last three months. And yes, MM is growing. Fast. Faster than I was logistically prepped for. And as you can see, every inch forward requires a hundred tiny [and critical] steps. Because that’s how it is when you grow. It’s almost never in the way you plan for. And trust the girl with the fancy business degree:

The more you KNOW, them more steps you realize that every inch forward will actually take.

It’s the reason business plans are mostly useless – you NEVER know what you’re planning for until the sky falls on your head. Or your client base accidentally turns out to be a completely different group than you shot for because some blogger somewhere sang your praises to the Disney Princess community instead of the Goth Divas you were marketing towards, and BAM, everything you do has to change. You simply can’t plan for what happens when real life collides with your vision.

And this growing and changing are also the reasons why we neglect things like blogging [and brunch with friends, and grocery shopping, and sleeping, and…]. When I’m not focused on all the behind the scenes work of growing, I have WAY more time to have things like informed opinions and inspiring rants.

For me, writing about growth while growing has proven to be incredibly difficult.

I’m someone who likes to have my ducks in a row before I turn on the spotlights. I like to know that I have the answers to the questions you haven’t even thought of yet. Which is, after all, why clients like me. I have my proverbial shit together. So when a bunch of you asked me to write about my behind-the-scenes process, I basically panicrastinated. Because for the last few months, all the ducks have not been in a row. They have been running around in circles like possessed little quacking demon spawn and pooping on the floor.

I find myself in the stage of business where clients are all happy, deadlines are being met, contracts are being signed, project are being managed… and I haven’t done laundry in a month and I have to set an alarm on my computer to remember to eat.

This is the stage where tasks seem to be off in the corner humping like bunnies and just multiplying all over the place.

Where I can’t stop tripping all over my own perfectionism, only to land face-first in demon-duck poop.

So, since you asked, THAT’S what’s been going on behind the scenes. And you know what? Thank god for that goddamn curtain.

I LOVE that fucking curtain.

NOTHING to see here

It’s the beautiful veil that shelters you all from what my mother used to call, “Hurricane Illana”.

In addition to the demon-duck poop, there is also entreprepreneur droppings everywhere. Which looks a lot more like half-baked world-altering ideas, poorly conceived ebooks, and mindmaps that look like a Jackson Pollack painting mated with an Excel spreadsheet.

And no one needs to see that.

And the curtain protects me too. Because periods of high-risk creativity are like their own breed of emotional disaster areas that make me feel vulnerable.

And terrified.

And not at all the composed leader you need me to be.

Because just like success can’t be planned for, it also almost never feels like you think it will.

So down comes the curtain.

And it’s not to hide.

It’s to incubate. Because hatching great ideas needs a peaceful, quiet, safe place. Free from distraction and critique.

A place where the raw edges and missed commas can be left in peace to be elegantly ironed out.

So it’s ok to drop off the face of the blogging earth sometimes, as long as you’re cooking up ideas that will actually make you money and/or help you or your people grow. Because, generally speaking, the world will not even notice [well, sometimes they do – thanks for the emails, guys – really – being missed felt truly divine], and will be there when you emerge.

It’s ok to not share that whole messy, glorious process with the world, if you don’t want to.

That’s what the curtain is for.

So you can whisper your genius before you shout it to the world.

So you can practice until it’s perfect.

So you can become who you know you can be and create what you know you’re meant to.

Just never forget that there’s an audience patiently waiting on the other side.

Eventually, the curtain has to rise.

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