Oh my goodness - episode 200! I have days when I can’t believe it’s that many and days when I absolutely can believe it because I love this podcast. I love creating content for you and gushing in your ears every single week. Seriously. When people ask me what my favorite business task is, it’s quite often THIS show! Whether you tune in weekly or catch the (very thorough) highlights over here on the blog, I want to extend my sincere gratitude. Whether it’s your first episode or you’ve been here since the beginning, thank you for celebrating episode number 200 with me!
Since you count on me for business and marketing advice, I have to practice what I preach here and say if you haven’t reviewed the Breakthrough Brand yet, please do!! It not only helps the podcast grow (like every other podcaster says) but I also just super love hearing from you. I get giddy every time a new review comes in and I love when the podcast feels more like a two-way conversation.
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE NOW:
A Milestone Podcast Episode
To celebrate this milestone episode, I felt a lot of pressure to do something “interesting” like a compilation episode sharing the best of the best in the last two hundred episodes. But instead, I decided to intentionally keep it simpler (which is going to be a recurring theme in my business this year) and am going to share with you the 6 habits that I believe have impacted my business (and my life) in a big way.
Credit where credit is due - this episode was inspired by a talk by Brendan Burchard last year. I think he shared twenty habits or something like that and encouraged us to think about what habits have impacted us personally… and I did! So today, I’m sharing my main six.
A little disclaimer: I feel like sometimes these kinds of episodes are awkward to do and I feel like I have to tell you that there are PLENTY of bad habits that I have! I’m not perfect by any means, but I do know you all love hearing about what’s working for me (the same way I love to know what’s working for you). Perhaps one day I will make an episode that’s full of the habits I need to kick, but today’s not that day!
1. I have a habit of taking action really quickly.
I’m the complete opposite of someone who always feels the need to mull things over. Instead, I take action quickly when I feel good about something. Once I’ve made a decision, I go for it. Adam (my loving husband) often tells me that I need to slow down. He will say the distance between me having an idea and acting on the idea is like one second. He’s right!
Remember when I said I had plenty of bad habits? While taking action quickly has been a big part of my success, this habit is also a great example of your greatest assets being your greatest weakness. I’ve also had times where I’ve taken action on things where if I had paused and thought it over longer, I would have done it differently. Obviously that’s not ideal!
Throughout the last seven years in business, trusting my gut to do it’s thing has served me though. I’m very intuitive and don’t always feel like I need to be super prepared for everything. I just GO.
An example of taking action quickly in business
A perfect example of this is my Etsy shop. Did you even know I had an Etsy shop? I started it about 6 years ago and am listed as a “star seller: after 691 sales. I sell coffee mugs and drop-ship them. It’s a small money maker for my business, but it’s a fun passion project!
I started that shop completely on a whim when I was looking for a Law and Order SVU coffee mug. I knew exactly what I wanted it to say… I just couldn’t find anything that said it. I said, “wow there’s not enough of this stuff here!” and so I designed my own, posted it on Facebook, and waited for my first sale. I even ordered myself a mug in the meantime. I was in business. It’s crazy to think now that was 690 sales ago.
Adam still jokes that one morning at breakfast I was talking about the idea and when he got home from work, I had the shop live. I know some other people may have thought “Maybe I should start an Etsy shop” and then researched it, bought an online course about it, and talked to friends about it. That’s not me. I just GO.
Sometimes research is required.
I do just want to add that I know that sometimes research is required. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that Colin just had ear surgery. I knew everything there was to know about that surgery before we went in. I memorized the aftercare, I weighed the pros and cons. There are certainly times in your life and business when it pays to be prepared, but for the most part, I trust my intuition and figure things out as I go. It’s served me well thus far!
How can you take action more quickly?
If you are reading this and find yourself often stuck in ideas mode, here’s some quick advice. Perfectionism is a crusher of productivity. It’s hard but you need to practice giving yourself grace when things aren’t perfect, and when you make mistakes. This does NOT mean you have to do work you aren’t proud of, or that you should sell something you threw together at the last minute. But as an entrepreneur, you will always be learning and sometimes you need to give yourself the chance to figure things out as you go.
Another tip? Don’t have a million things you are trying to accomplish at once. It makes it really hard to take big action on anything. Focus on one thing at a time and take big action on that one thing.
Read more: If you are thinking about habits you have (or want to have) in your own business this year, make sure to check out this simple tip to get started.
2. I strategize, plan, and then execute constantly in my business.
I believe that successful people know what they’re doing and when they’re doing it. When it comes to goal setting, I would say that I’m good at deciding where I want the business to go and then laser-focusing on how to get there.
With that said, like a lot of visionary types, I’m not always the best at executing. But, I would say that I am aware enough of that so I can be proactive to make up for it.
Do you struggle to “strategize, plan, and execute”?
I want to share three practical tips for this (that you can apply today!) that have helped me journey through this season of life.
1. Don’t obsess over 3-year goals (or 5-year or 10-year goals) for your business.
I know the overall consensus is often to think big but to be honest? I personally prefer thinking smaller. Why? Because your goals become way more actionable. All of a sudden, you know exactly what you need to do for the next quarter.
On top of that, I often don’t know what the heck I will be doing that far from now. I think part of the beauty of these types of online lifestyle businesses that we run also make it harder to plan long-term. I’m okay with that!
This habit especially served me while I was pregnant and during the first year of being a mom. There is nothing more humbling to your long-term plans than not knowing when the baby is going to come (or what your life is going to look like when they arrive!).
2. Pick focuses for your business for a quarter (or a whole year if that makes sense for you!), and laser in on that.
I love squirrels (seriously - I used to watch them from my office apartment) but I don’t want them in my business. Over the last seven years in business, I’ve noticed that years, where I plan my quarters (or year) in advance, have been better years for me. In 2023, my business has 3 words of the year and I have them in my office in plain view. If opportunities come up outside of those 3 words, I’m not doing it (or am considering it really hard before taking advantage).
3. Plan your time and work goals backward!
One of my goals for 2023 is to be a guest on 30 podcasts. When setting my goals this year, I looked at how many I was on last year, and assumed if I did nothing it would be similar this year. Then, I broke it down into how many podcast episodes I would need to be a guest on each month, and how many podcasters I would need to pitch to fill those spots. I got very granular with it, and you might want to consider breaking down your goals that much too!
Read more: If launching your website is one of those things you need to execute on more quickly, head here.
Do you have your own podcast too?
I’m interrupting this milestone episode because I wanted to ask, are you a podcaster too? Whether you’re nearing episode 200 like me or just getting started, having a WEBSITE for your podcast is HUGE. Podcasting is a lot of work, which you may already know, and we want the effort you’re putting into each episode to serve you long-term and allow more potential clients and customers to come your way.
By repurposing your show notes live as blog posts, new listeners can find your show from Google or Pinterest and learn more about working with you. Having a dedicated website page about your show not only adds legitimacy but also allows you to showcase information a sponsor might want to know (or share your top episodes with new potential listeners).
As a podcaster myself, I’ve created two podcast-specific pages that you can add to any full site template with ease. When you purchase one of my website templates, everything is built to drive SEO traffic your way. All of the templates come fully equipped with full blog designs so you can easily add your show notes and create an exceptional experience for your listeners. The only question now is: Are you more of a Gabby or a Jena? Head to elizabethmccravy.com/shop and use the code BBPODCAST to save 10% off today.
3. I have a habit of moving my body.
This one might be more of a personal habit but I promise you that it’s helped serve me in business too. This one is definitely a learned habit for me but now I am at the point where I truly crave it. If I go days without movement (even just 1-2 days), I don’t feel good. It’s one of those habits I need to be met.
I also want to add to this: this has looked different in different seasons of my life. What physical activity I crave or what exercise I do looks different depending on the day (or year), but I’ve made it a habit for so long now I truly don’t feel good without it!
A little known fact: I was a cheerleader in middle school and high school, and I actually got to be cheerleading captain twice. I never talk about that now but I still remember standing on the gym floor nervous talking into the microphone at a prep rally. This came rushing back last week when I was a speaker at the Creative Educator Conference last week (which by the way, was a phenomenal conference and I highly recommend you attend next year). I was sitting next to Angie McPherson - who you are going to hear on the podcast soon because she’s amazing - and I have no idea what I did (we were all cheering after someone else spoke) and she looked and me and said, “were you a cheerleader?”.
She could tell by the way I clapped and cheered. It never really goes away! It’s why I often sign emails with “cheering you on”. I love to encourage others and be a business cheerleader in that kind of way.
The movement your body craves might look different in different seasons of your life, but that’s okay!
Getting back to this habit - growing up, cheerleading was my activity. But I was not raised in a household that was into exercise at all. I still remember late in high school, as cheering was coming to an end, making an effort to learn to workout (literally - how to use machines and weights). Because I was so consistent with it, it truly became something I craved.
From there, I’ve gone through seasons where I lean more heavily into one form of movement or another. I know I was into long distance-ish running, then I loved HIIT workouts, and then I had a big yoga season (I actually became a certified yoga instructor in college).
Now, I love weight lifting and walking (or really short workouts) because I don’t have much time for more than that in my life right now. I still crave it though. Weather permitting, I go on a walk outside at least once a day (if not more) and I love it. It soothes both my body and my mind.
I fully believe the benefits have not stopped in my personal life either. I feel more mental clarity from exercising and moving my body. As someone who works from home, I also
think it makes me happier to have something get me out of the house too.
Read More: This interview with Joy Michelle was one of my favorites if you are a mom and business feels hard at times. She talks about how she likes to go for a walk as a “virtual commute” before and after too.
4. I am very curious and care about learning. I know that I don’t know it all.
Since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to know how things work, why they work that way, what something does - the list goes on and on. For those of you who are big on the enneagram, I’m an enneagram 6w5, and this part of me is definitely my 5 wing (the investigator) coming out. This trait comes out a lot!
Overall, I’m someone who just loves to learn. I mentioned in the last habit that I became a certified yoga instructor during college which is a good example of this. I had the desire to learn more about yoga and grow myself in that way, so it felt like a natural next step.
In day-to-day life, I’m an avid reader. I read every single day, even if it’s just a few minutes of a book right before bed. According to my kindle app, I’ve read weekly for 174 weeks in a row!
I know that I don’t know it all
With that said, as much as I love to investigate, I am always conscious that I don’t know it all and I think that this is important for entrepreneurs, especially if you are in the educator/coaching space. If ever I feel like I know it all, it leaves me with no room to grow. Also, if I believe my way is the best way, it can lead to me giving bad advice as a business coach. So while I am constantly learning (and that is very important to me), I also make it a habit to be observant and remain open for ways to do things differently (and better).
Another thing that I love to do as an investigator, is taking a step back and looking at things with fresh eyes. Whenever I have the opportunity to talk to another business owner (or person!), I always believe that I have something to learn from them. Laylee reminded us of this at the Creative Educator Conference and it was so good. I’m always happy to seek out ways to not be “an expert” and be a student instead.
5. I am punctual and I respect time. I am definitely a calendar person!
If you’ve been here a while, you know this about me and calender-ing. In fact, one of my most popular episodes to date was all about using a digital calendar. I keep track of everything in my apple calendar, so I can reach for my phone or look on my computer and know at any point what’s on the agenda for that day.
With that said, the way that I calendar has changed as my life has changed. In this season with Colin being so young and at home most of the time, it’s more so just meetings that get put on my calendar. Even if those meetings are just with me! But even during this busy season, I still also include my focus for the week and personal things I don’t want to forget.
Why Keeping a Calendar is so Important for Business Owners
Calendaring has been pivotal to my success as an entrepreneur because it not only keeps me organized, it helps me manage my energy. I’m sure you can relate, right? If you’re not paying attention to what is next on your schedule (and are trying to keep track of everything in your head), before you know it you’re just going through the motions of what you’re supposed to do. The worst feeling as a business owner is getting to Friday and feeling like you’ve “done nothing for yourself” or seeing you have 5 meetings in one day and no free time to get any work done.
I Respect My Own Time and Other People’s Time
I’ve always kind of been one of those people that believe being on time is late and being early is on time (unless I’m trying to be fashionably late, of course!). I make an effort to be punctual in every interaction (whether that’s a zoom meeting or meeting a friend for coffee) to show that I respect not only my own time but their time as well.
If I ever am running late, I don’t brush it off. I will always apologize, communicate with that person that I’m running late, and try to make it clear how much I value them and respect their time (because I do!). I believe that time is our greatest currency and I treat it that way.
Are you someone who identifies as “Always late”?
We all know someone like this, and maybe right now it’s you. If you currently identify as someone who’s “always late”, I want to remind you that you can literally change your narrative at any time. One tip that has helped me is adding the location of the event or meeting into my digital calendar so that the app will calculate my driving time and literally tell me when I need to leave. Add in some buffer time if this is something you struggle with.
6. I’m not afraid to make mistakes. I have a habit of doing things that could be a mistake.
I may have saved the best for last with this one! I welcome mistakes in a healthy way. I believe that the most successful people make more mistakes because they take a ton of action. But the only way to truly avoid mistakes is to do nothing. Which would be a mistake too right?
Let me just say, a mistake that costs you lots of time, money, or energy, is still not fun to make. I’m not trying to tell you it’s all roses and daisies when you make mistakes. I’ve been there. It stinks!
But in general, I am okay with trying new things and having them not go well. I have learned to be able to evaluate quickly and say “Ok, I tried that and it didn’t work for XYZ reasons”. Then I can use that data and grow from it. If you’ve learned something significant from a mistake, it’s not really a mistake anymore.
One of my favorite quotes is from Niels Bohr (a Danish physicist and Nobel Prize winner), where he says “An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field”.
I really believe that. I think that one of the reasons I can give business advice and help people out in their businesses is because I’ve tried so many things (bringing it all the way back to habit number one here!). I’ve tried some things that have worked and some that haven’t. For those that haven’t, I have put on my investigative hat (habit five!) and tried to figure out specifically why they didn’t work and grow from it. Not letting mistakes (or the fear of making mistakes) hold me back in business have been one of the most instrumental habits to my success in that way.
Which habits are you bringing into your business this year?
I hope this roundup of 6 habits that have transformed my business has made you realize what habits you may want to add into your daily (or weekly) routine, and also made you realize that you likely have more good habits than you realize.
I want to finish off with another HUGE thank you for all of you reading until the end. I can’t believe we are celebrating 200 episodes and I can’t wait to see what the next 200 episodes bring.
Get on the Waitlist for the Creative Educator Conference
Check out my Etsy Shop
Become a Booked Out Designer
February 7, 2023