The Green Eyed Monster: Intimidation, Jealousy + Your Biz

When I was a little girl I loved reading The Garden Gang books.

If you were a 70’s/80’s child like me you may remember them too, check them out>>

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The stories were simple tales about a group of garden vegetables who hung out, and they were published by Ladybird.

Even back then, at the age of 6 or 7, I was aware that the little girl who wrote them had achieved something I hadn’t yet.

The face of Jayne Fisher smiled at me on the back cover of these books, and that feeling of green eyed monster stirred somewhere in my psyche.

She had published a book. Not just one, but a WHOLE SERIES!

And what I had I done, eh? Psssht.

 

As it happens, I did start my first business at the age of 8, but still, I had been outdone.  Jayne Fisher and her smug smile had the upper hand.

This feeling of being out done, of not being good enough is something we as entrepreneurs come up against during our journey.

I will admit I have felt the pangs of jealousy too, despite my own successful business, and it’s part of being human and ambitious I think.

 

Doubt will come and niggle.

You might feel useless.

You might stay playing small instead of spreading your wings and risking failure.

 

The online communities in which I frequent has had a buzz around the INCREDIBLE recent launch success of the lovely Kimra Luna; so much so, in fact, that a blog post was doing the rounds to dispel the myths (and jealous glances) around her launch.

Intrigued to hear how others feel about watching our peers rise to the top, I reached out to some Divas and Dudes for their thoughts:

“Not afraid to admit that yes I get insanely jealous sometimes! It’s nothing to do with the person in question but more that I see them doing something I know I could EASILY teach myself so I start to think – why not me? I should be making good money like that etc etc. I usually end up paralysed by fear of being called a copycat if I offer my own take on the same type of product and that’s where I usually get caught. I think it’s just learning to accept that the higher you position yourself you’ll always get haters and as long as what I’m offering is authentically me then that’s all that matters.”
Anon

“Seeing others succeed gives me hope that I can get there too. Although, I have to admit, sometimes it can be challenging to avoid the green-eyed monster around those people that seem to have the perfect life, with opportunities with seemingly no effort. But those entrepreneurs that acknowledge their struggles and come out on top anyway? They are my inspiration. ”
Daire Paddy Openwaydesigns.com

“I definitely get the biz green monster, but I realise that any kind of jealously is because someone else’s achievements are pressing on one of my issues if that makes sense! Usually when I feel jealous it’s because I’m missing something in my biz, or because I’m not confident enough in what I’m doing. Something that has really helped me is focusing on my own version of success, often I find myself getting the green monster for things that I wouldn’t even want in reality!”
Anon

“I do, [get the green eyed monster],  but I see it as a positive thing as it helps me to focus on my goals by reaffirming what it is that I want to achieve and I celebrate those successes as real examples of what is possible. I do have to be measured about it though, as sometimes it can all lead to a bit of overwhelm in terms of a crisis in confidence and feelings of am I good enough.”
Nicola  www.bellenoirloves.com

“Nope. I get the OMGosh, that is so fantastics!!!! It fuels the fire to know that with the right perseverance, talent, desire, and tenacity to succeed, this online marketing world absolutely works!” Anon

“Of course I get green-eyed about others’ success from time to time. Anyone says that they don’t, at least for a second or two, is in denial at best, and possibly delusional. It’s a natural, human emotion, and there’s no need to suppress it. Suppressing and denying so-called “bad” emotions is rampant in the women business communities, and it’s keeping us all down. Just say, “Hello, Old Friend, where can we go from here?” and use it to inspire your own success.  I’m currently in a group where most people make several million dollars a year. In fact, I make the LEAST of anyone in the room. We all openly talk about both rooting for one another and occasionally getting a smidge jealous. We know it’s part of human nature. We laugh about it, cry about it, and hug one another through it together. And then we all go out to do and be the very best that we can be. ”
Michelle Amethyst Mahoney,  Spiritual Badass

” I am so happy when I see a fellow entrepreneur succeed, for I am confident about my own ability to make my biz work for me.” Anon

So, do you ever feel the burn of the green eyes? Do you have the Garden Gang gripes about being pipped to the post?

Here is my advice:

– Remember that everyone starts somewhere (even the biggies).

– If it’s really an issue for you, just get out of groups/emails for a bit and revel in your own awesome creations.

– Talk it out with your coach/mentor/mastermind group.

– Use the success of another to make you realise that’s possible, and re-focus your energy and attention towards YOUR biz.

 

Let’s lose the intimidation and jealousy and rock on with your own story.

Remember, YOU ARE ENOUGH.

 

I am enough. Losing the green eyed monster with @dexdiva

 

Stay Super,

josignature

 

Live the dream – and make sure it’s yours

livedream

The thing abut dreams is they change.

What we want in our teens, 20’s, 30’s and 40’s may well be different things.

The other thing about dreams is that, funnily enough, we can be prone to take on the dreams of other people.

Say whaaaaat?

Yip, without realising it, it is SO easy to get swept along by the tide of our friends, families, co-workers, colleagues – whoever – and we take on ideals as if they are our own.

This doesn’t lead to a happy bunny situation, normally (sorry, Buggs).

 

There is probably counselling involved, a lot of tears, a feeling of disconnect, probably anxiety, illnesses, and a lot of mixed emotions.

How do I know?

 

I have been there. And so, very probably, have you.

At the age of *cough* 38, I am living the dream.

I am living the dream of the life I want NOW.

But it took me a long time to realise it, accept it, and let go of the dreams of my 20’s.

I am sure I am not alone when I mention the word “checklist” – ring any bells? The list of things you would/should do by 25/30/40.

Mine included doing an MA (tick), buying a house (tick), having kids (tick), living in Barcelona (nope), travelling to Australia (nope), having my own business (tick).

 

When we create lists, we set up to fail.

C0ming from a list-a-holic this is a big AA moment; “Hey, my name is Jo and I have lists everywhere”. I am sure many of you  Type A’s will have a similar thing.

You should have seen the list of stuff I set up for myself as a new mum. As if being awake and dressed wasn’t enough, I was trying to learn Spanish whilst breast feeding in order to tick off that box. Madness. But then hindsight is always so damned focussed, isn’t it.

I am a HUGE fan of going after what you want, don’t get me wrong, but I love to go after a FEELING now rather than a checkbox (despite what my Bullet Journal brainstorms might say)

Danielle LaPorte Desire Map fans will recognise this as your core desire feelings, going after how you want to feel over what you want to have/be.

When you compare yourself to the dreams of others, or what others want for you, there is incongruence.

This could show up as illness, depression, anxiety and other physical and mental responses.

You could feel out of alignment, lost, useless, uncertain.

You could be lethargic, de-motivated, uninspired, lacking energy.

 

The hardest part is actually the easiest part, too.

Only YOU know what feels right, and what “living the dream” looks like for you, and specifically you.

For me, right now, living the dream looks like being here for my amazing daughters before and after school, being with them as much as possible to read, bake, create, chill out and be Mum.

It looks like working from home for myself.

It looks like going for walks and bike rides in the country.

10 years ago my dream was very different.  I was living that dream in East London, a vibrant life with friends and colleagues, partying, socialising, learning, growing, being.

My dream has changed and I have too.

I have swapped my inner hipster for a onesie. I am what some may think of as boring, (or what I prefer to think of as grounded.)

I am in this cycle of life, enjoying it, being present with it, and loving it.

As solopreneurs making sure you are congruent with YOUR dream is so important. After all, isn’t this why we chose this crazy life that makes and breaks you?

 

It can be all too easy to see others doing amazing things, but remember, the dream is theirs not yours (at least we hope it is).

Don’t feel the pressure of a dream that belongs to your partner, boss, parents, friends, sibling.

It’s ok to say no, and to only say yes when it’s a FUCK YEAH!

It’s ok to say no, and to only say yes when it’s a FUCK YEAH!

So, next time you go strive to live the dream check in with yourself – is the dream really yours?

I would love to hear below how you are living your dream, how you know when you are (or are not) congruent with your own dream, and what that looks like for you,

Tell me, awesome folks.

Stay super,

jo gifford

 

 

 

Life behind the social scenes + what is me

This week in the Divas and Dudes Facebook group* I called for an amnesty on presenting the filtered version of life.

The response was immense. People unleashed themselves from the confines of avatar perfection and told us how it really is. We shared stories of anguish, mental and physical trials, failures, shyness, illness and antisocial behaviours.It turns out we are all real, beneath the surface.

In the age we live in, we are social media curators.

whatisme

We are PR machines of our own online image, presenting the edited, pre-approved snapshots of life to the universe within The Internet (that curious, spurious thing that rules the world and where Google is God).

I am honoured to be a minor figurehead and spokeswoman for freelance/self employed women and mothers, and also to represent entrepreneurs with chronic illnesses. I am proud to be able to encourage people to work when they feel their career is lost due to illness, or when life throws a fucking massive curve ball.

It seems, though, that part of being an inspiration (which I am HONOURED beyond all belief to be), is that the struggle is somehow negated. That my daily battle to “be” is glossed over with the mantras, the affirmations, the encouragements, which I am also guilty of making.

Social media is a double edged sword. It is an amazing platform to connect and meet new people with, but it presents a skewed vision of reality.

For example, I may post an image of me having fun with the kids/having a day out/on a bike ride.  I never post the reality of me crying with pain on the sofa or spending two days asleep as a consequence of that activity.

Maybe I should? If I am on a platform to share and inspire, isn’t it better to be honest?

It makes it harder to explain to friend, family, associates WHY I sometimes find daily “normal” activities a challenge when, quite clearly, instagram had shown me not 24 hours earlier SMILING goddamn it, so I must be fine!

 what is me

So, here is the deal from me.

I have had endometriosis for 20 years, and chronic fatigue syndrome/M.E for at least 10.

Both illnesses are invisible, and both are little understood.

I eat cleanly, I meditate daily and exercise as often as my body will allow (a learning curve that has taken me a long time). I help myself as much as I am able to (which well meaning folks get frustrated by – “why are you STILL ILL?”.

Other common responses and questions include:

“What is ME? That yuppie flu tiredness thing?”

” I get tired too. Try drinking more water”.

“Exercise will help you”.

” You look well! Are you better now?”.

The list goes on, and I could fill a book with my responses and reactions (for those of your interested, Wellness trailblazer Grace Quantock has a brilliant reference ebook on how to deal with those scripts).

Sometimes I love to be mindful that massive, life changing changes are just lots of tiny choices, one after the other all in a row.

It’s making a better food choice this time, next time and then again after that.

It’s moving a bit today, tomorrow and the day after that.

It’s working on that project today, tomorrow and a piece every day after that.

It’s emailing that person today who will change things with you and taking 5 minutes to do the same thing tomorrow.

It’s resting when you need to and not worrying about everything that has to be done because it’s all happening, bit by bit, one step, one text, one podcast, one newsletter, one tweet, conversation, cup of tea at a time.

And that’s all.
Jo Gifford

There are a hell of a lot of positives from my situation, not least of which being my two amazing children. I have designed my career to fit my life, and I have reduced my working hours so that I can run both businesses in a limited timeframe (here is how I do it, by the way).

I love what I do. I am lucky to be able to do it.

But, is it always easy?

Fuck, no.

I am a free spirit confined beyond my wishes. I am too exhausted to see people as much as I would like which makes life very lonely right now. I miss out on a hell of a lot of stuff, a hell of a lot of experiences, adventures and people and believe me, I don’t always stay positive about that.

On days when everyone else is out there enjoying life I am probably on the sofa trying to get enough energy to carry on with my day. It’s soul crusher.

Why am I telling you all this? Why bring you all on a downer with me?

Because I want you guys to know I am real. I am hurting too.

Everyone has their shit to deal with behind the scenes and I want you to know that this is mine. In those moments when you feel like everyone has it all sorted, that everyone else manages to turn their negativity to positive except YOU, I want you to know that it’s ok. That feeling anger and emotion is normal, it’s part of being human, it’s real, honest and authentic.

Yes, I run two businesses and yes, I am a successful entrepreneur (by my own definition of success, by the way, not the shoulder padded, 6-figures-or-die definition) and yes, it’s lonely, difficult and incredibly hard adjusting to life as a reduced version of my capabilities.

I remain hopeful that one day I might experience longer periods of “normal” energy.  I hang on for the days, the hours where I have a taste of what it feels like to be energised in order to keep me going through the next sludgy days or weeks.

So, there you go. The reality as opposed to what you see in a filter.

If you are brave enough to tell your story as it truly is, let ’em rip in the comments below.

I am listening. Sometimes you just need to know that someone is….

 

Hang in there guys.

josignature

 

You may also like: The working day of a real entrepeneur // my interview with Amethyst Mahoney on managing work + illness + blogging tips

* come and play too by entering your email address below. We don’t bite, I promise :)

Facebook breakups: a vlog

Have you even taken a break from Facebook? Did it feel like the sky would fall in?

Here is what happened when I got friendly with Facebook breakups and tested the removal of The Blue God from my life just for a bit.

I would love to hear your comments and thoughts on breaking up with social, do you find it easy to do?

Stay super,

josignature

P.S: apologies for the audio, my iPhone isn’t playing ball. But heck, I shipped anyway :)

2014 part 1 – how my biz has grown with online services and how you can do it too

So, here we are at half past 2014, and it only seems like a moment ago when I sat down in January to map out my goals for this year.

2014 has seen the biggest growth of my online business, with so many leaps happening that it’s incredible to see how far things have come.

Now, I should clarify that whilst my business and online services have blown up this year so far with a great success, what I am calling “success” is not  retiring with my mansion, outdoor pool and diamond encrusted Porsches.

Not quite yet, although you should see my vision boards :)

I call success seeing a huge increase in my reach and audience, successfully selling out my programmes, and reaching the point where I am not exchanging time for money.

So, that said, I want to share what changed for me this year so that others of you doing this online services thing might benefit too.

 

Planning

Firstly, I have never, ever planned things before.

I know, right?

8 years of self employment and I was always juggling varied business and income streams from design to social and teaching. But, this year I had my eyes firmly on the Dex Diva online biz prize, and I sat down with the lovely Leonie’s Amazing Biz and Life Planner and did it.

I now check in every week with my goals and it’s just incredible how many of them I have already hit.

 

Invest in myself + my biz

This has been so, so key in the success so far this year.

I joined a couple of business programmes in areas I recognised that I needed some help in (and wrote about that here).

Each time I have invested the associated growth and sales recouped has always made the investment pay back, usually really quickly, too.

Not only that but each time I join a new mastermind or bootcamp course, I have a whole new raft of like minded solopreneurs to jam with, many of whom have become my audience and new clients.

 

freeworkshops

 

Masterminds, groups + my tribe

Being active in various masterminds and Facebook groups has meant I have connected with SO many new and fabulous people. These connections have turned into JV’s, clients, friends, subscribers, service providers, guest posters and all sorts.

I find that, for me, Facebook groups work really well (for some reason Linked In just doesn’t gel for me), and I am usually on Facebook so it’s easy to keep in touch.

I also started my own group  for list subscribers, Dexterous Divas and Dudes (make sure you are on my mailing list for access!).

This group has grown into an incredible space where like minded biz owners share their highs and lows, ask questions and support each other in a really positive, encouraging space.

We also host Monday workshops which are free for everyone to attend right there in the Facebook group. This allows everyone to showcase their skills, adds value to the group and is a great mutually beneficial platform for everyone.

#divapod podcast

Podcast + using audio

Back in January I did two episodes of a podcast. I lost momentum, and got myself back on track just last month when the newly re-vamped show started airing, Work Smarter, Dream Bigger, Live Brighter.

The show has, incredibly, had over 1500 hits in the last few weeks, and is a great tool to reach new audiences and to add value in another medium.

I interview other entrepreneurs as well as some solo shows and audio blogs, and I am so excited to see where the podcast goes over the next few months.

You can find the show here on the site, on iTunes and Stitcher Radio.

I have also been experimenting with using audio on my blog posts in addition to text and imagery. I have been recording posts on SoundCloud with my Blue Snowball microphone, and the feedback from people has been really positive.

For those folks who don’t have time to read, listening to a post can be a great way to connect. It also gives me a new presence on a different platform to extend my reach.

 

Interview + press features

As well as hosting my own show, I have been asked to appear on several podcasts myself too, which has been a lot of fun. I am a member of the She Podcasts Facebook group and network with other female podcasters to swap interview spots and tips.

I would definitely advise you all to have a browse of podcasts that feature other entrepreneurs and reach out to them for an interview, it can do wonders for your reach and audience growing (feel free to drop me a line too, either via the voicemail feature of my site, or by the contact form).

I also keep my eye on the #journorequest hashtag on Twitter, and as a result have appeared in a few press articles this year in major magazines.

 

Guest posts

Guest posting has remained a large part of my content outreach strategy this year, and I regularly post on both large authority sites and other business blogs as a guest.
This has helped me to reach new people and to also help my SEO and authority for this site and Google Plus.

I currently write for Lifehack, have appeared on Lifehacker, the Selz blog, Prowess 2.0, the Talented Ladies Club , Regus and others.

As I teach on my Blogging for Business Bootcamp, guest posting can be such a powerful way to show your authority in your niche, and to connect with new audiences.

 

Getting help

I took on an intern earlier on in the year, who is absolutely lovely. I offered to mentor her one to one and give her access to my training and classes in return for some help with updating social media and some admin/research. This has been a great way to leverage more hours whilst adding value to someone else.

I also use Fancy Hands a lot for tasks such as bookings, research, admin tasks and compiling resources.. The response time is super quick and they are a really affordable way to get extra help (they also link to Asana too, very clever!).

 

New website

I realised I had taken my website as far as I was able to on my own, and invested in a new site by the absolutely awesome Marta from Polish Lab. The new site reflects me and my message in a MUCH more cohesive way, and it also acts as a client filter straight from the off; like marmite, you will either love me or hate me.

Making an investment like this is not for the faint hearted, and I would make sure you are clear on your aims, your message and get your copy sorted before you take the plunge. However, when selling online services this is my shopfront, and I am SO pleased with the new clothes it has now. Thanks Marta!

 

Saying no + keeping focussed

Saying no to work I knew wasn’t right as I focussed on online services has been hard, particularly when extra income would be welcome. But, I wanted to stay focussed on the goal of getting my Blogging for Business Bootcamp and other online services up and running, and needed to recognise that turning down work that would hinder that goal would be worth it in the long term.

I am happier when working on a one to many model, and have designed the business to work in that way. I concentrate on content marketing through guest posts, this blog and podcasts whilst mentoring in the bootcamp and devising new programmes.

 

Creating automated income + online programmes

This has always been my primary goal for my business, and this first half of the year has seen major progress in automated income from various sources.

Whilst I still offer limited one to one coaching and blogging services, the main focus of my work is on programmes like the Blog Biz Bootcamp and the tools and other programmes I am currently devising.

So, my income from automation comes from the Bootcamp, my Skillshare class and earnings from affiliate links.

I empower all members of the Bootcamp to become an affiliate too, a strategy which helps spread the word, and gives us both opportunities for abundance. Boom.

BLOG N FIND

 

Leveraging the visual

Instagram and Pinterest are big traffic drivers for me, proof that we still love to digest images over words.

I take quotes from my posts and format them in a branded visual, which acts as a snippet preview of my content. I then add those to Pinterest and Instagram to engage with a diverse audience and re-air my content in a new way.

My Instagram reach has increased rapidly in 2014 so far, and  I also link up my insta account with IFTTT to tweet my images as native Twitter pics for more reach and sharing.

 

Mindset

A massive part of my growth this year too has been about mindset.

I am famed in Casa Diva for my midweek meltdowns of business overwhelm, and have put several practices into place to prevent the tears and dark chocolate consumption (ok, you got me, I still have the dark choc!).

I meditate twice daily to stay earthed and mindful (hear more about this in my interview with Gillian Rowinski in Episode #7 of the podcast). I also use EFT, a strong tool to help with money blocks, limiting beliefs, and subconscious programmes that hold me back. EFT seems to crop up a lot in my podcast interviews, and is a tool the fabulous Denise Duffield Thomas teaches in her Get Rich Lucky Bitch Bootcamp.

Working on mindset for both life and business is all part of this wonderful journey, and like all of us I have a long way to go. In fact, there is no destination, and I seek to tweak and make improvements to my personal life and business every day.

I have come to realise that what I have to offer is unique, not because of the content, necessarily, but because of who I am and how I deliver.

We all have a unique story to tell, and a biz that is unique to us. 

No-one has my unique set of skills, experience, set backs and learning curves. No-one else has my exact method of teaching or delivery, or content creation. So, if you are thinking “oh that’s fine for you but no-one will listen to ME”, take a look at what makes you unique, what your message is, and be confident to know that YOU ARE ENOUGH.

 

I really hope this mid-2014 round up of what has worked for me helps you in some way.

Have you implemented any of these? What has worked for you this year so far? How are you tackling the next 6 months? Let me know in the comments.

Love and lovely light evenings,

josignature

 

 

 

 

P.S for a LIMITED TIME I have a midsummer flash sale going down for the July intake of Blogging for Business Bootcamp. Join me with 50% off the usual cost if you sign up before 22nd June. Go!

Soozi Bags interviews me for the Maternity Leavers podcast

A few weeks ago, the lovely Soozi Bags interviewed me for her podcast Maternity Leavers.

In this episode, I talk about my initial career, how I went self employed and how my career changed after the minis.

If you want to hear my story of going self employed and how I started blogging, get comfy and tune in.

I never realised how much I talk! Thanks so much to Soozi for having me on her show.

Read all about it and tune in here.

josignature

Jo Gifford

My work is about helping people work in smarter, creative ways + getting their message out to the world via killer content—blogs, copy, images + social. I am a designer, writer, blogger, mentor, author, creativity addict + prolific geek. You could call it a portfolio career of multi-potential multi-passions. I call it being me.
Work with me, Shop with me, and Chat with me!

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