May Deal – Pay What You Think Is Fair

A couple of weeks ago maybe, as I was sitting in my office staring out the window, I was overcome with how much my life has changed and how overwhelmingly grateful I am for so much.

A couple of years ago life was upended. All at once. As is life’s prerogative. Initially, this was not o.k.

Not. O.k. At. All.

I was fond of saying “It’s fine if my work life is chaos as long as my home life isn’t.” And vice versa. This was not that. This was all chaos all the time.

A couple of months ago, the last of that chaos worked it’s way out of the picture.

And that’s how I came to be looking out my office window a couple of weeks ago. That office, that window, that view, are the end result of all that chaos. And the view feels good.

HeyAmyLou came to be during all that chaos. And now is the time to celebrate.

So, HeyAmyLou is making May Pay What You Think Is Fair Pricing Month for our newsletter production and design services, mailing list development and maintenance, or website development services.

You tell us what you think is fair pricing. HeyAmyLou will  give you the same great service, product and attention you always get.

HeyAmyLou is a company built around ethics, respect, family, and fun. We take pride in the ability to meet our client’s needs. Pay What You Think Is Fair Month is our virtual cake and candles celebration. A big WHOO-HOO! We MADE it!

We want you and your business to make it, too.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

*image created with Canva.

My Word(s) For 2017

I like words. Mostly, I like them in the form of books, articles, and lyrics. Then, I read an article (see!) about choosing a word. One word. To guide the whole year, I was intrigued. And appalled. ONE word? I like words, plural. Lots and lots of words. Just one?

Turns out, lots of people do this choosing of one word thing. Chris Brogan writes a lengthy blog post about his (he chooses three. Still, though.) Elise Blaha sent out an email mentioning hers, the Huffington Post even wrote and article on it.  And once I got going, I found all kinds of websites (here, and here  for starters) devoted to the process of picking one word. Oh, and the Oxford Living Dictionaries even got in on it, although their process is arguably a bit different.

It sounds cheezy, I know. And admittedly, I didn’t do any of the prep or soul-searching recommended. I sat down one morning in late 2015, took a look around and decided that in 2016 I wanted EASE. That’s it. EASE.

So, starting January 1, 2016, I wrote the word at the top of each weekly page in my calendar, and any time I found myself barreling toward a situation that was lining up to be anything other than easy, I repeated the word over and over to myself. And I took time each week to write down a couple of ways in which my week had included EASE. 90 days in, I started noticing a shift. EASE was more prevalent in my daily life. And, in those instances where EASE was elusive, the realization that it wasn’t necessarily me who was making the interaction hard was quite useful.  As was the reminder that in situations lacking EASE I didn’t automatically have to contribute to making things more difficult.

So, I’m doing it again this year. And again, it was pretty spontaneous. I auditioned quite a few words throughout the year and when it came time to choose, I chose none of them. Instead, I went with a word that I think will serve me just as well as EASE did last year.

2017’s word is REJECT.

As in:

  • I reject false conclusions
  • I reject being drawn into other’s drama
  • I reject complacency

You get the idea.

I think, though, that REJECT needs balance. So I’m also choosing WHOLE.

WHOLE reminds me that in REJECTing there is room for replacing, rebuilding, and reconnecting.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

cross-posted to IrishYogaChick

The Things That Made My Year Great — 2016 edition

 

Shamelessly stolen from Austin Kleon, who can list out 100 things.

______________

people who share

black eyed peas, collard greens and corn bread on new year’s day

yearly book challenges

weekly playlists

audiobooks

washi tape

The Eagles

lists in the back of books (Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend)

honey vanilla chamomile tea

A Year Of Living Your Yoga

my public library

soy sauce

painted garage windows

the days I accomplish everything on my to-do list

moving big projects forward

spring planting

wax seals on handwritten letters

Mental Health First Aid

voting

saying goodbye to the probate court

knitting

tax refunds

Michael Franti concerts

farmer’s markets

new business cards

taking risks

easy fixes

slow Sunday mornings

kitchen gardens

neighbors

creating systems

teaching yoga

24in48 book challenges

book stacks on Instagram

alterations

Pokemon GO

Finding lost dogs

compassionate pest control experts

clean sheets

cool August summer mornings

the sound of a fan

toad / frog relocation

planners

The Youtube 8-hour fireplace

“A Year In The Life” (Gilmore Girls Revival)

selling a house and not spending another minute on Angie’s list for at least 6 months

cutting the cord in favor of Roku. Best decision ever.

ditching the smart phone for an old-fashioned flip phone. Another good decision.

Judy and Loretta at Mills Record Company

Good Reading
The Story of a F##k Fund – Billfold

Artists Aren’t Afraid Of Doing Things Badly – Jonathan Fields

Why I Gave Up a $95,000 Job to Move to an Island and Scoop Ice Cream – and the follow up  — Noelle Hancock

This Is What Happened When We Posted Monica Lewinsky’s TED Talk – Nadia Goodman

I came Undone: One Woman’s Horrifyingly Real Experience With Burnout — Glynnis Macnichol

Good Books

Tribe: On Homecoming And Belonging – Sebastian Junger

You’re Never Weird on The Internet [Almost]- Felicia Day

Furiously Happy: A FunnY Book About Horrible Things -Jenny Lawson

Wishful Drinking – Carrie Fisher

Hope In The Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities — Rebecca Solnit

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers – Robert Sapolsky

The Nightingale  — Kristin Hannah

One Second After – William Forstchen

The Accidental Alchemist, Pirate Vishnu and Artifact— Gigi Pandian

All The Light We Cannot See — Anthony Doerr

Good Movies and TV  

Hundred Foot Journey

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Jimmy’s Hall

The Lunchbox

Rebellion – TV Mini Series

Sports Night (seasons 1 & 2)

The Martian

Making lists– My favorite blog posts authored by me

A Different Kind Of Post For A Different Kind Of Election

How, And More Importantly, When To Delegate pt 1 and 2

Busy

Voting

And any of the weekly wrap ups.

Other People’s Lists – my favorite blog posts authored by others

Let It Be Sunday – Joy The Baker

I Love Lists – Shutterbean

Inspiring Simplicity – The Minimalists

*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase something after clicking one of the links in this post. I only link things I have used and can truthfully recommend. Purchasing from these links helps me keep business costs low for my clients and that’s what HeyAmyLou is all about.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

cross-posted to IrishYogaChick

A Different Kind Of Post For A Different Kind Of Election

I’m not here to talk politics beyond saying that I hope you’ll vote.

I’m here to talk about stress. A recent article in the Washington Post used the term “election stress disorder”. Whatever you call it, stress is real, and it takes a toll on us physically, emotionally and mentally.

I’m encouraging you to actively plan for and support your mental health over the next 24-48 hours, and offer suggestions that might get you to thinking about ways to take care of you.

Take additional stress out of your day. If you don’t live in a state with early voting chances are you’ll already be standing in one line tomorrow. Consider avoiding additional ones.

  • Schedule 15 minutes today to fill up your gas tank.
  • Set aside some time before tomorrow to pick up your groceries and run any other errands.

Work to avoid the 24 hour “breaking news” cycle and constant Facebook commentary.

  • Temporarily mute the device notifications from news and social media apps. You decide how your news is delivered, not the manufacturers of your phone, tablet or other devices.
  • Turn off the tv. The New York Times is lowering their paywall from November 7-9. Maybe choose to actively read the election results according to your schedule instead of passively having them shouted at you throughout the day. Your local tv stations will post election results, too.

Remember your health.

  • Tara Stiles is offering 50% off all of her downloadable yoga videos. With the discount, her 60-minute videos are $7.50 and her 30-minute videos are $5.00. Use the code VOTE2016 and make sure your discount is showing before checking out. Or, head to your local yoga studio for a drop-in.
  • Dan Harris has created a page with links to several great election stress meditations. My personal favorite is “Powers of 10” led by Jeff Warren. It’s approx. 10 minutes long. If you aren’t familiar with Dan, he wrote the book 10% Happier and developed the app “10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics”.
  • If meditation isn’t your thing, consider a couple of 15-minute walks throughout the day, without the headphones or other distractions.

You’ve voted and decided the constant stream of “expert commentary” is more than you want to invite into your day. Go a different route and skip the drama.

  • Consider learning something new. MIT offers a wide-ranging catalog of free, self-paced coursework including photography, art history, and Italian, in addition to their standard engineering and mathematical coursework.  Coursera, and Skillshare also have a wide variety of offerings, although there may be costs associated. If you’re looking for something more hands on, Creativebug offers classes on knitting, sewing, art and design. There’s a free 7-day trial, too.
  • Podcasts; I dig ’em. Consider tuning in to Thrilling Adventure Hour, NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, and The Lapse. Or google “podcasts and [insert your favorite topic here]”.  Warning, there is probably swearing in each of the podcasts I just recommended.
  • The library. My favorite place in all the land. Download audiobooks, ebooks, and music to pack your devices with distractions. Or, go old-school and check out a bunch of movies on DVD. Order a pizza and invite some friends and family over. Instant mental health boost.
  • Take the same pizza and friends/family combo and throw in some board games. Also a terrific way disengage from “election stress”.

Full disclosure: As I’m typing this I realize MSNBC is on in the background.
I assure you I have my own work to do to support my mental health.

We are all in this together.

Want to know more?

Curated Emails
Did you find this email helpful? I’m considering doing more of them for those that are interested. If you are, share your email here.
Mindfulness
If you’re interested in my upcoming mindfulness trainings, share your email here.
Life Mapping
If you’re interested in my upcoming life mapping trainings, share your email here.
Routines and Rituals
I’m expanding my trainings to include the science of routines and rituals, how they positively impact our lives, and why they can be so difficult to maintain. If you’re interested, share your email here.
Emergency Preparedness
I’m expanding my emergency preparedness trainings and including preparedness for small business owners. If you’re interested in my upcoming emergency prep trainings, share your email here.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

cross-posted to IrishYogaChick

How, And More Importantly, When To Delegate (pt. 2)

Click here for a free download.

This is the second of a two part discussion on delegating. And It’s backwards from the title. To read pt 1 “The When”, click here.

It’s time to discuss the “How”. Delegating can be (who am I kidding? For small business owners like us, delegating IS) scary. Deciding what to hand over to someone else is one thing. Deciding who to hand it over to is another thing entirely.

I recently had an unsolicited email from someone looking to “partner with” me to “enhance” my business. I’m using quotation marks here because I consider those words and phrases to be red flags. My choice of a “partner” in my business is wholly my decision and certainly won’t be made based on an unsolicited email. And anyone who wants to “enhance” my business with no concrete follow up on how (see what I did there?) they plan to do that hasn’t researched my business. At all.

Which this person hadn’t. After a little back and forth it turns out this person wasn’t aware of my website, my blog (I have two), my fairly robust Twitter and Instagram presence (although lately both have been taken over by Pokemon Go) or my weekly client newsletter (all things this person wanted to charge me heftily to implement). And, as an added extra bonus, after I politely stated  I wasn’t in the market for any new employees at this time the next (very lengthy) email I got was an aggressive, argumentative still-unsolicited commentary on what I was doing “wrong”.

I’m super thick-skinned, so it mostly made me laugh. Until a couple of days later when I started thinking about how other small business owners would handle an aggressive, ego-centered, cookie cutter approach to out-sourcing.

Here are my tips:

  1. Skip the elance-type online freelance market. There’s rarely any actual relationship-building. Why would you trust any part of your company to someone who will always be a virtual (no pun intended) stranger. Instead, opt for referrals. Talk to your friends, family, the people you see at yoga class or your cycling peloton. Chances are they know someone who does the tasks you want to delegate.
  2. Meet with them. In-person. A real sit-down-and-let’s-talk meeting. Not at a networking function or while walking to your car after a super-sweaty workout at your shared gym. A scheduled meeting devoted to discussing your needs and their skills.
  3. Do your homework. Know what you want them to do for you.
  4. Pay attention to how they respond to #3 above. Do they immediately launch into a pitch offering you a “suite” of services? Walk. No, run, from that. This is someone who didn’t hear much of what you just said in favor of trying to sell you a typically high-dollar low return package of services that you pay for whether you use or not.

    There is no cookie-cutter approach to your business. I cannot stress this enough. 

  5. (this is actually 4b) The correct answer to #3 above usually goes something like this: “I’ve researched your company and I’ve noticed x, y and z. Here are some of my ideas”. Followed by a fairly in-depth analysis of their findings that incorporates what they just learned about you when you told them what you want them to do for you. This is telling in two ways: First, they did their homework. They’re interested in getting to know you and your business. That’s a good sign. Second, they’re good listeners who are willing to mold their expertise to fit your needs.
  6. Always, always, always skip the freelancer with the aggressive, high pressure pitch. It’s a good sign that how they act during your first meeting is how they will always act. Do you want to invite (and pay for) that kind of pressure into your business?
  7. If, after all this you still can’t find the right fit for your business, contact me. Seriously. If we don’t work together I’ll make sure you have resources to keep you moving toward finding the person you do want to hire.

And, one other note. It’s not ok to ask a freelancer to do free or spec. work as a “try out”. It’s disrespectful. If you like them and want to work with them on a temporary basis to see if they’re going to be a good fit in the long run, say so. Then give them a short term paid project.

And now, as promised, a free download of the first draft of my newest time management tool.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

 

How, And More Importantly, When To Delegate (pt. 1)

Sneak peek of my newest time management tool.
Read part 2 for a link to download it.

This is the first of a two part discussion on delegating. And it’s backwards from the title. Today the “When”. Next post will be the “How”.

So many small business owners I meet with are overwhelmed. Most are trying to Do. It. All. and they are floundering. Too much time spent on administrative time sucks and not enough time actually interacting with clients, which ultimately results in not enough cash coming in to sustain their small business.

It’s a true statement that the value of your time is exactly the same no matter what you are doing.

For instance, you’re a photographer who gets paid $175 per hour to shoot photographs. The value of your time is $175, whether you are shooting photographs or you are posting a status update on Facebook. Whether you are editing a shoot or writing a blog post. Whether you are advising a client who is setting up for a shoot or managing your newsletter mailing list.

Here’s the question: Did you start your photography business to take photographs, or did you start your business to post Facebook status updates, write blog posts and manage newsletter mailing lists?

My guess is you started your business to do what you love to do and the social media, marketing and other administrative tasks are necessary evils. Here’s the kicker: as a small business owner who thinks it’s up to you to do it all, you are getting paid the exact same hourly rate no matter what you are doing.

Why not actually earn money doing what you love to do and delegate the necessary evils to someone who gets paid to do what they love to do. Quite possibly it’s a true statement that you have the skills to update Facebook, write blog posts and manage mailing lists.

It’s also a true statement that just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

While you are doing those things, who is out taking photos, editing shoots, and advising your clients? Not you.

And then there’s this:  Who is paying you to do what you love to do? Your client. Who is paying you to post Facebook status updates, write blog posts and manage newsletter mailing lists.?

YOU are.

You are paying yourself the exact same $175 in lost revenue that your client could be paying you in actual cash. Is it cost effective not to delegate?

Here’s a pretty nifty exercise. It’s the exact same blog post with a “fill in the blanks” option. Click this link and fill in the blanks with what it is you do and the hourly rate you get paid to do it and then re-read and see what happens.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

Busy

From a recent blog post by Kate Northrup

Are you addicted to being “crazy busy” and praying for more days that feel out of control?

Or are you curating what makes it onto your calendar and praying for more days that feel spacious?

As I’ve mentioned before, I believe when someone says they are “so busy” or “too busy” it’s usually code for “[fill in the blank] is not a priority for me right now and I just don’t know how to say that.” And I’ve noticed for some people, their identity seems to be tied to being able to repeatedly recite how busy they are — in the not too distant past I was probably one of those people. I try to be empathetic. Saying “no” is hard. At least it can be for me.

So when I read “curating what makes it onto your calendar” I immediately wanted to dive more deeply into what that might mean.

Curating is such a buzzword these days. It’s almost cliché. Except that in this instance I think it’s the exact right word to use.

(I’m going to do that overused, slightly irritating thing here were I provide the definition of curate as a way to transition into my next thought.)

Curate (v): To take charge of (a museum) or organize (a photography exhibit). dictionary.com

Our life is ours to take charge of, or curate. Why is it so many of us, myself included sometimes, allow others to suggest, manipulate and/or dictate how we spend our time? And why is it we feel guilty about that, as though we need to apologize for the fact we can’t fit it all in when, if we’re being honest, some of what’s currently on our calendar isn’t what we really want to do anyway?

Curate (read: take charge of) your life. When we really are too busy doing things we want to do, let’s stop apologizing for not being able to fit in one more thing. Let’s stop using “I’m too busy” as an excuse to avoid owning up to how it is we really want to spend our time. Let’s make space for that by crowding out all the stuff that really isn’t a priority.

If I were a betting woman I’d put money on the idea that just by being more mindful of curating our life we’d stop having to say “I’m too busy”  to the people and experiences that  truly are a priority.

Link to Kate Northrup’s full blog post here.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

Death and David Bowie

I spent a lot of time with death. My mother’s Alzheimer’s meant for upwards of  a decade I watched her die slowly, right in front of me.

And I still spend time with it. Thinking about dying with dignity and grace.

As David Bowie did.

Thinking about making the minutes of this life matter.

As David Bowie did.

Acknowledging that death is inevitable and getting on with it anyway.

As David Bowie did.

I ran across this the other day and I like it enough to share. Elizabeth Gilbert writing of David Bowie’s death.

“How do you do that? How do you BE that? To work with your death so imaginatively, in order to perfectly time out the last beats of your life?”

Stunning in its truth. Living out loud, messy, sloppy, lyrical, beautiful in the way only we can choose. Death on our own terms, perfectly timing out the last beats of our lives.

I’m in.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

What Music Means

Thinking about this a lot, and what music means. To all of us.

This week’s playlist

spotify:user:heyamylou:playlist:1oCm7GpD7IpLvaPOpzw4B2

Imagine – John Lennon
Birdhouse In Your Soul – They Might Be Giants
You Are My Sunshine – Johnny Cash
What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
I Will Wait – Mumford & Sons
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – The Proclaimers
(Sittin’ On) The Dock of The Bay – Otis Redding
Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars
Kiss The Devil – Eagles Of Death Metal

© original content copyright HeyAmyLou 2015 – All rights reserved

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Independence Day Playlist 2015

As always, if you hear something you like consider paying the artist buy buying the track, or better yet, the album. Independent record stores love to see you. Stay safe this weekend and take a moment to remember why we can celebrate this day the way we do.

 

 

Born in The USA – Bruce Springsteen
Small Town – John Mellencamp
American Woman – Lenny Kravitz
All Summer Long – Kid Rock
American Girl – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival
American Girls – Counting Crows, Sheryl Crow
Living in America – James Brown
America – Waylon Jennings
Southern Style – Darius Rucker
Rockin’ in the Free World – Neil Young
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) – Bruce Springsteen
Our Country – John Mellencamp
4th of July – Shooter Jennings / George Jones
Back in the USA – Chuck Berry
This Land is Your Land – Pete Seeger
America The Beautiful – Keb’ Mo-
Ragged Old Flag – Johnny Cash

 

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2015 – All rights reserved
[crossposted to Irish Yoga Chick]