I hope you all had a blessed holiday season! We had a very nice Christmas weekend, and my intention is to spend Christmas break working on my business, enjoying time with my family, and getting ready for 2018!
This year I was pretty quiet on the blog, so imagine my surprise that my subscriber list almost quadrupled! I spent more time this year working on my Young Living business, becoming more intentional with the time that I have to work on my businesses, and figuring out how to best blend Young Living and My Blissful Space. Through working with an accountability coach, being part of a faith focused entrepreneur group, and continuing my own education through books and videos, I have a clearer idea of what I want and what I need to do to get there. I am excited for another new year and the fresh start that comes with it!
I’ve been planning my goals and action steps in my new planner, which always makes me as giddy as a school girl! (By the way, after about FOUR planners this year, I think I’ve found “the one”. More on that..and my “word of the year”…in upcoming posts!)
Those of you that have been following a while know that as I juggle my family, our financial goals, my full time job and my side hustle, I continually search for ways to simplify and balance. When I was approached earlier this year about receiving a digital copy of a book about simplifying before it was even launched…and offered the opportunity to interview the author for the blog…I was excited and definitely on board. I haven’t interviewed anyone for the blog before and thought this would be really fun and something different for you, too! Today I’ll be sharing that interview and a sneak peak into her book, Soulful Simplicity. When I read it I was able to relate in the first few pages with Courtney Carver, the author, and I have a feeling you will, too!
How to Juggle a Side Hustle
One of the biggest issues on my mind to ask Courtney about was her advice for someone like me who has to work full time while growing a business they’re passionate about. Courtney understood and said that, “It’s so hard when you’re doing something different than you want to be doing. I had to take a two pronged approach.” First, she “dialed in and figured out finances.” She determined what was a realistic income goal that would enable her to leave her job. Her exit strategy was to a) be 100% debt free before she left her job, b) save two months of income so that she didn’t have to act out of desperation and take clients she didn’t want to work with, and c) acknowledging for a time that she’d be working harder than she wanted to eventually be doing.
Courtney also noted that timing is different for everyone, and the more you treat your side hustle like a business, the more apt you are to be disciplined with the time you spend, less apologetic for the time put into it, and more disciplined about schedule the time. (This is absolutely what I have found to be true as well!)
Courtney’s been blogging for over 10 years (bemorewithless.com). What she found was that when her efforts were everywhere, they were so diluted that nothing “stuck”. She asked herself, “What one thing can I do that will really move the needle?” She said that once that one thing is going well, she considers adding something else.
Social media can be a distraction for all of us, and as an entrepreneur can be a blessing and a curse. She suggested taking three months of letting social media go in order to focus on what’s important. While that advice makes me hyperventilate a bit, I can see how that would be really beneficial in so many ways!
Project 333: Capsule Wardrobe
Another thing I really wanted to ask Courtney about was Project 333, her capsule wardrobe project which was featured on The Today Show and O Magazine. Courtney came up with Project 333 because her closet was “so crazy and out of control and I had everything I could possibly think of but only wore a small percentage of the clothes anyway”. She had a lot of guilt over what she wasn’t wearing, money she’d spent, and she felt compelled to see how it would go with less clothing. As a result, Courtney set out to purge her closet down to 33 items or less for 3 months (she changes seasonally, moving about 50% of her summer collection to fall, for example). She also recognized that if she didn’t include accessories in her clothing limit, that she’d compensate for less clothes by buying more jewelry or accessories. Knowing that the next scarf didn’t complete her outfit, she made sure to include even those accessories as an item.
As far as the seasonal changes, Courtney goes back to last fall and decides if something will come back into this fall’s wardrobe). She does shop every three months but doesn’t shop in between, and only shops between the seasons if she needs something. She asks herself questions like, “How are my jackets from last year? Are they still in good condition?” Following the trends is not a priority because she feels that trends are just a marketing ploy. Courtney’s look has essentially stayed the same for the past few years but has evolved as she’s learned what best fits her body and lifestyle. “I never looked like the adorable models in the magazines. I wear what clothes I feel best in.” She added, “What you feel about your clothes on day 1 will change by day 90. Be open to changes.”
Most Impactful Changes
I asked Courtney what one thing she’d done since simplifying that she felt was the most impactful. “I know what is important for everyone is different,” she said. For her it was the wardrobe and not basing decisions on money. (I second that!) She noticed that all the small stuff counts. Instead of what focusing on one thing she could change, it was about small consistent daily actions. “Consistency is more important than intensity,” she said. I love that and have also found that to be true in my own life.
On downsizing and renting
I brought up Courtney’s decision to sell their home and downsize to a small rental. I told her that I loved the idea of cutting back and simplifying like that…no lawn care, no home maintenance costs or repair projects, etc. Not only that, but if we sold our house we could pay off our debts in one fell swoop and start over fresh. But with a lab and a cat, and being a DIY/decor blogger and someone who LIKES to decorate my home, as well as someone who enjoys crafting and “needs” her supplies, I just didn’t think it was a viable option for us.
Courtney said, “When we downsized from owning to renting we had two cats and a dog we found a place almost immediately.” She said that it’s “about the lifestyle and kind of place you want.” For them, renting made the most sense for the season they were in. She said to “make sure you’re basing decisions not just on end dollar amount” , and to “watch the stories we tell ourselves and see how it applies to our own lives.” Investments of time and energy, she said, are equally important as are financial investments, so despite most financial experts urging people to own rather than rent, for example, she feels it’s important to look at your own situation individually and base your decision on what you really want for your life.
As far as storing and having items like home decor and hobby supplies, like my DIY, craft and scrapbooking stash, she says, “Everyone’s different. We all have interests,” and what we feel is important varies. For Courtney, she’d rather travel than worry about home decor. At the time of our interview, she said she still had zero things on the wall which is unlike them, but that “the white walls feel good right now”. Assessing what’s good for you in the moment is something Courtney values. She said that there’s “no magic number of items you should own to have a happier, healthier life.”
As for Christmas? She used to decorate and every piece of decor that she had would be displayed. The first Christmas that she pared back and displayed only the items that truly had meaning, she realized that was more meaningful for her overall. She advises to watch that what you’re doing, you’re doing for yourself, and not for other’s perceptions of you.
While not necessarily easy advice to follow for some of us, I think that Courtney’s advice is wise and something that we should all consider in this day-and-age of filling our schedules and our homes with “stuff” in order to attempt to be happy and fulfilled. We could probably all benefit from picking up a copy of Soulful Simplicity and heading into 2018 with a more simplified, intentional mindset! You can grab your copy here!
I’d love to hear your story about something you became more intentional about or that you simplified that has made an impact for you! Please share in the comments!