Get a Bigger Bowl: a Biz Parable.

Keep It Simple

This contributor post was written by Tiffany Han.

The other day, I was cutting apples (I eat a lot of apples these days, because: twins) and I decided that my snack time warranted two apples instead of one. Double apples. Good.

Except that I have a bowl I like to eat my apple slices from. It’s a pretty hand-painted turquoise bowl that my good friend brought me back from France. And it’s the perfect size for slices from a single apple.

{Wondering what this has to do with your business? I promise, I’ll get there.}

At first, I spent a couple of minutes trying to tetris the slices into my apple bowl. I even ate a couple of slices quickly, hoping to decrease the load and therefore be able to fit everything. And then it hit me: Tiffany, just get a bigger bowl.

Oh. Right. I was spending all of my energy *trying so hard* to make this solution work that I completely neglected the easiest way to solve the problem: a bigger bowl.

And then I started to think about my business and how I often try to make things fit when they obviously don’t or keep trying the same thing when a very simple solution is available.

Your challenge for today: Take a look at something that’s been frustrating you with your creative business – is there a straightforward fix for a problem that you’ve been overcomplicating? 

Are you overthinking? Sometimes, taking a step back from the frustration can help you see the problem in a new light.

Also: let’s help each other out! If you’re super stumped on something that’s holding you back, leave a short description of your problem in the comments and crowd-source some potential solutions. Together, we can find you a bigger bowl.

image credit: Keep it Simple by Hantverk Collective 

Tiffany Han, CPCC is a coach for highly-creative people who want to wake up happy. If you’re feeling the growing pains of running your creative business and are ready to STOP spinning your wheels and actually get stuff done, her Glitterbomb Your Biz group coaching program is now open for registration and is sure to light your fire.

13 comments | Click here to reply

My biggest problem can be procrastination. I get sucked into social media to promote my shop, keep my followers up to date, writing a blog post or newsletter. All the things I’m supposed to do for my creative business, right? And then of course following other people I admire (read envy). Seems like my creative time is shrinking.

As I write this, I realize that I do my creating in my office – smack dab in front of my computer. So it’s always there, taunting me. Maybe I should have a separate table or space just for creating! Or maybe just turn off the dang thing during certain hours. It’s always on.

Another issue is time. I’m a stay-at-home. I can also fully focus at night or when my daughter is at school (two mornings a week.)

I’d love any advice/help I can get!

Thanks so much!

Cathy

Cathy! I have so many thoughts!

1. Stop following people you admire. Immediately. Seriously – keeping tabs on your competition is not doing you any favors.

2. Systematize as much as possible with your “daily” routines. Make a daily task list and take care of it in 15 minutes. Starting with a plan can be huge!

3. YES! Move away from the computer for your creating! There’s your bigger bowl!

and 4. For dealing with social media: setting up a program like antisocial (http://anti-social.cc/) can really help. It’s what I use when I need to focus for real. Your time is so limited, so you want to spend it on real stuff, not facebook! Another thing that helps with fb is to only let yourself go on at the end of the day. Setting a timer can be super useful too!

5. Also, for facebook: take it off your phone! And change your password to something like getbacktoworkcathy! and log out after every use. I promise you’ll get tired of typing that in every time!

I hope this helps!!

Tiffany

Cathy, I’m totally feeling your pain. I’m guilty of procrastination, too!
My biggest problem is definitely this paralyzing fear of putting myself (and my business) out there. I make excuses for myself constantly (my website isn’t perfect, I’m not happy with my business fees page, I want some more work under my belt before I really advertise, etc etc etc). It’s so stupid. I need someone to just kick me in the butt, I think. One good swift kick outta do it!
(ps- loved this article Tiffany!!)

Jayme {Jayme Designs}

Here here on “just getting started”. It’s that fear of failure and how people are going to respond to your product that seems to step on your shoelaces and trip you up.
I think the thing is to just DO IT. Remember when you were little and you probably wrote a sappy note to some guy in your class? You flailed your arms around for a bit, took a few (ok several) deep breaths and chucked it into his cubby box? It’s just the same as an adult. Psych yourself up and chuck your stuff out there for the world to see! You may not always get the response you are looking for right away, but it’s better than twiddling your thumbs till your 95.

Kaylin

Thanks for the pep talk, Kaylin! Maybe I will pass the world a note: “Do you like me? Check yes or no.” At least a few people out there are bound to check yes. =)

Jayme {Jayme Designs}

Tiffany, I cannot thank you enough! This specific post was the first I have read of yours and it hit home right away. I know the solution and usually do–it’s how much time or energy do I really spend on the round about over the same little thing grrr! Firstly, nice to know I am not alone. Second, isn’t coincidence amazing: I know what I have to do…Last but not least: even better still is your Reply Message to Cathy with the incredible Tips you’ve shared. I will place them above my procrastination workspace for tomorrows reminders 😀
Many Thanks,
Jeanine

Jeanine

Jayme – you gotta just go for it. Seriously. I know it’s scary and hard and all that stuff. We could each right a book about the fears. A fear is a consequence of living – it goes back to caveman days. But unfortunately, that fear is doing nothing good for you right now.

All it takes is a single deep breath of courage. That’s all you need to start. It will get easier, I promise. Ready…set…go!

(Also, know this: your website will never be perfect. Your biz will never be perfect. Nothing in this world will ever be perfect. And that’s okay. It’s so okay. It’s all an evolution. We often think that putting things out there is the end, that there’s a finality about it – but really, it’s just the beginning. And you can’t start until you get there. So start. Just start.)

Tiffany

Kaylin – YES. Exactly. Also, make sure you’re passing the note to the right boy. That makes all the difference in the world! (Here’s another P&S post I wrote about choosing your audience: http://www.papernstitchblog.com/2012/03/28/choosing-your-audience/)

Tiffany

Jeanine – oh thank you! And you’re so welcome!

We do spend so much energy spinning our wheels, a tip on that: set a priority (just 1!) each morning and do that first thing. Before you get on email. Before you check facebook. Before doing anything else. Accomplish that 1 thing. Bonus points if you make it the thing you would usually put off the most.

Try that for a week and see if things feel different. And you’ve got this. Seriously.

Tiffany

Thanks so much for the tips Tiffany!
This post was great and I am enjoying all the other comments/stories/words of encouragement.

Cathy Pascual

thanks for this article and i am totally with jayme!!! so the answers to that are also helpful to me!

i often see things and think: you are able to do that, too!

but maybe i am afraid to disappointing myself too much?! and yeah i overthink things too much. and since a few days i am starting to break the circle i am in. i try to make things happen instead of just thinking about it. but even right now in the beginning it is so hard! i haven’t posted real posts for too long and started a few days ago to get back to the point i was years ago.

so any tipps are welcome to improve my website, blog .. and shop! would love to hear your feedback!

happy wednesday girls,

jessie

http://www.freaktivi.de
http://www.freaktvblog.de

jessie

I can totally relate to this, I often find myself doing this and just being incredibly frustrated at the end of the day and you’re right we need to step back and look at the big picture. Thanks so much for sharing!!

And Tiffany I love your tips!! I’m terrible at procrastination, I hate those days where I look back, wonder what I did and then realize I’m up to date on all of my friends and peers statuses and have no status of my own!

Melissa

Hi Tiffany…. My biggest problem in the design field is technical knowledge. Everything seems quite interesting till some tech part peeks in. For eg. designing a room, I love doing it via sketching but as soon as 3D Max enters, I get frustrated. Same is in the case of measurements and electrical circuit designing. Finding regular difficulty in these, I switched my job role from Interior designer to Interior Stylist because I love blogging, DIY, crafting, home styling, sketching etc. I hope I did a right move, by focusing only on the activities I love doing. Let me know, if there is any better solution.Thank you.
Regards

Tara Nair
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