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Leadership

My Biggest Business Mistakes From the First 6 Months (And How I Fixed Them!)

I’m writing this post on a Saturday night after doing 13 straight hours of work, with only one break to inhale a few pieces of peanut butter toast.

It was a beautiful sunny day outside, and I didn’t see any of it.

This is not how I want to run my business.

All hustle, no balance.

It’s taking a toll on me.

Luckily, I am smart enough to realize when I’ve made some pretty awful mistakes and how to fix them. Today I want to get a lil’ personal with you and share my biggest struggles and failures over the past 6 months and how I’m overcoming them to become a better blogger and business owner.

I hope you can learn something from this post. Here goes.

Biggest Business Mistakes

 

1. No time for fun.

Talk about overscheduled.

Even my husband knows that if it’s not on my Google calendar, it’s not happening.

I’ve lost touch with several friends. Some of them understand, and others don’t. I even feel bad with how little time I’m spending with my dog.

It’s super depressing.

I ended up getting so burnt out, I didn’t want to do anything.

And that was my solution.

I realized that I procrastinate a lot. Not because I dislike my work, I love it, but because I’m too much of a perfectionist and I want “the perfect idea” before I start working.

Well, that just doesn’t exist.

I’ve learned to just start, and edit shit later. I’ve learned to be more productive with my time so that I can get more done in less time.

Ya know what the big magical secret to all that is?

CONTINUE READING

The Difference Between Digital Strategy and Digital Project Management

My name is Michelle, and I’m a recovering Digital Project Manager.

The Difference Between Digital Project Management and Digital Strategy

 

You see, I was a digital PM for awhile, back in the heady days of 2015, a distant blur now. And then I became a digital strategist. “Cool,” I thought. “A totally different job, how exciting!” And then weeks and months went on and I found myself thinking, “Hmm. This seems an awful lot like what I was doing before. What gives?”

Months turned into almost a year and I became more disillusioned and confused than ever.

cat confused gif

So what is the actual difference between a digital PM and a digital strategist? It’s taken me awhile to learn.

CONTINUE READING

Losing Your Way on A Winding Path (This Is A Metaphor for Getting Shit Done)

Oh, hello.

Remember when I said that when you feel like you’re fed up, and burnt out, you should connect with other humans that remind you why you love what you do? Wellllllll, that worked for me once. But now I have new advice: be a hermit.

How to Get Shit Done (fo realz!)

 

Seriously. The best advice I received for dealing with feelings of burnout was a few days ago, and that advice was: when you are so fed up that you just don’t care anymore, actively attempt to care less. Like just really get all the giving a shit out of your system. Stop caring at a molecular level. Split the atoms of the fucks you do not give, and then split them again. Create a nuclear meltdown out of all the energy that you’re not caring with. Enough metaphors for now…

In my situation, I could never focus on what I was supposed to be doing, due to a number of factors, some of them complex and one of them just being that I am an insane, quality-obsessed, control freak bitch-ola. I was so used to responding quickly to everything that came my way — emails, Slack messages, carrier pigeons — that people expected it of me, and I felt like I owed it to them.

But then my boss told me something radical. Like some life-changing shit right here. She said, “Just… don’t.” That’s basically what she said. There were more words and it sounded better than that, but that was the gist of it.

CONTINUE READING

Embracing Failure as a Digital Project Manager/Human Being

It’s difficult to accept failure. I think that’s part of human nature — to be proud, defend ourselves, survive, and dislike failing. But sometimes we fail as human beings, and as project managers. And sometimes, spectacularly, we fail at those two things at the same time.

Embracing Failure as a Digital Project Manager (and Human Being)

 

I’ve been a total failure over the past few months.

  • I started this blog, intending to keep it going with new content twice a week. Fail.
  • I transitioned out of project management recently, but didn’t actually transition out of it because I’m a total control freak. Fail.
  • Even though I didn’t transition out of it, I still failed at doing a bunch of PM stuff properly. Fail.
  • I couldn’t think of new content ideas to save my life. Fail.
  • I lost my focus, my energy, my drive, and my love of what I do (temporarily). Fail.
  • I ate an entire tray of four cinnamon buns and washed them down with an entire bottle of wine. Fail (or… win?).

Cinnamon Bun GIF

I think the important thing to remember here is that cinnamon buns fix all failures until you step on the scale and feel like a failure in an entirely new way. Not as a project manager or a human being, but even worse, a failure of a woman for not fitting into your pants anymore.

CONTINUE READING

When What You Love to Do Gets Shitty: Fighting Creative Burnout

Hustlin’ be hard, bitches.

How to Fight Creative Burnout - When What You Love to Do Gets Shitty

 

Whatever your hustle may be — design, coding, strategy, project management, writing, something unmarketing related — you started doing it because you loved it. You continued because you loved it. You can’t imagine yourself doing anything else with your life, but yet, you hit a point where you just want to quit. What’s going on?

It’s not a lack of passion for your work. It’s not because of boredom. It’s not because you want to do something else.

So whyyyyyy.

But Why GIF

When you feel that feeling of loving what you do and being convinced that you’ve never been more connected to and passionate about your work, coupled with a feeling of absolute dread about going in the next day or doing any of the tasks on your list, congrats — you’re in creative burnout.

CONTINUE READING

What Your Worst Project Ever Can Teach You About Good Digital Project Management

Everyone has had a “worst project ever”. Mine has been recent and is still ongoing. I don’t mean it’s the worst because the work is bad or the client is bad, quite the opposite with this one. Our team has created amazing work and everyone really cares about this project. The client is fantastic and smart, willing to think outside the box when it comes to design and to take our input. When it finally completes, it will be a great piece of work out there in the world.

But that’s the problem, when it finally completes.

 

What Your Worst Project Ever Can Teach You About Digital Project Management

It’s easy to blame others when things don’t go as planned but project managers need to be bigger than that. If it didn’t go according to plan, it means your plan didn’t work. Why not? Where were you? Why weren’t you paying attention? Or if you were paying attention, why did you miss the clear red flags that things were going awry and your plan was not working? How come you didn’t fix it?

CONTINUE READING

How to Get a Derailed Digital Project Back on Track

This post is for all my DPM peeps out there. That stands for “digital project management” in case you manage projects from under a rock. So, while I no longer work full-time in digital project management (I only dabble, as now I am a strategist/writer full-time), I’m still passionate about client relationship management and making sure our lovingly crafted digital projects go smoothly. I’ve found that now being on “the creative side” has given me even more passion for project management, as I feel like I have a better idea of what it’s like for the people I used to schedule and plan for, both internally and externally.

How to Get a Derailed Digital Project Back on Track

 

But we’ve all been there: the digital project that goes completely off track and looks like it’s destined for the rubbish pile or worse, public consumption as a warped, ugly version of its formerly wonderful concept. Let’s face it, it’s usually a website.

So what do you do? How do you tackle this seemingly insurmountable beast and tame it back into a (oh god here comes a cliche) beauty? By following these oh so useful tips of course.

But first, we need to identify the signs of a project going off the rails… We’ll assume it’s a website for the purposes of this example because, well, it probably is.

CONTINUE READING

Learning to Care Again When You’re Out of F*@ks to Give

I think the hardest thing about working in an industry you’re really passionate about is the eventual feeling of “Is this worth it?” that creeps into your mind. If you’re like me, you’re a 110% kind of person. All in or all out, there is no in between.

Learning to Care Again When You're Out of F*@ks to Give

 

I’m happy and proud to be doing something I love for a living. I love the sense of accomplishment my work provides, and being surrounded by so many talented people with big ideas. It’s fantastic and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. But sometimes, it still gets tough like anything else.

And while I wouldn’t change a thing, sometimes I think, “Can I keep going?”

Field of Fucks lol

I guess some people call that burnout, but that’s not really what it is. To me, true burnout is when you are literally so done that you cannot be any more done. You know it’s time to walk away, find a new path, burn bridges to the ground, whatever. You want out of where you are.

But that’s not what I feel sometimes at all. Like I said, I wouldn’t change a thing. So it’s not burnout, it’s just a temporary case of a lack of fucks to give.

Once your supply of fucks to give is restored, all is well.

CONTINUE READING