Quiet The Noise

I've been thinking about my contribution to the Internet. The place of endless information — distracting and enlightening.

  1. The information superhighway bridges the gap between worlds with news and global connection.
  2. The information superhighway filled with distractions.  

I hear about the stress of daily derailment. Along with productivity, it is the struggle to maintain the inner voice that hurts a business owner most. The company and the person running it can be confused as the same entity, and are required to have a (seemingly) perfect online persona. Along with that pressure, the distraction of competition and the pressure they feel to compete can be debilitating.

If the internet has opened up the doors to businesses, how do we continue to use it while not getting wrapped up in the mess of it all?

Marketing (It works. It’s hard.): Telling people who you are, what you do, and how to get what you're selling. But this is how we got  into this mess in the first place. Technology we didn’t understand, rules we make up as we go, and a target market that seems to shift constantly.  

Find your story: Not just a "who are you" in general, but also your story this week, or this month. The overall brand story gets old. Involve yourself in a project, get comfortable with your products, new and old, and tell a real story that your customers and clients what to follow. A safe assumption, instead of the usual one, is that you're not repeating yourself and people do want to know what you're working on.

— Mine is a quiet, concentrated participation. It has not much to do with an algorithm and a lot to do with my people and their needs. I believe in deep human connection. I believe in tribes. And I believe in doing what feels right for you, your time, your people, and your business.

Find your customer: Speaking of your people, what does your client want and what are you doing to capture them? Create an ideal customer profile with a few variations. What do you want them to know and how do you think they'd like to be reached?

— The business owners I work with are already overwhelmed. They're tight on time and I never want to be an added distraction. I want to limit my contribution to the noise and provide meaningful content.

Find your fun: I say this a lot, maybe every time I write something new, but (like I said above) repeating important information never hurts. Life is too short, and business is too hard to not have fun with it.

— Breaking the mold is fun for me. I've never been a straight and narrow person, and I love the idea that I am going against the typical social media strategy and finding a path that feels authentic and new.

Here is the plan, for now:

12-9 photos a month. That's it.

I will plan my story with strategy. I will give a big picture, portfolio feeling with more information in the comments if it works.  I will have to work hard, which is great. Protecting my community from more noise, which is what they need most, the people I want to work with will come.

But, What's a Vision?

... and how do you expand it?

A business’ vision gets lost. You get caught up in a daily routine, your business it takes up all of your energy, and now you’re too busy (or tired) to step away to see the big picture. Slowing down the daily grind can feel impossible. 

When I “expand the vision” I go back to the very beginning of the concept to explore how you got here to uncover the spark that opened the doors. I like to understand your strengths and what makes you tick so we can work on getting back to what made the leap in the first place.

Vision is a silly word. So is Brand. They’re both terms that sum up how you’d like to be seen and the path you’re meant to take. The merit of those terms is the shortcut - broad guidelines, or keywords, that are supposed to help you focus on the goals your company has committed to. 

Shortcuts, without an understanding of depth, are overwhelming and leave you with questions like: How does everyone else have this “vision” and I’m struggling just to start

Shortcuts are helpful when you’ve seen what the longer path has to offer. So it takes you 15 fewer minutes to get to work, but those extra fifteen minutes could be a more beautiful route or give you more time to digest your favorite podcast. It’s worth taking a long way until the shortcut has substance.  

Feature: Have Company Podcast

I have admired Have Company from afar for years. The content, drive, dedication and focused business owner kept me following along and engaged. The content — clear, concise and opinionated. The drive — felt like that of a business owner with decades of experience. The dedication — to the community at large and creatives. The focus — was the result of all of the above plus a little magic. 

When I first met Marlee, in real life, it was through her workshop: How to Not Always Be Working. I sat with 7 other professional women to listen, contribute and analyze what was and wasn't working in all of our lives. I loved it. As a participant it proved the the value of setting aside time to understand my own life and find solutions to make my work/life balance a choice. 

Marlee & I stayed in touch and lucky for me, she ended up moving to my city. Over the last six months, we've become real friend and love to bond over professional and personal growth. Marlee invited me to record our conversation so the world could hear our slightly ADD but deep conversations about how to be a creative business owner. 

An overview from Marlee:

[We] talk through the fears of being a sellout, choosing between making money off of artwork or having another job and making artwork outside of work. This episode goes on longer than others, because they have a BIG important conversation about strategies for working for yourself- from bucketing time, to structuring your week, the guilt that comes with success, forgiving yourself when you get off track, and drawing boundaries.

Some quotes from our conversation: 

“If you can understand everything you need, truly… Be real with yourself about what you need. I think there is a lot of creative freedom that happens when you get really clear about your vision and your finances.”

“There is beauty in owning your own business, because you can make enough money to get by, you can then make enough money to put aside money, or you can make enough money to really create a future for yourself… And then the other beauty of business is that you have control over the situation- you are not stuck in your office, answering to a boss.”

Check out this episode and more.

4-Month Business Growth Course

 

Anchor & Orbit's

Four Month Course: Strengthen Your Business

Space is limited. If your application is accepted, the course is filled on a first-come first-served basis.

Applications are open through September 1st.


Why are you running this workshop / course?

We love working one-on-one, but that option isn't for everyone - financially, logistically, and sometimes emotionally. What broke our hearts was seeing people who wanted to take the leap, but weren't in the place to take on a consulting package. 

There must be a better way! 

We agree! So we created a system that would give them an opportunity to participate and grow, but more independently. Each person and business are different, but we know the aspects of businesses that consistently need attention.

Our goals:

  • Strengthen the essential parts of your business like productivity planning, goal outlines, financial growth plans, and general business-running systems
  • Give you exercises that aren't busy work, but definitely work
  • Find opportunity for growth and a happier day-to-day life
  • Remember your strengths and help you stay true to your individual routines and needs
  • Create & compile information that is accessible, approachable, and applicable

How?

We start with general information about a subject, move on to details and fine-tune with assignments and follow-up information. The subjects and work along with it can be taken as far and as deep as you’d like.


Who is this for?

The beauty of this course, and the information it provides, is the layered content. The participants have control over how much time they spend on each subject and are given the opportunity to deep dive, skim, or return to prior assignments. Overall, each type of person that participates thrives by dedicating time away from their usual routine. This new focus aids in growth & transformation.

Independent business owner | in full swing

  • You are a seasoned business owner who needs an emotional / best practices re-boot
  • You’re in a growth phase, and you want help getting to the next level
  • You love what you do, but feel a little tired and lost
  • Things aren’t kicking in the way you had hoped they would this year, and you want to figure out why

What you will get:

An opportunity to look at your business as a whole, create space for growth, and expand your understanding of who you are and what you’d like to become

New business owneR | Learning the ropes

  • New independent businesses who were just starting to make waves, and need concentrated perspective to grow
  • You’re on your way! And this is one of your first big investment in your business
  • You feel like your day-to-day could be fine-tuned, but you’re not sure how
  • Setting up your business for long-term success is your priority

What you will get:

An overview of best practices and examples of how other businesses are running and implementing systems for their long-term sustainability and growth so you can implement and strengthen. 

Potential business owner | Curious & Excited

  • This business owning world is a mystery that you want to solve!
  • You’re almost ready to take the leap, but you want to be sure that you’re setting yourself up for success

What you will get:

Some of the material won’t feel relevant to you, but it will be one day! These are reference tools you can keep and use forever.


How does the course work? 

One-on-One —

This course is meant for all kinds of business owners. In your monthly, 45-minute session with Sarah you will discuss your assignments and customize the materials, so they’re serving your goals

Resource Documents —

These weekly materials set you up with the subject, materials, and complimentary research. They’re a mixture of the investigation from our favorite resources, first-hand experience, explanations of tools, inspirational quotes, and more. These are meant to guide your perspective on the subject and help broaden your thoughts about business and your trajectory.  

Videos — 

Paired with the resource documents, these videos walk you through the materials & assignments. Learning styles differ, and this provides a new way to hear the information. Plus, Sarah will give extra stories and tips on how to use the resources and assignments to your advantage. 

Assignments — 

These assignments are built to help you implement & expand your understanding of the resource information. Filled with questions and ideas, they'll help you decipher what you want and helps us, the course leaders, implement this into your daily life. 

Office hours —

Digital office hours with Sarah! This will be in the form of a forum where you can write questions and she will answer via video chat. The transcript will be available and distributed. You learn from other's questions & be inspired to ask your own. 

Email Access —

Stuck? Have a question that can’t wait until the forum? Need some words of encouragement? We’re here for you. If the answer deserves more time than an email can give, we'll make sure to cover your questions in the forum or one-on-one. 


Subjects we cover

Introduction |

Prepare & orient

Section ONe |

Discovery: strengths, weaknesses, goals

Section TWO |

Systems: goal planning

Systems: financial cashflow

Section THRee |

Analysis: your market

Systems: workflow

Section FOUR |

Apply: marketing strategies

Systems: overview & fine-tune

Zero commitment application.


Anchor & Orbit, established in 2013, has worked with 80+ businesses and their owners.

(That's 20-30 clients a year! Wow!)

Our work is varied:

  • Project type — productivity, financial strategies, growth plans, launches, sales strategies, and systems (and more!)
  • Industry — beverage, ceramic, graphic design, interior design, photography, gallery, wood, writer (and more!)
  • Business owner — likes to work at night, likes to work at 5am, likes hot coffee, likes iced coffee ... you get it. 

My clients are very happy …

Sarah has been a guiding light to our company. I feel like we knew a lot of the things we COULD be doing to grow our business and structure it properly, but she's done an incredible job showing us the select few things we SHOULD be doing. — Eric Parnell, The NW Collective

I love Sarah's response time, friendliness, frankness and thinking as a small business needs. — James Tucker, The Aesthetic Union

We talked about how to get more people in the door! We talked about how to make the event itself better to inspire those who did attend to come back. We talked about branding and my online presence. Sarah’s presence is very friendly and inspiring. I have seen results! My student base is steadily growing, I got a business partner, and we are applying what I learned from you to continue to grow our business. — Katie Colver, Showga Oakland

See more kind words here