Planned anything lately that makes your breath catch in your throat?
I have. It scares the hell out of me in the best way possible. I’ve set a goal around money that makes me sweat.
I’m a 9 year former missionary and lemme tell you, ain’t nobody go into ministry to roll around on a bed full of benjamins. I learned a ton of beautiful things about money during that time – like how wonderfully contingent it is on strongly forged relationships and how provision is around every corner. But I also learned of the unique-to-the-work shadow side – like how we very literally got rewarded for struggle and how there was a definitive cap on what we should and could make.
So want to hear my big ass scary goal? It relates to all of the above.
In 2017, my aim is to make over 3x as much as I’ve ever earned annually in my entire adult life.
But seriously, there is no pressure. I look at the number and think to myself, “Why not?” I know how now. I have the right training under my belt, the best people in my corner, technical and artistic vibrato in my skill set, and a genuine love for relationship-building to go ahead and smoke a celebratory cigar and call it a day.
It’s within reach. It scares me. Both are good things.
Your goal can literally be anything.
My dollar goal is not about making money just for the sake of making money. I won’t throw myself into work I hate or even mildly dislike. I won’t earn dishonestly. And I sure as shit won’t sell my dreams out for the sake of a buck. I know myself well enough to know that I have to be all in with my life – and that includes my work.
This goal is about possibility. That is the real force behind my guns-blazing joy of “Why NOT??”
I love a good challenge. I love to rise to the occasion. If something sparks a fire in my belly, I’m all in. Possibility means that my dreams have a paved road to sprint down. Possibility means I get a chance to help make other people’s dreams come true. Possibility means I get to creativity partner with the wild heart that came with my divine design and LIVE FULLY.
THAT is the shit that drives the “why” behind my goal. And that’s exactly what makes it feel within reach. It’s still scary. But it’s only scary because it’s big, not because it’s unattainable. When do big things not strike just a little bit of fear and awe in our hearts? That’s the exact spot I want to be in to let my guts and passion stand upside down on their heads and shine.
So what’s your goal? The big one. Pick something for this year. Make it measurable. Break it into smaller goals so you save yourself the freak out moment and can strategize how to get there. Tell someone about it. Hell, tell me and our crew about it and we’ll cheer you on and run with you!
Keep tucked away in the very front of your brain that you are capable of reaching big, scary goals. Where are you in life without vision? Even the ancient scriptures teach that people perish without vision. So sink into it. Go with your gut. Don’t back down. Give it a good hard look and RUN with it.
Making up your mind to try in the first place is half the battle. The other half is believing you can do it. Set your intentions. Put forth the effort. Allow it to be peaceful and easy. This big, beautiful, scary goal is not meant to cause you harm or spin you into struggle. Let the possibility of it wash you. I dare you.
The mind is a powerful thing, lovers. Now who’s with me?
This is about to get controversial.
Tons of women have lived experiences that shout the exact opposite of what I have to say and you may be one of them. THANK GOD. In the dream chasing and girl bossing arenas, we all have vastly unique stories. There is no one-size-fits-all because there is no fingerprint, no design downloaded from heaven, no human being past, present, or future, who is identical to the next. This is magnificent. It’s freeing, joy-inducing, and hallelujah-holy-shit producing.
The problem comes when a one-way-best-way mentality is peddled as the only way to succeed. In this case, focused attention on ONE thing at all costs – even if that focused attention means the inside of your fridge becomes remarkably spacious and your bills suddenly sprout jangling chains to haunt you in the night.
I’ve personally encountered this one-way-best-way attitude multiple times recently as it relates to the freelance writing vs Candy Ass showdown. The advice comes unsolicited 10 times out of 10, but it’s always well meaning. I’m also put off 10 times out of 10, but my side eye is always well meaning…
The issue is that there is no showdown.
I understand why I’ve gotten pushback when I’ve talked publicly about how I’m working to make a good living as a writer. I’m best known for Candy Ass. Y’all know I haven’t exactly been demure about it – I shout that shit from the rooftops because I BELIEVE IN IT. And so do you. I know that and I’m thankful beyond measure for it. But Candy Ass both doesn’t pay the bills AND she needs a lot of work. Bottles that spring leaks won’t sell. Sourcing new ones and testing them properly takes time. Designing and printing packaging costs money. Trademarking, more dollars. Website, green.
When I talk about writing, what I’m really saying is that I’ve figured out a damn good strategy to chase down my dreams. This includes pouring the financial resources Candy Ass deserves into the many facets it’ll take to lift her to QUEEN level, funding the many changes barreling toward me in my personal life, and for once, actually making a living. I don’t feel like throwing my hope and energy at grants anymore. You guys, I was a freaking missionary for 9 years and raised support the whole time. I’m in a space now where I want to do what I know I’m exceedingly excellent at and has unlimited potential. That. Is. Writing. Writing is what will fuel this journey.
To be fair, I see the point of focusing my everything on Candy Ass. It’s sexy. It doesn’t feel like a collective slap in the face to girl bosses everywhere if I go for it fully instead of splitting my attention. It seems like the smartest move to get where I want to go fastest.
But my argument to all of this is that Candy Ass is about badass empowerment. And frankly, I do not feel empowered when I’m nursing low-key panic over my “how.” I feel empowered having a strategy in place that I KNOW will kick ass and that will allow me the unmatched FREEDOM to actually do what I want on a time scale that is steady, calculated, and full of HELL YESES.
My point in sharing this is that if you’ve got anyone up your ass for any reason (well meaning or not) about how your dream chasing journey should roll out, shake it off. Absolutely consider whatever wisdom they have to share, but ultimately, trust your gut. Consult your inner circle, sit with it, focus in on where you actually feel the most powerful, and fucking run with it.
Our journeys get to be unique because we are unique. We get to decide what is best for us. And if someone else has ideas about what’s best for us because it’s what’s best for THEM, God bless them. Maybe they’re right. But that’s up to you to decide. This is not about being above advice from people who’ve gone before you and this is not about being stubborn. This is about learning to trust yourself.
I trust myself that my writing gift will take me places I never DREAMED.
Get where you want to go strategically. Pursue your “how” in a way that feels powerful to you. Chase down your dreams like the lioness that you are. Above everything, grant yourself permission. And if it works for you at all like it’s working for me, toss your hair, cock a brow, and DIVIDE AND CONQUER, BABY.
You know what you should do this Valentine’s Day?
TREAT YO SELF.
I started a little self-love ritual last year that I plan to carry on for the rest of my life. 2016’s special little something with a sassy red lingerie number. This year I’m getting myself a nephrite jade egg. I love how lavishing myself with badass lady gifts makes me feel special, boss, sexy, lovely, and womanly. And why not? Am I not worth a little lush and lavish? Aren’t you?
Get on board with this annual self-love treat, girlfriends, and grab yourself a box of Candy Ass Minis. Douse yourself in their badass broad magic and have yourself a beautifully celebratory day. You are worth celebrating. Your dreams are worth celebrating. Hell, daring to believe in yourself and that your dreams matter is worth celebrating!
If you’ve got another woman in your life who needs some reminding of how WILDLY KICK ASS she is (who of us doesn’t?), grab her a box. Write her a note and remind her of what she most needs to hear. Scent and memory are intrinsically tied and because of that, I promise you this is a gift she will never forget.
Hold off your ravenous desire for the full-sizes because I’m still sourcing air tight bottles that will sail through the mail without leaks, but baby, get yourself and a girlfriend those minis. These perfumes are truly every bit of my passion, bravery, and dream chasing badassery in a bottle and it’s my sincere privilege to share them and their power with you.
Whatever you do for yourself this Valentine’s Day, treat yourself. Really. Consumeristic holiday aside, why not start a love tradition with yourself just because you can?
I know one thing’s for sure – Imma Galentine’s myself UP.
My personal perfume of choice this V day? Red Hot Candy Ass. All the way. I want to feel like the brazen, take-no-prisoners powerhouse I know I am.
I love you, my badass broads. Here’s to the ferocious beauty and power of being WOMEN.
Images from: Keil Elkins
Many moons ago (aka last year) I decided to try my hand at winning a grant for Hiya Tootsie! and Candy Ass. Ultimately, I didn’t win. But Hiya Tootsie! DID rocket launch to the number one popular vote out of 1436 small businesses across the United States because I decided to just do what came naturally.
I shared stories with photos on Facebook to remind everyone to vote on the daily. There was no strategy or grand master plan behind it. It’s just what came out. People loved it. And then suddenly, everyone wanted me to write for them. It didn’t matter if it was social media copy, website copy, resumes, or interviews for magazines, my inbox blew up.
I began taking freelance clients in the summer of 2016 and upped my game like a bat out of hell this year. I stumbled head first into a bootcamp called Get The Gig! BOOTCAMP by Jenny Beres where we write cover letters and pitches DAILY, get feedback, and then send those bad girls out.
The confidence this course and crew bopped me over the head with caught the interest (and interview!) of multi-million dollar makeup subscription company ipsy founded by Michelle Phan AND the interest of Kendo, beauty brand incubator founded by David Suliteanu, former CEO of Sephora, that houses Kat Von D beauty, Marc Jacobs beauty, and Rihanna’s new line.
It dawned on me when ipsy and Kendo came knocking that I have an extraordinarily clear path to take in earning an income to pave the way for both my personal and professional dreams.
Also, my mom is 100% rolling her eyes right now because she’s been telling me to write for a living for years.
I realized late last year that I LOVE infusing brand voices with pop, punch, and personality, and that truly, this is what I specialize in.
Ain’t nobody got the flair I got.
I say this with confidence in the very real gift I’ve been given, not with arrogant insecurity masquerading as bullshit vibrato. I’m amazed and delighted by this writing thing every literal day. It is my craft – language as art.
I’ve also just recently sunk into exactly how vibrant and beautiful (and profitable) this gift is because there’s a lot more on the line now than in years past.
Now there’s a life that’s starting shortly with my man. Now I’m getting closer to stepping into my role as stepmama. Now I get to co-choose where I want to put down roots. Now I’ve got a business and crew I’m in love with and a fragrance line that is just WAITING to change the game in the lives of badass broads across the globe.
My biz mentor told me a few days ago that she thinks I have a $1000/hr writing style – that she truly believes I am that good. She’s based in NYC and has been slaying in biz for years. My bootcamp instructor, based in LA, told me on a group coaching call that my writing is “fierce as f*ck.” She’s been a six-figure freelance copywriter for 10 years.
I’m both humbled and COMPLETELY ENERGIZED by their words. How can I not be?
This is my new dream-funding strategy: Bring the linguistic noise. Lift other brands to dream chasing heights and in the process, rise to chase my own.
What’s your strategy?
I’ll be your ripped jeaned cheerleader if you’ll be mine.
Let’s get something straight. The hustle is a soul-sucking demigod wannabe with a slave-driving fetish.
I realized at the end of 2016 how toxic this chronic atmosphere of hustle had become when I took a little trip to see my Naturopath doctor and heard (to my horror) that my adrenal fatigue was exactly where it was 3 years ago when I left my traumatown work in the adult film industry.
But why?? I’m doing what I love! I’m writing! I’m inspiring! I’m perfuming! What gives?!
What gives is that I fell into the inevitable trap of busting ass in a #girlboss on acid culture. You know it well. Women already get notoriously tangled in the always doing/never enough categories of life. Now heap on the cool mystique of being your own boss and the pressure to turn 6 figures as a starter salary in half a heartbeat, and you see why hustling the hell out of even what we love doing can have steep consequences in our lives.
So this year, I decided to mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically tell the hustle to fuck right off.
Care to join me?
Here’s what The Hell No Hustle Club looks like:
1. We DO NOT kill ourselves in our work – we make up our minds to get the work done and TAKE IT EASY while we do it
Real Life Example: I have two new daily planners called Daily Greatness Business & Daily Greatness Journal that are helping me slay practically, efficiently, and at a pace that feels not just manageable, but easy, and dare I say s-l-o-w.
I have a client I write social media posts for that go live every Tuesday and Thursday, I’m taking a bootcamp writing workshop that requires writing on the daily and pitching gigs to land jobs (I’m writing every other day to pace myself and give myself room to breathe), I write weekly for Hiya Tootsie!, am sourcing new bottles for Candy Ass, am working on landing a ghostwriting book contract gig, and am getting lots of personal things researched and strategized.
None of this is at a frantic pace. Instead, it’s a definitive choice to eye-roll stress and simply say, “nope” – and it feels GOOD.
2. We notice ourselves daily – mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, relationally, and sexually (read: holistically)
Real Life Example: Mentally: I’m making the conscious effort to pace myself and not load too many things on my plate at once. I am only one woman and can only do so many things well at once.
Emotionally: I practice “therapy writing” where I do a written brain dump into a document on my laptop called Feel. If I don’t take the time to write (and I usually don’t do this daily), I simply check in with myself and see how I’m feeling about everything in my life. If something needs to shift, I notice it and make the necessary shift.
Spiritually: I’m working my way through the New Testament in The Message version of the Bible. I read and highlight the verses that drop kick my heart a chapter at a time every morning before I start my work. I also get on my face and pray out loud regularly.
Physically: I had my first meeting with my online friend turned personal dietician yesterday to help me work through things like sugar addiction, candida, adrenal fatigue, and learning to cook. It was AWESOME and I’m super excited to rock this particular leg of my life journey.
Relationally: I intentionally text my three best friends almost daily to stay connected in both the important and totally mundane, random, funny things of daily life. I also pull the plug on work at a designated hour so I can spend uninterrupted evenings with Keil.
Sexually: I’m reading a book by Emily Nagoski called Come As You Are and am learning about the science and normalcy of my sexuality as a woman.
All of these things make me feel seen because I am actively noticing MYSELF and what I need to feel whole and well.
3. We trust ourselves and how we’re designed
Real Life Example: I’ve made an executive decision once and for all to not come across as someone I’m not. I’m generally pretty damn good at this, but I’m intentionally leaning even harder into it now. This means that I will not put on some stuffy persona to hustle my way into something I want. I will be the informal, chill, immediate bestie to everyone I meet, and I will also be the all together professional and laser focused broad that I naturally am. I have no one to impress or morph for. Who I am is enough and I will intentionally show up as her and her alone.
4. We do not compulsively chase income, we open our best selves up to it, allow it an opportunity to be wowed, and let it chase US
Real Life Example: I’m in the middle of a month long freelance writing workshop called Get The Gig Bootcamp by Jenny Beres and it is SICK. I decided in December that I’d allow freelance writing/editing to carry me financially so that I can give Candy Ass the room she deserves to grow and morph without putting the pressure on her to pay the bills (yet).
In week ONE, I saw a copywriting posting from ipsy on a job board, wrote them to tell them I’m the woman for the job, heard back 3 days later, and have a phone interview scheduled TODAY – January 12, 2017 – at 1:30pm PST.
All I did was open myself up to the idea of learning through a freelance workshop, peeping job boards, and reaching out to a company I admire with my whole self – no pretenses. AND WAHBAM. Interview.
5. We allow ourselves to dream
Real Life Example: I have no idea what’s going to happen with this interview. But my immediate dream is to land the gig, have the sincere honor to provide my expertise and passion to punch up ipsy’s brand voice, become part of a team of beauty industry badasses, learn, and maybe, JUST MAYBE, be invited to include Candy Ass in a glam bag one day.
I will not push it. That would be the hustle. I’ll do what I’m good at – which includes being exactly who I am, building beautiful relationships, and trusting God for all good gifts.
Getting Candy Ass in the glam bag would be nuts. I’ll let myself sink into the joy of possibility and let it do what it will. It’s a blend of desire and release and I AM HERE FOR IT.
How does this sound? Pretty effing epic, right? I’ve been intentionally about this life for a solid 2 weeks now and I. AM. LOVING. IT. I take it easy, cross two or three things (sometimes one!) off my work list, and spend my evenings reading, cuddling my man, and binging Catfish: The TV Show. Very shortly, I’ll spend time in the evenings teaching myself to cook to heal and benefit my bod and entire life.
This shift in thinking and doing is not actually a hard one to make. It’s simply intentional. It’s deciding that no, stress doesn’t get to be boss, and no, the hustle does not get to manipulate me like a marionette puppet. It’s about owning your power and taking back control. It’s about living the life you actually want to live and being the woman you were designed to be.
It’s chill and it still gets shit done. It just gets shit done without the intense feeling of “not enough.” You’re enough. I’m enough. Pacing ourselves to avoid meltdown, burnout, and freak out is enough. The hustle is at war with all of these things and frankly, it’s idolized in a way that ultimately serves no one.
I’m flipping the bird at the hustle. It’ll still be alive and well without me – and I will definitely be alive and well without it.
This is The Hell No Hustle Club. You in? Lemme hear your real life examples in the comments for how you plan to slay in peace. I have a feeling we have a lot of learning from and cheering each other on to do!