Stepping into the arena

Last night I started writing this post in the notes app on my iPhone, while laying awkwardly on my side in bed. It was almost midnight and I should’ve been sleeping because I was getting up early today to work out. But, instead I had been furiously typing away on my phone, attempting to capture the ideas flying out of my brain at warp speed.

Here’s the thing. I can’t stop thinking about you. I can’t stop thinking about how I want to have a bigger impact, reach more people, help more of you feel better and live amazing lives. To accomplish these goals, I know I need to step into a bigger arena.

Bigger Impact. Bigger arenas.

So, I’ve been dreaming, scheming, and planning. In the back of my mind, most days, content is being organized, structured, and restructured. I’m simplifying and distilling down the best nuggets of wisdom and most impactful things I’ve learned over the last 10 years of intense personal development work I’ve done.

While expanding and building this business to be much bigger has always been part of the plan, it’s only recently that I’ve noticed how profoundly I’m feeling called to serve more people. Not just in a coaching and writing capacity, but also by moving into more of a teaching role. Facilitating, speaking, leading, and inspiring from the stage. In bigger arenas.

Sidenote: I’m using the term “arenas” in a metaphorical, very Brené Brown sense of the word, by the way. I’m not talking about stepping into actual arenas. Not quite yet, anyway. Then again sharing stages with Oprah and Tony Robbins are big goals of mine, and they speak in actual arenas, so hey! Hopefully one day soon!

Designing the mastermind

I want to help more people unleash their inner badass – to help them stop holding back, own who they are, and create extraordinary lives they love.

people standing on cliff looking at the view

This means a lot of things for my business but, specifically, I’m excited to build and launch my first ever mastermind: a group program that will deliver valuable personal development content in a dynamic community setting with a high level of support and engagement.

As I contemplate how to design and deliver this program, I’ve been going back through my 7 years of teaching outdoor fitness classes, my 800+ hours of coaching individuals clients, and the couple hundred of hours of coaching and leadership training I did at CTI, where they are known for their experientially based, transformational learning, as well as all the programs and masterminds I’ve participated in as a student.

I plan to take the very best of everything I’ve learned, structure it in the most effective way I can, and infuse it with my own awesomely weird and unique brand of Possingness to be an experience in extreme personal development, leadership training, and conscious community. It’s going to be rad.

For the last 5 years, aside from the random speaking gig here and there, I’ve been mostly coaching people 1:1 which, as you know if you’re part of my tribe, I love. Deeply.

The risks in the arena

Now I’m wanting to step out from behind the safety of my (virtual) coaching office and into a bigger arena. A much bigger one. It’s a risky move. Way more vulnerable. More visible. I’ve gotten good at being unapologetically me in my current life, but now I need to challenge myself to go do it out in unknown places, with higher stakes, and a much less friendly audience. I hope that my doing so inspires you to do the same in your own way.

colorful bird

I know that if i use my voice and speak my truth I will inevitably ruffle feathers, trigger people, and invite in criticism. Some of the time it will suck. I will fail. Probably a lot. I will have haters. I will feel foolish at times, doubt every word I speak and action I take, and shed lots of tears in the process.

This excites me, because I love growth, but also terrifies the perfectionist / people pleaser / approval junkie / inner critic in me. Luckily she’s not running the show anymore. Phew.

These days, I am driven by my mission, my purpose, my calling. One that I couldn’t turn off even if I wanted to. So, I have to be ready to move forward in spite of all the risks.

Crap.

My word of the year for 2017 was visibility. And I have indeed begun to dip my toes in that pond. But, to be honest, I’ve still played it relatively safe. Now, I want to practice diving in naked. Bring it on. Please consider this an invitation to call me out and hold me accountable if you see me playing small. (I’m probably going to regret saying that.)

surfer walking into the ocean

What this means for my business is that while I will continue serving my private clients with passion and focus as before, I’m also starting to work on the mastermind I’ve been dreaming about creating for years. Stay tuned for more info on that in the coming months.

Using my voice

I’m also committing to putting myself out there and using my voice, quite literally, for speaking engagements, and to do more sharing, inspiring, and teaching on platforms like fb live. Mama needs to get back on the stage! Again, feel free to give me a talking to if you see me sitting on the sidelines. For reals. If you hear of an awesome event, please suggest me as a kick ass speaker! 🙂

I am seriously so lucky to have the most amazing tribe of friends, family, clients, former clients, fans, and all the passionate rebels in my Facebook group, Freedom + Badassery. (Not part of the group yet? Join us! It’s free.) Thank you all for your support, as I grow my sassy and difficult teenager of a business into the powerful young woman she is ready to become.

How to have more freedom in your life

As a freedom coach, part of my mission is to help people find and create more freedom in their lives, whatever that means to them. I’m especially interested in helping people feel more free, which I believe is something that most, if not all, of us want.

What does freedom even mean?
Freedom probably means something slightly different to each of us, depending on our perspective and life experience. Today, I’m going to look at the types of freedom that people I work with are most commonly seeking – financial freedom, location freedom, time freedom, and emotional freedom – and share a handful of tips and ideas you can use to start moving toward having more of each one in your life.

[Sidenote: This post is not about freedom in the sense of freedom from slavery, oppression, or discrimination. Those are obviously much differenent conversations (and also not my areas of expertise). I look to other inspiring and knowledgeable leaders and activists to guide us in those conversations.]

Many of these suggestions may seem obvious. But that doesn’t mean that they’re easy to actually act on. They may take courage, a willingness to get uncomfortable, or the persistence to keep going when shit hits the fan and things get hard. Look for the tips that speak to you and that whisper in your heart and do those. Even the tiniest baby steps can make a difference.

Financial Freedom
Okay, so financial freedom obviously means wildly different things to different people, but for the sake of simplicity let’s say it probably entails increasing your income, lowering your expenses, or generally having more access to better resources and more opportunities in your life. Let’s assume it’s mostly about having a choice. Having options.

For me, for example, the kind of financial freedom that I’m fiercely determined to create for myself includes being completely debt free and having predictable, sustainable income that far surpasses my family’s needs, enables me to contribute (both time and money) to causes I care about, and to have a kickass positive impact on the world.

While I don’t care much about material belongings right now, I cherish relationships, experiences, and travel, so financial freedom means being able to prioritize those in my life. It also means having a healthy and helpful relationship with money, and cultivating an abundance mindset that feels aligned with my beliefs and values.

What does financial freedom mean to you? And would could you do to move toward it? Here are some ideas you can steal:

  • Ask for a raise at your current job
  • Apply for jobs with a higher salary
  • Learn new skills that will qualify you for a higher paying job
  • Start your own business where you are in control of your own income
  • Take on a side gig(s) like driving for Lyft or teaching on Udemy or Skillshare
  • Rent out a spare room on Airbnb
  • SPEND LESS. Everywhere possible. Obviously 😉
  • Come up with a plan to pay off your debt more aggressively
  • Don’t spend money you don’t have on crap you don’t need
  • Move to a cheaper part of town, cheaper country, or cheaper apartment
  • Eat (and drink!) out less, cook at home more, grow your own food if possible
  • Take money you normally put toward escape and entertainment and invest it, save it, or invest it in your personal or professional development (best ROI!) instead
  • Believe in yourself and your self worth. Know that money is not inherently good or bad; it’s the value and meanings that we assign to it that determines that
  • Be curious about your relationship with money, and start shifting your negative limiting beliefs to more empowering, helpful ones

I’m not a financial expert, but I have come across a ton of great resources over the years. If you want recommendations, I’m happy to share some of my favorites with you.

Location Freedom
You don’t need to be a digital nomad like me to have location freedom. Location freedom can mean that your employer allows you to work remotely part-time so that you feel less tied to your desk. Or being your own boss so that you can work from home and wear yoga pants. Or simply having a shorter commute. Think about what environments you thrive in, and which you don’t. What kind of setup will help you be productive and happy?

For me, for example, location freedom absolutely means being my own boss, setting my own hours, and being able to work from home, a coffeeshop, or whatever hotel or Airbnb I happen to be staying in. But it also means the freedom to create a space that’s conducive to feeling grounded and peaceful and inspired to do my work, by having a sunny and open room, inspiring music in the background, and to be dressed comfortably.

What does it mean to you? How could you move even just one step closer to creating that for yourself? Here are some ideas:

  • Ask your employer for the option to work remotely one day a week to start and go up from there
  • Find a job that allows you to work remotely. There are tons of companies that offer remote jobs. Here’s another list. And another. Ok, just one more.
  • Start your own location independent business
  • Move. If your commute is making you miserable, move closer to it (or leave the job)
  • Check out companies like Remote YearUnsettled, or Hacker Paradise that help you work like a digital nomad, but minus all the DIY headaches, and plus a built in community. Or Roam for coliving and coworking spaces.

If you want to know more about living and working as a digital nomad, this is one of my areas of expertise, so I’m happy to answer any questions you have or send you resources that might help.

Time Freedom
Ah, wouldn’t we all love more time? Yes, of course. But instead of just whining about not having enough, why not take responsibility and do what you can to create more time. I believe it’s a matter of optimizing where we can, and then prioritizing where we put our energy based on what’s actually most important.

For me, time freedom means being in charge of when and how much I work. And making sure I have the time and space for what’s most important to me, like family, friends, exercise, travel, adventure, reading, and endless personal growth.

What does time freedom mean to you? And how can you create more in your life? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Stop saying yes when you mean no. Notice where you give of your time too freely and end up feeling resentful. Practice setting boundaries. It’s best for everyone.
  • Plan ahead and intend to stick to your plan as much as possible (knowing that you can always adjust as needed). Instead of just reacting to whatever comes your way, treat your most important projects and priorities as non-negotiable appointments. Put them on the calendar. And show up.
  • Put like with like. The best way I know to clean, simplify, and organize is to start by grouping like with like. Do the same with your tasks like email, phone calls, errands, etc. so you do them all while you’re in that mode, before switching gears.
  • Conventional wisdom, and most productivity gurus, tell us to do the most important (and sometimes most unpleasant) tasks first. You’ll feel accomplished, relieved, and can then relax and do the little easy stuff later. This can be really powerful.
  • And, I’ll be honest, for me sometimes doing the exact opposite works even better. I usually do all the easy, little stuff and then when I feel like my brain is clear, I am more ready for the big, hard stuff. Choose whatever works for you.
  • OPTIMIZE! Look for ways to automate (like using an online scheduler instead of lots of emailing back and forth), outsource tasks that you don’t need or want to do (e.g. hire a cleaner or a Task Rabbit), or find sneaky ways to be productive during downtime (like taking public transportation instead of driving to work, so you can read, work, or even do a little mobile morning ritual during that time instead.)

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are SO MANY brilliant time management and productivity hacks out there. I geek out on this stuff, so hit me up if you want more tips.

Emotional Freedom
This is by far my favorite one. Emotional freedom is a highly personal one, because it depends largely on our background, upbringing, conditioning, fears, etc. It may be more about want freedom from something (e.g. self-doubt or fear) or craving the freedom to something (e.g. do work you love, be yourself etc.) I love helping people with the practical ones, but working toward emotional freedom is what I’ve found to be most impactful, because it’s so foundational. It’s our personal development.

It’s where we get in our own way, self-sabotage, and settle for lives that are not ones we love. Nothing gives me more joy than watching another human untangle themselves from what’s been holding back them, start to cultivate a deeper sense of inner peace and inner power, and then go out and intentionally design and build a new reality based on who they really are.

For me, personally, emotional freedom is mostly a feeling – that sense of lightness that I get when I’m giving myself permission to be and own who I am, express myself openly and unapologetically, and when I let go of worrying about what other people think. I feel incredibly alive and awake when my external life is an expression with who I am on the inside. It’s unleashing my inner badass, and being the powerful creator that I am. That we all are, when we get out of our own damn way.

What does emotional freedom mean to you? And how can you move in that direction? Here are some of my favorite tips:

  • Constantly ask yourself what you want and how you want to feel. Learn to be more and more honest with yourself. Then use those answers as your guide.
  • Read and watch less negative stuff; instead, consume more empowering, uplifting stuff. Like this blog 🙂 Or the many amazing books, articles, and podcasts out there.
  • Seek out supportive communities. Distance yourself from the people who drag you down. You don’t need to cut them out of your life completely, just make sure you also have some supporters that want the best for you and will cheer you on. Don’t know where to find one? Join my online community Freedom + Badassery!
  • STOP TAKING EVERYTHING SO PERSONALLY. This has been my biggest struggle, and the more I let go of it, the more free, light, and expansive I feel.
  • Listen less to what others and society think you should do. Listen more to what your heart wants and what gets you excited and makes you happy.
  • Take radical responsibility for your life. All of it. Your thoughts, your actions, your impact. Don’t give your power away to anyone or anything outside of yourself. Create your own reality, because you always have a choice. If nothing else, you can choose how you respond to what life throws at you. And it makes a huge difference.

So, tell me: how free do you feel right now? I’d love to hear your thoughts. (Comment below or email me directly.)

Feeling inspired to take more responsibility for designing your life? You can go a little deeper with my online training: How to Create an Extraordinary Life You Love. And of course, if you want to seriously uplevel your life and create more freedom, especially emotional freedom in your life, ask me about coaching.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

The dreaded question. Deer in headlights was about all I could muster in response throughout school and well into my twenties. How was one supposed to know?

I liked a lot of things. Too many things. In fact, the endless possibilities and “you can be whatever you want to be” urgings of my generation’s supporters felt like an unbearable burden most of the time. Being a positive thinker and dreamer, I appreciated the sentiment, but my own inability to narrow it down to even a small list of options left me paralyzed.

Fast forward to the start of my decade in San Francisco when I was about 26 years old.

“Adventure travel host,” I wrote in my journal. Underneath the title of yet another far fetched career idea, I scribbled down my thoughts about why this job appealed to me and what the obvious stumbling blocks were (“How the hell would I get my foot in the door of that industry??”)

Next up was “Performer/Entertainer” followed by wistful dreams of acting, dancing, singing, painting, doing voice over work… followed by the inevitable insecurities (“What if I don’t make it in Hollywood? Do I really want to be a starving artist?”)

“Should I just suck it up and get a normal job? Something more professional? Am I wasting precious time exploring this other stuff that I should really be spending in a corporate setting getting real life experience?”

These are just a few of the thoughts that were swimming around in my head, back in 2007, near the end of my short-lived 2-year career in financial planning. I had taken some improv classes, was doing a lot of writing for a music tech startup, had started bartending, and was enthusiastically exploring other interests, but ultimately I was basically still completely lost.

I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. 

Two years later, in 2009, I still didn’t know. I had stumbled into fitness, which was closer than any of my previous jobs. But I still found myself agonizing over that brutal mix of uncertainty and indecision, coupled with a sense of unfulfilled potential and a refusal to settle.

A typical week often looked like this:
Monday: convinced that I needed to spend a year abroad traveling while I was still young
Tuesday: excited about the prospect of being an entrepreneur and ready to figure out how
Wednesday: researching grad school, especially INSEAD, 100% sure I wanted to apply
Thursday: still dreaming of being an artist and looking for auditions on craigslist
Friday: exhausted, discouraged, and confused, crying in frustration
Saturday: convinced my dreams were silly, ready to give up and get a corporate job
Sunday: pissed and ready to do whatever it took to find a meaningful path

That year I made a commitment to myself. I was going to make “figuring out what I want to be when I grow up” my biggest priority. I didn’t care how long it was going to take, I just knew I couldn’t take any more of the back and forth.

Figuring out my purpose became my purpose.

I started reading countless books, blogs, and articles. I saw a hypnotherapist who was also an EFT practitioner. I attended workshops, seminars, and retreats. I hired coaches. I interviewed anyone who seemed like they liked their job. I talked to anyone who would listen. I journaled, and journaled, and journaled.

And the beautiful thing is, it totally worked. It was a messy, clumsy, disjointed process, but I found my way. Had I known half of what I know now, I would do things very differently. But looking back, I’m not ashamed of any of it. Instead, it all seems somehow delightfully earnest. It was my perfectly imperfect journey and it got me to where I am today. For that I will be eternally grateful.

Years of people pleasing, approval seeking, and caring way too much what other people think of me pushed me to a breaking point where my own lack of direction became so exasperating and exhausting that something had to change.

And it did. Once I stopped looked outside of myself for validation and got quiet enough to hear the wisdom in my heart (that had, of course, been there all along) it was obvious. All those years of voraciously reading self-help books and devouring anything and everything motivational, inspiration, and chicken soup for the soul-y suddenly made sense…

finally started being honest enough with myself to admit that I wanted to be a life coach.

Even though the words made me cringe at the time, I had to face the truth. It had actually been there all along – the rather radical calling. But it was expressed only as a gentle whisper underneath the loud, obnoxious voices of my inner critics, so I couldn’t hear it for so long.

Luckily, I ultimately made that powerful choice and started to listen to what my heart was trying to say. Given my hesitant nature, it actually took me several years to really go there. Even once I had broken the seal and headed down the path, I still only dipped in a toe or two at a time. I played it safe and dabbled carefully, but I DID move forward.

Of course, at the time, I had NO idea what I was getting into. I didn’t realize that becoming a life coach also meant becoming an entrepreneur. And that holy crap, that shit is hard! Or how profoundly life changing and fulfilling it would be.

I had no idea that I was embarking on my very own journey to personal freedom. 

That’s the journey that I’m on now. Everything I do is about freedom. Freedom to live a life by my own design, to be consciously creating my own reality, and to take full responsibility for every damn part of it. It’s also about freedom from my own self-imposed limitations and the old stories that used to hold me back.

This is what I’m about and it’s what my business is all about too. The cool thing about my story is that I had to slog my way through all that self-doubt, indecision, and fear in order to get here. So I get it. And now that I have the distinct honor of helping other people build their own paths to freedom and start to unleash their own beauty and brilliance out in the world, my tears of frustration have been replaced by tears of joy and gratitude.

Interestingly, and perhaps not surprisingly, many of the elements of those things that I thought I wanted (i.e. going to business school, traveling the world, performing and entertaining), even though they weren’t pointing me in any particular career direction at the time, were clues to values and passions that were alive and well in me already back then.

I’m happy to be able to say that now, in my business and in my life, I get to do some degree of all those things that make me feel alive. My wish for anyone who is reading this and feeling similarly lost is that you start listening to all the clues, the whispers, and the dreams that are already there, if you get quiet and calm enough to access them.

Top 10 Reasons to Become a Lifestyle Entrepreneur

Before I go into the top 10, let me clarify what I mean by lifestyle entrepreneur, for those of you who might not be familiar with the term. As far as labels go, it’s one that I strongly identify with, and as soon as I heard the term, I claimed it. Hell ya, I am a lifestyle entrepreneur, albeit just a freshman compared to the seniors on campus like Tim Ferris and Chris Guillebeau, who blazed the trail for the rest of us years ago.

What is a lifestyle entrepreneur?
Lifestyle entrepreneurs are simply entrepreneurs who prioritize lifestyle before profit. Are we still interested in profit? Absolutely! Most of us are incredibly money motivated. It’s just that we value freedom and independence more than anything else. We’re crystal clear on our desired lifestyle and build our businesses around those ideals, not just to allow for what’s most important to us, but to support it.

It’s about freedom
Some of us are location independent digital nomads, running businesses we can run from anywhere in the world. Many of us are obsessed with travel and strive to create a freedom lifestyle, where we can live, work, and play while globetrotting freely. For others, it’s about something completely different. Ultimately, though, it’s always about freedom – whatever that means to you.

It’s not easy
Of course, being a lifestyle entrepreneur has its challenges, just like being any kind of entrepreneur. It’s a wild ride that’s probably not for everyone. Most of us take huge risks, fail often, and frequently get the crap kicked out of us. Some people give it a great effort, but eventually walk away because it’s hard and uncomfortable. The ones who end up crushing it usually have some serious grit (unless they just got really lucky).

Here are some of my favorite reasons, for those of you flirting with the idea, to become a lifestyle entrepreneur.

1. Vision + Purpose + Passion
As a lifestyle entrepreneur, you lead with vision, purpose and passion. You’re often called “heart centered” and can’t imagine doing work you don’t love. You step out of your comfort zone frequently and do whatever it takes to build a business, because it lights you up and fills your life with meaning. It’s the work you can’t not do.

2. Authenticity
You get to fly your freak flag. In this type of work, the more authentic you are, the more successful you are. You get to create a business that is an expression, or extension, of who you are. There are no masks to put on or facades to uphold. You just get to be you – the quirky, super weird, real YOU.

3. Freedom
Regardless of what your definition of freedom is, being a lifestyle entrepreneur is all about supporting that. Whether it’s being able to spend time outdoors during the day and working at night, having time to care for elderly parents, spending more time with your kids, or traveling 9 months of the year, YOU get to decide. (And only YOU are responsible for creating it.)

4. Flexibility
A big part of the freedom lifestyle is flexibility. Set your own hours, work when and how you want. If sitting at a desk for 8 hours doesn’t work, maybe you work in 20 minute spurts. Or only on weekends. Or when you feel like it. Or when your golf schedule allows for it. Obviously it depends on what your line of work is, when your clients are available etc., but it’s up to you to set it up in a way that works for you.

5. Location independence
Another big part of the freedom lifestyle is being location independent. If you want to stay home, you can work from home. If you want to be social, you can find a co-working space or coffeeshop. As long as you have wifi, you can work with clients 1:1 over the phone or skype, lead group calls or video conferences, host webinars, and so much more with people anywhere in the world, from anywhere in the world. You also start to really appreciate good wifi.

6. Personal growth
Whether your business is actually about personal growth, like mine is, or is focused on something else entirely (SEO, let’s say), because you are not just doing whatever your line of work is but also figuring out all the different parts of starting and growing a business, you will constantly grow and develop as a human. You’ll fail, learn, grow, rinse, and repeat.

7. Financial independence
While it can be crazy stressful, risky, and humbling in the beginning when you’re dealing with aspects of entrepreneurship like paying for your own health insurance or not having a predictable monthly income, the possibilities are limitless. As a lifestyle entrepreneur, maybe you become an expert at leverage, offering not just 1:1 services, but group programs, information products, and more. Maybe you create multiple streams of passive income.

8. Building a team
In the beginning, most likely you start out by doing everything yourself. Maybe you stay a one person shop, which can work beautifully, or maybe you start outsourcing parts of the business to experts who can do a much better job at whatever it is you’re not great at or don’t enjoy doing, which frees up your time to focus on your favorite parts of the work. With an efficient team, you can leverage yourself even more.

9. Creativity
Most lifestyle entrepreneurs lead unconventional lives. If you are a bit of a rebel, rule breaker, or non-conformist, having creative freedom is incredibly important to you. It’s where you come alive and do your best work. Being your own boss, running your own company, and being a creator out in the world gives you the freedom to be in your zone of genius, and tap into your creative in whichever way you’d like.

10. Impact
You want – no need! – to have an impact, leave a mark, and make the world a better place or help the people in it, in your own unique and brilliant way. It doesn’t matter how big or small the impact is, as a lifestyle entrepreneur it’s an important part of what drives you. Doing work that has no impact not only doesn’t appeal to you, it probably repels you.

In short, being a lifestyle entrepreneur is a challenging, emotional rollercoaster of an adventure that is worth every single second. I’ve only been on the path for a few years, and have a long way to go and many more challenges to get through I’m sure, but I can’t imagine doing anything else now.

If this post stirs something in your heart, don’t ignore it! Honor the whisper in your ear, treat it as a clue, get wildly curious, and explore the possibilities. I dare you.

RIP Scott Dinsmore, a True Legend

Over the weekend I got some terrible news. A bright, shining light in my community – one of my favorite colleagues – had passed away. Today is the day of the week when I publish a blog post, and I can’t imagine writing about anything other than him. Here is my story about Scott and the impact he’s had on my life. For those of you who don’t know about him, I am honored to introduce you to an incredibly inspiring human. For those that do, please take this as an urgent reminder to live a life that you life.

Scott originally came onto my radar back in 2011. As a fellow coach in San Francisco, but one who was light years ahead of me professionally, he quickly became a role model and mentor from afar.

scott-dinsmore-im-fine-thanks-interview

While I never actually met him in person, and he probably wouldn’t have recognized me in the street, we exchanged a few emails and facebook messages and had a ton of friends in common. I would see him running around (literally) in San Francisco all the time, usually at the Lyon Street stairs or down at Crissy Field beach. I always figured our paths would cross one day and I had him on my wish list of coaches, speakers, writers, entrepreneurs, and change makers with whom I might one day share a stage or grow a friendship.

This year, Scott and his wife Chelsea embarked on a world tour. Not only were they traveling the world and having a blast, but they were visiting local chapters of a movement he started several years ago along the way. He inspired me not just professionally as a coach and entrepreneur, but his commitment to community and building something bigger than himself that would touch countless lives has been a big part of my growing desire to do the same.

As of right now, my fiancé and I are planning to do our own world tour next year. Scott and Chelsea’s adventure was a huge part of my inspiration for starting to plan this kind of ambitious journey. I was following their tour with great interest on Facebook and Instagram, taking mental notes and growing increasingly committed to forging a similar path. Here’s a little glimpse into the start of their journey. (Keep watching all the way until the end, for the adorable blooper reel.)

Scott’s words, his work, and his life will live on through the countless souls he touched in his far too short time on this earth.

And now, without further ado, let me introduce you to the man, the legend, Scott Dinsmore. Here are a few of his own words and some from his fans, friends, and followers to give you an idea of who he was.

His famous TEDx talk:

His website / community / movement, Live Your Legend, the accompanying LYL Action and Accountability FB group and his creed:

The-Creed-of-Living-Legends

News of his death spread like wildfire on Facebook and the ensuing onslaught of shared memories, moving stories of the countless ways he touched so many peoples lives, has left me mostly speechless. All I’ve been able to do for the past 18 hours is alternately cry and read more of the outpouring of love coming from all corners of the globe. This man truly inspired people on a soul level and changed lives in the most literal sense.

To read more, check out the Tribute to Scott Dinsmore facebook group, or some of the kind words from his friends Jonathan Mead, Leo Babauta, and Corbett Barr.

RIP, Scott. I didn’t even realize how big of an impact you’d had on my life until you were gone. I promise to do my part in helping your life and your mission to live on. I promise to live MY legend as best I can and inspire others to do the same. And I promise to celebrate your life and carry on so that your light lives on.

Tools I use to run my business

People often ask me which tools I use to run my location independent business. This is something I TOTALLY geek out on, so I love sharing useful resources. In this post, I’m going to give you a breakdown of the tools I’m currently using.

Please note: I periodically update this post to reflect changes in the tools I use or in the tools themselves.

17Hats
17Hats is an elegant and easy to use “all in one business system for entrepreneurs”. Supposedly there is an app coming soon, which I’m excited for. My favorite features are the notes, questionnaires, contracts, email templates, workflows, lead capture, and invoicing. It replaced three other services (CRM, e- signatures, and invoicing) that I was using and paying for separately. They also have bookkeeping, task management, and calendar features.

Acuity
Acuity allows my clients and potential clients to schedule sessions with me online, which saves me a ton of time. It syncs automagically with my google calendars and has lots of handy features. There are bunch of competitors in the space, but Acuity won my nerdy heart over with its charms.

Audible
As much as I love reading actual book books (and sometimes Kindle books), I’ve gotten really into audiobooks. I love that I can listen at 3x the normal speed and get through books while walking, driving, and folding laundry. Plus, it’s very much aligned with my increasingly mobile and minimalist lifestyle preferences.

Boomerang
This gmail plugin is a seriously so useful. It lets you boomerang (snooze) emails until you want them back in your inbox, schedule recurring emails, or send emails at a later time. This helps me keep my inbox neat and tidy and stay on top of followups. Competitors include Followup.cc and Google Inbox, both of which I flirted with heavily. None of them were able to woo me away from my precious Boomerang, however.

Breather
As a mostly virtual business, I have no need for a permanent office space. When I do want to meet someone in person I meet them either in a coffeeshop or in a Breather office. These spaces are gorgeous, have wifi, and are super easy to book through the app. When you get there, you simply unlock the door with a code from the app. Very slick.

Goodreads
I read A LOT. A little bit for pleasure, but mostly for business. Super obsessed with anything related to personal growth, entrepreneurship, lifestyle design, leadership, positive psychology, neuroscience, etc. Goodreads helps me capture and organize my reading list online so I can relax knowing it’s all there and which book comes next. I also use their ‘Add to Goodreads’ Chrome extension, which allows me to add any book from Amazon to my Goodreads list with just a few clicks.

Google Drive
Lots of people rave about Evernote, and I really want to like it because I can undersatnd its appeal. Every time I try to use it, however, I think “…meh” and go back to Google Drive. Maybe it’s just habit, but the simplicity and familiarity of Drive makes me happy. I keep all my notes and files organized into folders here. So many spreadsheets. All nicely organized. Mmmmm.

Gmail
I’m an inbox zero person. Yup. I get down to zero emails in my inbox (almost) every day. Some people think that’s insane. I think those people are insane! Having thousands of emails in my inbox would make my brain shut down and walk out the door in protest because I consider anything in my inbox to be a to do item. Thanks to tools like Boomerang + Gmail’s labeling and archiving system I stay organized. Certain emails never hit my inbox but are labeled and archived in case I want to read them later. If I don’t need to do something with it, why the hell would I want it in my inbox?! I feel strongly about this, can you tell?

Google Calendar
This is probably my most important tool. Everything goes on my calendars. Oh yes, there are several. Appointments with clients and other commitments go in one calendar. Shared activities with my fiance go in another. And I use a third one for tasks I’m intending to do that are flexible and not time bound, like writing or working out. Putting everything important in my calendar helps me take my priorities seriously and is way more effective that just putting them on a to do list, which is a concept I learned recently from this Forbes article. It actually kind of blew my mind. 

Hootesuite
While I do most of my posting on my personal facebook page live (checking in places, posting photos, oversharing about my life in general), I don’t have the bandwidth (or desire) to do that for my business. Hootesuite lets you schedule posts on multiple platforms in advance. I schedule my business stuff (quotes, links to my blog posts and newsletters). I also use Hootlet, which is a free add-on for Chrome, that let’s you share/schedule content directly from wherever you are online. Competitors include Buffer, Edgar, and many many more.

[Update 3/17/16: I’ve now switched over to Meet Edgar, and it’s awesome!]

Macbook Air
I can work from anywhere as long as I have wifi and this puppy is a dream to travel with, whether I’m walking downtown in San Francisco or flying overseas. Feather light, sleek and easily packed, it has everything I need. I keep things really simple, store everything in the cloud, and only have programs on it that I actually use to keep it running fast.

Mailchimp
I love how cheeky they are. Their branding makes me smile. Mailchimp is cool and easy to use. While there are a ton of competitors out there like Aweber, Vertical Response, and Constant Contact for the little guys or Ontraport and Infusionsoft for bigger budgets and more robust needs, these guys and their monkey business give me everything I want for now.

Mint
I fell in love with Mint.com many years ago. Once I opened a business bank account, I feel for them even harder. Instead of constantly logging into my online banking, I can just open the Mint app for a quick glance at my finances. Among other things, you can set goals, categorize transactions, track trends, set budgets, and get notifications when you inevitably overspend on said budgets.

Moonclerk
I used to accept payment via cash, check, PayPal, Venmo, Square, and Square Cash. Once I realized that I wanted to set up recurring monthly charges, I did some research and came across this gorgeous solution. It’s been an absolute dream. You can easily create beautiful, customizable forms and set up basically any configuration of payment you want. As you may have guessed, I’m a total snob when it comes to user experience (both for me and for my clients) as well as super picky when it comes to look and feel. It has to be intuitive AND pretty! Moonclerk delivers. And leaves an expensive chocolate on your pillow, to boot.

Things
It’s not the fanciest of systems out there, but I’ve been using Things for years. It’s where I capture, prioritize, and organize all my to do’s into projects and areas of focus. It’s where I hurriedly type up all my batshit crazy ideas, before my inner critic has the chance to judge and dismiss them. It’s part of the holy trinity that rules my day to day life: gmail + google calendar +Things.

Skype
While I still see a few clients in person, most of my business is now virtual. Sessions are usually by phone, but Skype is great for international clients or anyone who prefers the whole video conferencing thing. I’ve used Facetime, Zoom, and Google Hangouts, which are all fine and good, but Skype somehow always comes out on top, both in terms of fewer technical issues and just people being familiar with it.

Webinar Ninja
I did a ton of research on webinar platforms and wasn’t particularly impressed with any of the options out there. Until I found Webinar Ninja. It’s new, cutting edge, and had all the features I was looking for. Given it’s newness, there are glitches as with any new technology, but I am an early adopter so I don’t mind.

WordPress
I use wordpress.org (not to be confused with wordpress.com) for my website, but to be honest I don’t love it. I use it because it’s the industry standard. And I use Blue Host to host it, also because it’s recommended by people I trust. I made my travel website on Squarespace, which is way slicker and easier, but for business I wanted to stick with what syncs and integrates best with everything else.

Yelp
As a consumer, I rely on Yelp not just for reading reviews before visiting a business, but also as a way to discover new stuff. It’s just a regular part of my life. As a business, though, Yelp has been an even more helpful tool. Much of my business has come from people finding me there. Obviously it depends on the business, but for a lot of service providers, people expect you to have a Yelp page, and I love that they can find me there.

So that’s my current set up! I thought I would also include these two tools that I’m considering using in the future. They’re on my wish list for now, but I’m tempted.

Bench
Having a high tech, easily accessible bookkeeping team feels very attractive to me! I love the idea of having everything streamlined and digital on their end and being able to send everything to an accountant in an organized way. Currently I am my own bookkeeper (did I mention the spreadsheets?) and my own accounting department (me and my buddy TurboTax, that is) and let’s just say it’s not my favorite way to spend my time. Can’t wait to outsource that shit!

[Update 3/17/16: I signed up with Bench at the end of 2015 and LOVE them!]

Legal Shield
Luckily, as a small business, I haven’t needed a lawyer for anything yet, but as my business grows, I want to make sure I’ve got a solid legal team. Since I plan to be on the road a lot, I don’t need to find one based anywhere in particular, so the virtual access to a team of lawyers who can answer my questions is appealing. Maybe next year!

This combination of tools is working for me right now, but I’m always on the lookout for new technologies and systems that might help me simplify, automate, or optimize my business operations. I hope you found this list helpful and if YOU have any favorites that you want to share with my readers, feel free to list them in the comments below.