Well hello there! It has been a hot minute (and by that I mean: a hot three and a half months) since I wrote anything for the blog. I’ve been spending some time thinking about what role I want the different elements of my business and content to serve, and for a while I’ve been stymied with the blog. I’ve always had this desire to share monthly recap posts here, where I dive into everything I’ve been working on, learning, unraveling and creating in both my life and my business, but for some reason, I’ve never given myself permission to write about those things in this space. And yet, I’m realizing that’s what I’m being called to do here now. So my plan for the blog, at least for the next little while – is to share a “month in review” post at the end of each month. In these posts, I’ll give you a recap of my greatest takeaways from the month past – in both my professional and personal life – that I hope will be insightful for you as well.
I know some of you reading these are business owners and creatives yourself – so I’ll be sure to include a section on the nuts and bolts of my business down at the bottom – but my intention is for the rest of these posts to resonate with anyone, regardless of how you spend your days and what your work looks like.
Since this is a new format, I would love to know what you think. Please message me over on Instagram @kelseymech to let me know if you enjoyed reading this and if it’s something you’d like me to continue, or if there are specific things you’d like to hear more about!
Month in Review: May 2021
May was the month I crawled out of the pit of fear that I had stumbled into in the early spring. At the beginning of May, I was feeling mired in anxiety and fear. I had just turned down a teaching contract for this summer and wrapped up another contract I was holding. This meant that May was the first month that I was actually 100% responsible for my own income in my business, and fully self-employed.
I had taken this step in order to prioritize having more space to work on the long term vision for my business and to focus on my creative projects. I think I also wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. But it brought up so much fear for me at the beginning of the month, fear I’ve been grappling with over the past few weeks.
Now, reflecting on this month past, I’m so proud of the shifts I have made in regard to those fears and the actual sense of ease I am finally settling into, although I anticipate many more bumps along the road, but it’s been a roller coaster of a month.
My Intentions For May Were To:
- Rebuild a sense of trust and connection to the heart and soul of my business
- Reconnect with play and my inner child
- Continue to foster a regular creative practice and honour my inner artist
Here’s How That’s Gone:
I’ve spent the month settling into the idea of being fully self-employed. I’ve been revisiting how I can make that work in a way that also allows me to step outside of hustle culture. I’ll share a breakdown of what my business looks like right now at the bottom of this post for those of you who are interested. I’ve been tracking the hours I spend in my business – about 30 hours a week, and making notes on what feels good to me and what doesn’t. I’ve been trying to set more rigid boundaries around how many clients I’ll see in a given week, or how many meetings I’ll book. This is something I struggle with, since most of my income still comes from one-on-one client work, but I know there is also a limit to how many hours I can spend doing that work while still feeling well. I’m working to unravel toxic expectations that I should be able to see 15-20 clients a week (I know many therapists who do this, but this is all they do), when the reality given the constellation of my business is that I can only see about 8.
I’ve been trying to shift the metrics with which I measure the success of my business from being rooted in how much money I earn, to instead focusing on how well I feel. For the last two and a half years, I’ve run my business with the primary goal being to earn X number of dollars each month. But instead, I’m trying to focus my main goal on feeling good in my life and my business, and then seeing if I create an ideal structure and system for me, if that’s something I can sustain financially.
It’s been fascinating to see just how much my self-worth is wrapped up in how much money I make and how productive I am, and I’ve been shocked by how bought into the norms and narratives of capitalism my entire worldview is – despite the fact that I talk about this with others all the time. I’m slowly starting to unravel this, bit by bit, but I’ve really come to a newfound awareness of this all throughout May.
In terms of connecting to my inner child and my creativity, I’m also feeling excited about how this has gone. I joined a group that meets every week to work through The Artist’s Way, and have rekindled my love of morning pages and Artist Dates. Writing three pages in my journal first thing every morning has been transformative for me in helping me ground and clear out the clutter before my day begins. And once a week I’ve been taking myself out to do something fun, just for me. These dates have included everything from picking out a stack of kids books at the library, to taking myself out for a coffee and journaling date, to buying stickers and a favourite dessert from my childhood. I’m certainly noticing how this is starting to stoke the fires of my creativity and desire for play again, and I’m excited that we’ll be diving into these themes deeper throughout the summer in my membership community Wellspring as well. I love the synchronicity of how this timing just always seems to align and constantly find myself teaching what I most need to learn.
And finally, in terms of creativity, I’ve been picking away at the big project I’m working on, which I’ll briefly touch on here. I am writing a nonfiction book proposal. There, I officially said it in public! This is a task that I underestimated both the breadth and depth of. I started back in January and figured I would whip it together in a couple of months. But five months later I am still deep in the trenches. I am making progress, and the finish line is in sight; my hope is to be querying agents in the summer (so if you’ve got connections, let me know). But I’m spending hours each week focused on this, instead of other tasks and content creation in my business, which also explains why I’ve been a little more quiet recently.
What I’m Celebrating:
- I feel more trust in my business than I have in a long time, perhaps ever. Much thanks goes to Azalea Moen, my coach, who has been supporting me through this process.
- I’m shifting to more of my one-on-one work being on the business mentoring and creative coaching side and I am loving it. I am working with a handful of clients right now who are building their own businesses and/or creative endeavours and it’s lighting me up so much to get to support this work.
- Wellspring has become a beautiful and bountiful supportive community that is taking on a life of its own as members begin to co-create the space more and more with me. I am thrilled with how it is unfolding.
- In May I also launched a free Anxiety Awareness mini-course that you can check out here.
Where I’m Struggling:
- Everything I shared above still feels so new and tenuous. I feel like I’m on this constant tipping point where I can fall either into the safety net of self-trust, or into the fear, urgency and reactivity that has been my norm for so long. It doesn’t feel steady yet. I don’t have my balance yet. More and more I’m making choices that tip me in the direction I want to be headed, but I’m still very much in the process of collecting evidence that it will all be okay.
- I’m also noticing so much urgency within me. I have ideas for what’s next in my business that I’m excited to launch and share with the world, but I’m at full capacity now. I’m noticing a desire to do it all, right now, and am struggling with impatience. But I’m trying to remember that I have a whole lifetime to do this work; it doesn’t all have to happen right now.
- I’m also still having a hard time with comparison on Instagram. I’ve experimented with muting the vast majority of people in my industry who I follow to quiet the comparisonitis I feel on that platform, but this is an ongoing battle and I’m working on getting my IG groove back so I can stay in my own lane.
What’s Coming Up in June:
- I’m opening the doors to Wellspring again, which I’m so thrilled about. It’s exciting to have an offering that I am truly so passionate about and proud of, and that feels so in alignment and integrity to me. I’m going to keep the doors-open period very short – only three days – as I don’t have the energy for another full launch.
- I’m also going to be focused on finishing the third sample chapter for my book proposal, which means a lot of research and deep diving into capitalism and the history of our current work structure and culture. I’ve been starting my days this week with research before I dive into my work day, and I’m heavily nerding out on it all.
- I’ll be recording my last few episodes of The Unraveled Life podcast before we take a summer break from July-August. It’s been so fun to have more guests joining me on this podcast recently – and I also know I need a break and to prioritize carving out more time for writing. But there will be 24 episodes ready for you to catch up on here.
- I’m holding steady with my existing client load and not letting myself take on any new business mentoring or therapy clients until July, so I can have some space to settle and breathe. I’ll likely only have one spot opening up in July so if you want to snag it, let me know.
- I’m planning on continuing with morning pages every day and Artist Dates every week. I’m really on a mission to find my joy and figure out what makes me happy and keeps me feeling resourced and well. The more I lean into that, the more I find it easier to step out of the fear that has kept me trapped for so long. So June will be a month of continuing to show up for joy, for my inner child, and start leaning into the summer energy that is certainly bubbling forth here.
My Intentions for June:
- Write more.
- Play more.
- Worry less.
(That seems ambitious. But I’ll let you know how it goes!)
Nuts and Bolts:
In case you’re interested in the biz side of things, here’s a breakdown of what I spent my time doing and how I earned my money in May. I think it’s critical that we stop stigmatizing conversations around money. It doesn’t need to be taboo, and the more we talk openly about it, the more we take power away from the broader systems that want us all to keep it hushed and quiet so we’re constantly in competition with one another.
THE COST TO RUN MY BUSINESS THIS MONTH:
$1300. This includes paying my business assistant, my physical office space, online programs and tools I use, paying for the guest teacher in Wellspring, and paying my business coach – which yes, is a business expense.
MAY OFFERINGS AND INCOME IN MY BUSINESS:
- Wellspring membership community: currently has 34 members.
- One-on-one therapy clients – I had 15 individual client sessions, which is lower than usual as I took the first week of May off and had a number of cancellations.
- Business mentoring and creative coaching clients – I’m currently working with five amazing one-on-one clients.
- Courses and evergreen programs – 8 people signed up for my Embrace Your Inner Child course and 2 people for my Work of Healing Anxiety course
My total revenue from my business this month (before expenses and taxes) was $5696.
On top of this, I also offer the following for free: episodes of The Unraveled Life podcast, bi-weekly email letters (which you can sign up for here), and all the content I provide on Instagram.
This month I also provided the free Anxiety Awareness mini-course I mentioned above.
That’s It! The First Monthly Recap.
I’d love to know what you think. What did you find interesting? What do you want to know more about? How can I make these more helpful or improve future month-in-review posts? I’d love to know! Come share your thoughts over on Instagram @kelseymech.
I’ll tune back in at the end of June with an update.