Commitment & Outgrowing Freelancers

In the last one week – literally – three awesome freelancers that I felt GREAT about have all told me “I’m not available anymore at this time, I’m too busy, so many clients” (some of which I helped them get) “…but in a few weeks I’m happy to help you with strategy advice.” 

For a moment I felt myself getting grumpier and grumpier about it. Grrr!! But then I used one of my favorite tools: Curiosity.  Hm. What does this mean? My frustration is a sign that I’m projecting. With projections, we think the problem is other people…. but actually, it’s us. We’re outgrowing something about ourselves, and it’s showing up as something irritating about others. Use this mirror, I thought.

Then it was so obvious – wow! The universe is really trying to tell me something! This is a clear wake-up call about how I’ve been treating myself and my business… which is clearly entering some new level where it needs a new level of support. So do I. And the support I need is for me to support myself. How can I support myself to do what I do with greater presence and ease?

How important it is for me to commit to people. When I only seek on-call help, of course, I can’t expect great people to be there every time I call – because I’m not committed fully to them, of course, they need to be on call for everyone! 

This “half-in” model of employing freelancers used to work great for me, when I had time to thoughtfully coordinate projects like new websites or launches, more time to do some of it myself, more time to approve and edit work before passing it on to the next contractor who needed it. But now that it includes designers, writer, developer, social media person, strategists, email marketers, ugh, it’s just way too many people for my otherwise simple business). 

In the last year what I’ve really committed to is living primarily in my zone of genius. For me, that’s coaching and facilitating and helping leaders create amazing world-changing organizations. I’ve been living this commitment by showing up for my clients. Ergo, I’m not committed to investing the time needed to play the marketing coordinator role I used to play anymore.

With this clarity, I am realizing that the commitment needs to come from ME. I need to commit to MYSELF. To my business. To my impact. To my mission. To take that scary leap of faith and HIRE the person I need to live the life and create the impact I want. I can’t “hedge” my way towards my audacious dreams.

I have shared my strategy brief with so many people, investing so much time in explaining it to so many people. While some have helped in the short term, none of them have worked out as a long-term partner because ultimately this is just not what they want to DO. The fact is that I don’t even have time to check my text messages a lot of the time (a sign that I’m needing a shift), much less do I have time to take yet another meeting and explain it all over again. I’m ready to find more permanent help – a long-term partnership.

I am finally ready to commit to people and have them commit to me… and there’s a business case for it.

I’m still working out the job description for this writer-producer-wordpress-social-marketing-and-project-manager, but what’s clear is that my person either:

1. Works only with me (especially if they don’t work full-time), or

2. Works only with me + one other client (and then, only if they truly work full-time)

They also can’t want to be a coach like me someday. This job needs to be the job they really want – it’s their career, not a stepping stone or side gig. They need to take over my role of being the hub of the wheel of all of these difference freelancers so that I can go back to doing what I’m great at, and so that I’m not the bottleneck in EVERYTHING about scaling my business. If I keep hiring in a half-in way (me and them) then I will never scale and have the massive impact on the world I want to have.

If you have any advice or ideas for me about that I’d love to hear it! And if you want to be that person we can talk about that too.  



Motherhood changed my perspective—and elevated my career

Back in January, I wrote about why I was ready to be braver this year. That post was me saying ‘this is going to be a big year for me.’ Ten months later, I can confidently say I was right. I transformed my coaching and consulting company, Kickass Enterprises, and it continues to transform my life. I reexamined many of the goals I held at the beginning of the year. Many of these have morphed as I’ve learned more about myself and connected more fully with my passion. I want to update you on that here and share some of what I learned from going all in and changing the way I do business.

My ah-ha moment(s)

My first son prompted me to leave my job as a professor at the London School of Economics and move my family back to California to return to my first love—working with startups (which I surprisingly found to be more friendly to women than academia).

This time motherhood prompted me to hone my focus even more.

As I was holding my three-week-old daughter, Arrow, in my arms in the middle of the night almost a year ago, I had a revelation. I was wrestling with the fact that I was already itching to get back to work, while I was simultaneously aware that every moment of that short newborn period is so precious and delicious that there’s nothing worth doing more than savoring and enjoying it. When you’re priorities are so clear, you achieve a preternatural insight into yourself and your goals. I remember thinking— “Whatever I choose to go back to doing, it better be f**king worth it.”

This post on Medium is written by another women in tech, who during her maternity leave also thought deeply about how she spends her time and how she wants to improve it. Maternity leave is not a ‘break’, but it is a big shift — a change in both your day-to-day and in your lifelong identity which creates a different level of perspective. You are forced by the nature of early motherhood to stay fully present. You must be tuned into your body and the emotions and needs of another in a complete way. This presence creates space to consider things in a new light. It helps you see opportunity, and engage in radical self inquiry. In fact, it forces you to do this.

Leaning into my strength

My mission is to help creative people and entrepreneurs bring their vision and ideas into the world. And, thanks to the perspective I gained during my maternity leave, I was able to realize that 90% of the value I was creating for clients was coming from about 5% of the time I was spending with them. Coaching was actually something I was sneaking in back door of my consulting practice at that point. I was doing growth strategy, and, upon examining my successes with clients, I found that the biggest business growth came when the founder was able to unlock their own potential, to explore their deeper fears, to lean into the most challenges aspects of their humanity and their leadership. It was time for me to take the advice I have given founders so many times and cut out the features that only diluted my offering, and reduce complexity in order to serve more powerfully. So, I decided to pivot towards authenticity: ‘What if I strip away everything non-essential and only do the 5% that creates profound value— the coaching?’

While I still do strategy and organizational design, I now do it through coaching startup execs and founders. Calling myself a “coach” was difficult as first. But that was silly, frightened, ego stuff. Worth feeling, but not being guided by. Because it’s only when the leaders I work with are open to deep personal transformation that any other strategies and tactics would make any difference. For most leaders, unlocking growth and creating an epic company that fulfills their deepest vision is not an A to B process, but rather a personal shift in perspective that allows them to unlock the creativity and courage necessary for them to catalyze business growth. Great work is a spiritual journey.

Find your passion

I am excited to introduce you to this new shift in my business. By deciding to be pure and honest in what I’m offering, I have been able to kickstart growth for my clients. And once I started doing this, growth started happening for me and for my business, too. Here’s a post about what happens when you connect fully with your purpose, inspired by what happened to me when I had the space and time to be fully present and achieve this. Check it out and see if it resonates with you. And if you’re interested in working with me to unlock your creativity and step into your full power, you can get in touch with me here.