Business 101 Blog

Three Common Denominators of Small Business Failure! (Originally posted on Forbes, by Brianna Wiest)

Tawn Holstra Auston

In our Launch Like a Pro! From Vision to First Customers in 100 Days, we are intense about some things… your big vision, creating an amazing offer, and creating structures that really allow you to grow your business (and not get trapped in it), and engaging real potential customers (market research).

We use all sorts of resources, The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, Profit First , The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer, Owning Our Future by Marjorie Kelly, and others because no one builds a business in a vacuum.

Every once in a while, our message is said so perfectly that it is a powerful reinforcement that there are some parts of building a business that take consistent work. They are not a one and done item, but a blooming from a bud to a blossom and each stage is perfect in its own way.

Building a business is not a predictable path, but a journey into the bright blue yonder and it is all created by you and your vision! We teach success, and it is not a mystery —

Brianna Wiest wrote a blog recently, Small Businesses that Fail in the First Year Always Have These 3 Things in Common and it is well worth sharing!

If You Want to Read More on starting your own business read: Three Ways to Know It is Time To Start Your Own Business

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Pick up your free copy of The 9 Costliest Mistakes Creatives Make in Business!   

I speak from experience!

I started my first Creative Business when I was a single mom with four tiny children.   That was 25 years ago and I started Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to give back.  I am so grateful for all the support did get while I was getting started, but more than anything I wished I had some business support, some mentoring or guidance.    I want you to know that I get how hard, confusing, and challenging it can be to be alone and have real questions with no one to ask.

Please accept this FREE 30 Minute Creative Business Consult as my way of saying “You Can Do It!”

  • Ask anything you need to know!
  • Get important, reliable resources for whatever you need
  • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
  • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
  • Feel supported

Read More

Are you Working in an OLD Business Model?

Tawn Holstra Auston

There is a new model of business emerging…   

In the traditional model of business it would look something like this:  The ambitious entrepreneur has a dream, a vision of their future and they want to make it real.   So they make a business plan,  get a lease, buy inventory or licenses, do a build out, get all the brochures printed, website done, flyers, etc. 

They will then get a banner for the front, schedule their Grand Opening, and start large!   Then they wait.  And wait, and wait… customers will come in and they feel good… when it is quiet (as a morgue) they clean, keep busy making the place look amazing, and wait some more.  

After a few months of this, they will think they should advertise.  That will fix the issue. Only it doesn’t and it is very expensive.    

In this model, all the risk is on the entrepreneur, and it is considerable.  

The New Emergent Model: 

Starts with a dream!   The entrepreneur’s dreams and passion are the driving force of the new model.   A simple website with a blog allows them to share their passion and start to attract people who really enjoy their content.     It can be as narrow as Dog Clothes… you might love dressing dogs and your new business is doggie wardrobe!    The blog would be about all things doggie related.   Yes, clothes, but more important than that are the adventures, the happenings with dogs…  after a few months of this, your little list will grow and your people will start commenting on your pictures and other content…

As they get to know you, they send questions and challenges to you – they ask you things they want to know. 

Feedback Loops:

The comments your people make are a form of feedback.   If you listen closely, they start to give you what they like, what they don’t like,  What they LOVE, and what they hate… and all this feedback is invaluable to the your next move.     

Making Offers:  

With educated guess work, you will start to make offers to your dog lovers for dog clothes that you love, and dog clothes that your people have said they liked!     From their comments and from watching the analytics on what they share and talk about the most, you start to compile profiles for your most engaged followers and pick items that they are most likely to buy…  

Love ‘em up! 

When not making offers they appreciate, you send them love — little notes with tips on how to personalize their dog collars, or how to fluff Fido’s mane for great pictures — or visit an event and  send them behind the scenes pictures of their favorite breeds!      You are starting to really understand your customer and they are leaning in —    It’s a beautiful thing.   

Why This Works: 

Besides the fact that you start with your dream and passion, then figure in it costs almost nothing, and you are starting at a pace you can actually manage —   but the cherry on top is that your fan base already loves you when you start send them your offers.    It might take a year, and it would be worth it.   

Why it works is because you are building a relationship with them beyond “getting a customer”.   You are building your tribe from nothing.  You are also building your tribe while you are figuring out your message, building our brand, and designing your offers!     By the time you are ready, so are your followers.    

Other Crazy Benefits of the New Model:  

At the end of the year, if you have had been blogging weekly, you will have 52 installments towards a book, with a built in audience who already appreciates your work!    

You can work from anywhere, you can start at any time!   You can have a job and start slow.  You can go full out and blog every day for a year to go faster —  the real benefit is that you have all the power. 

As you grow your readership, you can find (or they will find you) sponsors that want to pay you to review products!    What?!  That’s right!   When you have a niche readership that loves what you do other businesses that serve that customer will want access to them.    The best way to do that is by cherry picking the products you test and honestly review them.   Your honesty builds more trust and your customers will share!  

The real investment is your time, your thoughts and passion, and your heart…  you can build at your own pace (as long as you are consistent) and it will work.    You are never at risk of losing everything or making a fatal error —   

If You Want to Read More on Blogging Your Way to Business read: Is It Too Late to Start a Blog and Why Would I Bother?

FREE For You!

I speak from experience!

I started my first Creative Business when I was a single mom with four tiny children.   That was 25 years ago and I started Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to give back.  I am so grateful for all the support did get while I was getting started, but more than anything I wished I had some business support, some mentoring or guidance.    I want you to know that I get how hard, confusing, and challenging it can be to be alone and have real questions with no one to ask.

Please accept this FREE 30 Minute Creative Business Consult as my way of saying “You Can Do It!”

  • Ask anything you need to know!
  • Get important, reliable resources for whatever you need
  • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
  • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
  • Feel supported
Read More

Is Poverty Heal-able ?

Consider that poverty, or being poor, is a state of being.   As a state of being we can alter it at any time.  

Tawn Holstra Auston

                                                  Tawn Holstra Auston

Is poverty healable?   

Why wouldn’t it be?    Is being poorer than your neighbors, or living in “those” neighborhoods so horrible that you think it is part of who you are?    Does not having the newest dress, or the newest electronic toy have such a negative impact on you that you think less of yourself or your parents, or your friends, or your children?  

Why are we so confused about money that we think how much money we have makes us less than others?  

It is true that money makes life easier, less stressful, and can make it more enjoyable.   It is equally true that there are many wealthy people who are not happy or fulfilled by their life.   It simply does not add up that having a Gameboy means that you are a better person, or not having one means that you are not a good person, worthy of trust, love, opportunity, or value.     

“We’re not poor, we just don’t have any money!” was my mother’s constant response to poverty shamers…

Is poverty healable?   Yes, in all ways.  Why?  Because it is not about you at all.    Not having money, means you don’t have money and that is completely fixable!     Not having as much money as someone else will likely always be the case.   There will, almost certainly,  be someone in the world that has more than you, on the Forbes Wealthiest List, for example, no matter how much you make.    So having more than anyone else is not the game;  Not having enough to “do what you “want” when you want it”;  that is also not likely to make the feeling go away.  Why, because it is not about the money!!  

How you feel about your life and what’s possible for you, it is not about money!

No really, how you feel about you and your life, what’s possible for you and your family, who you can be in the world, the contribution you can make…  how you feel about these things is not about money.   It is entirely about how you “be” about money;  money is a tool, like a hammer.     

Money is one of the things you will likely have to acquire to accomplish your dreams, but that is true about every entrepreneur that has ever walked the earth…   The gap between “I have a great idea!”  or “ I have a dream to go to _(fill in the blank)____”  is the same gap that Sir Richard Branson had when he started his first record store.   It is the same gap that most folks have to deal with as they build a bridge from where they are now to where they want to be.     

So, What’s the Difference Between You and a Successful Entrepreneur?

What’s the real difference between you and a successful entrepreneur (and I use entrepreneur since these are the people who consistently dream and then tackle making their dreams real), and you is that they are consciously recognizing the self-limiting thoughts that are dictating your future.    

So, is poverty healable?    Completely and totally heal-able… without question, yes…  

Now what?   

If You Want to Read More on Healing Poverty and Moving Ahead read : Lessons From My Mother: Entrepreneurship Starts at Home

I speak from experience…

I started my first Creative Business when I was a single mom with four tiny children.   That was 25 years ago and I started Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to give back.  I am so grateful for all the support did get while I was getting started, but more than anything I wished I had some business support, some mentoring or guidance.    I want you to know that I get how hard, confusing, and challenging it can be to be alone and have real questions with no one to ask.

Please accept this FREE 30 Minute Creative Business Consult as my way of saying “You Can Do It!”

What You Can Use Your Call For:
  • Ask anything you need to know!
  • Get important, reliable resources for whatever you need
  • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
  • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
  • Feel supported
Read More

Uncovering Your Subtle Self Sabotage & How to Intervene

Tawn Holstra Auston

In the Tarot, there is a card called the Tower of Destruction.   For many it is a scary card, predicting a huge disruption in our future.   What most people don’t see in the more subtle aspects of the card is that the disruption is caused… we are at the heart of it.   The card is saying it is time for us to shake things up… change old crusty behaviors that no longer serve us.      According to the Tarot Handbook, by Ariel Angeles, the card is about “healing and restoration, but first, it is a symbol of the change and awakening that is required to dismantle that which is artificial, false, or conditioned.”

Our focus is all about our unconscious habits that are undermining our growth, both business and personal.    

Definitions:         Unconscious:  What we are unaware of

Habits:  Those thoughts and actions we do over and over, and over, whether they are  good for us or not.  

So how do we find and eliminate our own unconscious habits? 

Especially, those behaviors that we don’t discover until after we have started our new business and we are up to our ass in alligators?   Are you laying the track to your own train wreck with your unconscious behaviors or bad habits?

How to break bad habits is one of the tougher tasks of being an entrepreneur.  Mostly because we don’t always see them until we have been doing them for a while.   

First, a few important and ground breaking insights into habits as they relate to being human! 

  •  Habits are whole system phenomena    — they do not occur in a vacuum, so there is more than one aspect to most habits.   They include thoughts, activities, timing, moods, and sometimes sounds or smells.   Plus, habits wear grooves in our software AND our hardware.  

Even new violins produce better sound and become better instruments by being played by an expert, a virtuoso – they get accustomed to the extraordinary vibration and the vibration changes the cellular structure of the wood.     Amazing right?!! 

  • Habits are not all bad… we love habits and having things become second nature to us.   Typing is a behavior we are trained to; language, driving, all are really great habits we have taken years to build.   Any mastery you have is a habit you have intentionally developed.    Congratulations!   
  • Habits are a type of hypnosis we cast on ourselves.    At first the habits work and we love having them, but if you find yourself trying to change a behavior that does not serve you anymore, than you have a bad habit.   No one makes us smoke, or bite our nails, or give up on our dreams.    We do all of that through the choices we make yet we act as if it was happening to us through some outside power.    Huh?  
  • Not all habits are obvious.   Some are, nail biting, being late, leaving cabinet doors open, clutter, etc.   Some are much more subtle.   Things like, being over busy or over committing, putting things off with a great justification, not doing complete work, doing work that does not make the most mission critical work your fledgling company needs done… 
  • Human behavior is extremely malleable throughout our whole life.    What?!   Yup, that’s right!  We can change anything at any time… like Dorothy in Munchkin Land, we just have to be ready for the responsibility of being in charge of our own future.     

Ok, so if this is all true, how do we break our unwanted behaviors?   

How to break bad habits is one of the tougher tasks of being an entrepreneur.  Mostly because we don’t always see them until we have been doing them for a while.   

A super common and hugely impactful habit that I had for many years was to put off tasks that emerged during the day until I had more time. 

In the moment,  I did not think I should stop what I was doing and deal with whatever just popped up because it would take me off what I was already doing… What I learned was sometimes you need to re-evaluate the issue that popped up and at least put it in a schedule for WHEN it WILL get done, or it never gets done.    

Why this is subtle habit is because I really thought that I would get to it later.  I also thought  that being overly busy would end one day when I had more success, or had sold my business, or retired… it was always a someday thing that I dangled in front of my own face – my dream life did not include working like a mad woman, but there I was, every day.    

Waking up to the fact that I had put things off until later a thousand+ times before and it always produced the same results, I saw it was time to recognize that more time is never coming!    The bad habit was pretending I would have more time one day.   I accepted that I was lying to myself and it was ruining my peace of mind.  That unconscious behavior was the path to running around like a chicken with its head cut off, which I did for years and just thought that was how it was supposed to look when you are super effective entrepreneur.   Busy, busy, busy.  

So every time I decided to put something off, I would remember I was choosing to be insane and overwhelmed  in a couple of weeks and I was painting myself into a corner for more things to “need” to be put off then too.  

So how did I change that behavior?  Make a New One!!

I made a new one…obviously, issues still came up, something would happen during the day, the phone would ring and it would be something that needed to be done.  The new habit I started was taking the time to schedule it, right then.    I keep a calendar on my desk so that I could check it immediately.    It took an extra 2 minutes, but it also kept my days to normal work lengths and I had the confidence that everything was going to get done in a timely manner and nothing would get neglected or forgotten.    

How Can You Get Started

I would suggest you journal your behaviors… write every day for at least 10 minutes for a couple of months and see what behaviors you have every day… places to look:

  • Morning routines
  • Lunch routines
  • Dinner routines
  • How do you handle your money?  Habits of shopping, saving, investing, or gift giving
  • When do you work? 
  • Your most creative time of day is____________
  • When do you exercise?  
  • When and how do you create meal plans?  
  • When and how do you do your research?   Dig deeper into what you are working on?  
  • When do you read?  
  • How do you keep track of ideas?    Notes you take?   Things you want and/or dream about?

All of these areas have many repetitive activities that may or may not serve you or fulfill your dream life goals.    So consider taking them on, one at a time — start slow, the cravings, the unconsciousness will surface loud and proud, so taking on more than one at a time will likely set you up for failure.    Start with one important habit that will give you a new level of mastery over power to accomplish your goals.  

For more reading on Causing Breakthroughs read: Dealing With Frustration and Despair

I started my first Creative Business when I was a single mom with four tiny children.   That was 25 years ago and I started Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to give back.  I am so grateful for all the support did get while I was getting started, but more than anything I wished I had some business support, some mentoring or guidance.    I want you to know that I get how hard, confusing, and challenging it can be to be alone and have real questions with no one to ask.

Please accept this FREE 30 Minute Creative Business Consult as my way of saying “You Can Do It!” Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t!!

What You Can Use Your Call to Accomplish:

  • Ask anything you need to know!
  • Get important, reliable resources for whatever you need
  • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
  • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
  • Feel supported

For any help, comments, or questions reach us at info@business101forcreativeentrepreneurs.com

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Lessons From My Mother – Entrepreneurship Starts at Home

Lessons From My Mother –  Entrepreneurial Training Begins at Home

My mother had me when she was 17.   She used to say, we grew up together, and at times it was very much like that.   As most mom’s do, she gave me so much more than I can ever thank her for, and there are some lessons that completely shaped who I am today and the kind of person I try to always be. 

We were very poor when I was a kid.  I did not realize that until much later in my life.  It was not until I was in middle school that I noticed a big divide between what other kids had and what I had.   I never noticed people treating me differently until I was about 7 when I was not invited to parties at school, or when I could not go on field trips because they cost money.    Ten years later, she was a world class Casting Director in Los Angeles, ultimately, being awarded an Emmy and Golden Globe for her work on Thirty Something and the Band Played On, respectively.

There are so many lessons in being effective; how to treat people; and never giving up; that if I shared them all this article would be a book.   So I will share with you the ones that I use most. 

Here goes!   

Lesson #1:  Never Listen to Anyone!

My Amazing Mom

What it takes to make your way in the world as a creative entrepreneur takes enormous courage and grit.   It is not hard but it can be intense.   To make it worse, everyone has an opinion and when you are working your butt off and eating potatoes and tuna fish twice a day, it can be very tempting to cave and listen to those boohoo’ers who say you should give up and get a job!   Don’t Do It!!  People always have opinions and always will.  About what?  Everything!   About what you should be doing, what is good work, what is too hard… from everything and anything.  People have their ideas about what is too risky and too threatening.   

What they are really telling you, from their profound love of you, is what is too scary, too risky, too threatening for them!    Don’t listen to anyone because they cannot walk in your shoes or speak from your lips.  And most certainly, they don’t see your vision.   Only you can make those choices and you are sometimes going to be wrong, and you will get through it.     

It means doing your own homework to find out what works and what doesn’t.  It means making choices that are not always comfortable and being out on the skinny branches more than most.   Let me remind you that that is where the fruit is! 

When I started opening businesses, (I opened my first business when I was 6 and it was an art gallery in a fifth floor walk-up in NY), I found that people had lots of ideas about how I should do business.   

The benefit of this incredibly critical lesson has been that I trust my instincts and do my own homework to learn what works and what doesn’t.   Other people’s fears are not going to get in my way and I truly hope they don’t get in yours either.   If they do, go to lesson #2!  

 

Lesson #2:  You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind To! 

I was privileged to grow up with a super young (17 when I was born), super smart, artistic mom who read a lot.   Edgar Cayce was one of her favorites and she said a lot of things to me like, Mind Over Matter, and Make It Happen! 

I took this to heart at a very young age by learning to include my strong emotions and physical sensations that frequently accompany big adventures (like starting a dream business) and new activities, like speaking in public or travelling alone.   This took a lot of practice and still does.   Not having my fears overwhelm my other commitments took so much at times that I would feel faint, or not be able to stop crying.   You know what I did?   I cried through my introduction in front of the room.   I learned to have my emotions and bring them along with me, but not stop me.   At times they were not light, and with practice they travel more lightly now, but at times still get me.  

The benefit has been growing through what would have been crippling shyness to be a speaker and leader in my field.   When I first started leading programs and doing talks, I always had another leader in the back of the room, just in case I really did die in front of the room (as my imagination told me I would)!   I used to tell people, because it was true, that there was a time I could not lead 3 people in silent prayer.   Within a few years I was leading programs for hundreds of people at a time.    This was a dream and it only happened because of these 2 lessons…

Lesson #3   Respect:  Treat Others As You Would Like to Be Treated (my add on – As You Would Treat Your Best Friend’s Mom)

This is a more complex lesson, mostly because it unfolds in many ways.   

One, I learned to be kind to other living things and let them be the way they are.   Cats should not go in bathtubs full of water and sisters may need more hugs than I do.   Learning to respect others’ space and their natural ways allows me to be patient with other people’s learning and to be patient with myself as I make mistakes and clean them up.     We are all human and all life matters.   I strive to treat everyone like family.    

Two, I learned that relationships take time and attention.   I learned to take a beat before rushing up to a dog to say hello.  Dogs are not all friendly and meeting them takes real attention.    As a young child, I also connected this to people.   You cannot rush across the playground and just barge in to others kids who are playing.  You have to meet them, get invited, and play well with others.  I learned to take it a little slower than my heart desired.    

Three, respect everyone, not just adults or authority.   I used to think that respect is a two way street.   And it is in one way, but the big discovery was that I was being foolish to withhold respect until someone respected me first.  This was particularly noticeable in my teenage years when I so wanted to be more grown up than I was and wanted to be listened to by adults.  Same goes for small children.  I listen to them as if what they have to say is important (because it is!).  If you ever try this you will be amazed at how crystal clear they can be.    As the mom of 5, I can confidently say that almost all tantrums are from children who do not feel heard.   They just want to communicate what they want or what happened.  Sometimes they just want to share something with you.   (They might still cry when you say no after listening, but the fury can be diffused).   Adults are not much different.    When not listened to, or misunderstood, conflicts and hurt feelings get in the way of getting your goals achieved.  

The benefit of learning to respect others entirely,  has been being trusted.   Earning trust is not to be taken for granted and it takes being trustworthy with other’s identities, their things, their trust, and their concerns.    People say it takes a lifetime to build trust but only 1 moment to destroy it.  

This may seem entirely contradictory to Lesson #1, but not really.   When I say don’t listen to anyone, I mean don’t believe everything you hear.    Just because someone has said something does not make it real or true, or real or true for you and your future.  

You can listen and disagree, go your own way, and carve out your future.   Building a life of your dreams, living where you want, with who you want, doing the kind of work that really inspires you and turns you into the super hero in your dream…. This takes focused attention and a lot of personal development.   

Leaders are built from the heart out.

************************************************************

For more reading on Causing Breakthroughs read: Dealing With Frustration and Despair

I started my first Creative Business when I was a single mom with four tiny children.   That was 25 years ago and I started Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to give back.  I am so grateful for all the support did get while I was getting started, but more than anything I wished I had some business support, some mentoring or guidance.    I want you to know that I get how hard, confusing, and challenging it can be to be alone and have real questions with no one to ask.

Please accept this FREE 30 Minute Creative Business Consult as my way of saying “You Can Do It!”

What you can use the call for:

  • Ask anything you need to know!
  • Get important, reliable resources for whatever you need
  • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
  • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
  • Feel supported
Read More

Develop Your Resourcefulness to Thrive in 2020

Tawn Holstra Auston

Thomas Jefferson said it the best, when he said, “I am a true believer in luck.   I notice that the harder I work, the luckier I get!”     

Striking on all cylinders takes a combination of things, but most notably, preparedness for the opportunity and timing.    

We say there are 5 traits that all, truly successful, entrepreneurs have.   Resourcefulness; being coachable; learning from their mistakes; being a “bad-ass” about keeping their word; and never giving up.   

Each of these aspects of success are in some way present in all successful entrepreneurs and most of us have at least 1 to 2 that are more prominent than others.    For example,  I had a client who was just starting out and his business idea is very involved and the start-up includes a huge amount of moving parts.   With every week that passed there was some new story about why things were not working and that they were “regrouping again”.     This is a failure of resourcefulness.    If the parable, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”, was meant for anyone, it is for this situation.    When a branch falls on our path, we can easily move it, when a tree falls we have to get more resourceful about it.  Ask yourself, “what should we/I do next to keep moving forward?”.    No one’s success path is straight or narrow, and rarely are they unobstructed.   You are walking through the jungle and you are the one in charge.  

If you see your path clearly laid out in front of you, consider, it may not be your path, David Whyte

So let’s talk about being resourceful.    What does that mean?    If I had to boil it down to one concept it would be being unstoppable.   In other words, not letting barriers that fall across your path stop you, at least not for long.   As a Successful Entrepreneur you MUST figure those things out.   A determined person who has few resources would go to the library, free workshops, watch a webinar, or try their Chamber of Commerce or EDC for help.    That is where I started about 13 years ago.  I did free everything and learned as much as possible that way.    A person with a bit more would ask for help and may have to pay a bit, but then there are ways to keep those costs down too. 

Being resourceful is rewarding in many ways beyond that you keep moving forward.  Each time you are tested by the Universe (something drops onto your path you were not expecting or inviting), and you get past the barrier, you are building resolve, confidence, and belief in your own leadership and abilities to be Successful.   Others notice it too.  

Here are some Practices to Develop being resourceful:  

  • Make big promises that kind of scare you and will blow your mind when you accomplish them.  
  • Do problem solving mastermind sessions with other business owners or a friend (who has a business).
  • Get an accountability buddy to talk to everyday; 
  • Read books on your subject and use leads and ideas to move yourself along your path.  

It is my firm belief that most people completely underestimate themselves and have little idea what they are truly capable of…  If you have the idea that you were made for something more than the life you are living, then this might be you!  

As Eleanor Roosevelt said so beautifully to women in her era, which still stands today…  If you are going to doubt anything, doubt your limits!     

 Like all people, you are brilliant in some ways and less brilliant in others.   It means nothing unless you let it stop you, and that is entirely a choice you make every day.   Keep going or stop.    All you have to do it take the next step forward and you are on your way past the barrier.   

It is always up to you.   

************************************************************************For more reading on Developing Your 5 Traits read: Demystify Failure and Frustration

I started my first Creative Business when I was a single mom with four tiny children.   That was 25 years ago and I started Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to give back.  I am so grateful for all the support did get while I was getting started, but more than anything I wished I had some business support, some mentoring or guidance.    I want you to know that I get how hard, confusing, and challenging it can be to be alone and have real questions with no one to ask.

Please accept this FREE 30 Minute Creative Business Consult as my way of saying “You Can Do It!”

What you can use the call for:

  • Ask anything you need to know!
  • Get important, reliable resources for whatever you need
  • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
  • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
  • Feel supported
Read More

Why Masterminds Don’t Work and How You Can Learn Anything Forever

What is Non-Linear Learning:  The More Natural Way To Learn?

To truly understand non-linear learning we first have to talk a little bit about linear learning.

For the most part we are all familiar with linear learning.  It is the kind of learning we have done in school, where you study something, you learn it, and then you apply it.   And this is a very effective way to learn a lot of things.  For example, medicine.  If I was looking for a doctor, or a surgeon, I would definitely want someone who has studied, learned , and then applied their education.  I would certainly NOT be looking for a surgeon who was looking to have a breakthrough (at least not during my surgery!)

So, there are many areas of life where linear learning works well and is the preferred method of learning.  However, it is not the most effective way to learn everything.  For instance, how do I stay in passionate love with my spouse after 20 years; or how come, no matter what company I work for or which manager I work with I still find myself at the same plateau, or the same income level;  Or maybe it is about your health —  you start out well intended, but something happens and you cannot quite see what it is, you lose weight and then put it back on;  Or maybe it about your relationships, you are dating and no matter how many different people you go out with you find yourself in the same basic situation.

If any of that sounds familiar, then you have also probably tried some linear learning to attempt to change it.  You have read books, followed all the right rules,  or tried to dominate yourself into submission.   Yet, you still cannot really get out of the rut you are in.

Areas of Life Where Non-Linear Learning Is More Effective

These are areas of life where non-linear learning would be more effective.  These are areas of life where you cannot really see what is shaping the results you are getting.  You know there is something there, but you cannot quite see it.  It is like trying to see the back of your own eyes, we all have blind spots in some areas of our life.

What Is Non-Linear Learning?

So what is non-linear learning?  Non-linear learning is when an all of a sudden phenomenon occurs.  Some would call it an aha moment, or a light bulb goes off…a sudden shift in perspective that allows you to take new actions and opens up new points of view for you.

We have all learned this way, learning to walk, learning to talk, learning to play an instrument, or learning to type, learning to swim.  These are all learning in a non-linear way.   The best example I have found is learning to ride a bike, mostly because for the most part we are all old enough to remember it.

When you learn to ride a bike, you get on the bike and you pedal and then you fall.  You do it again, pedal and fall, pedal and fall, pedal and fall.  And then at some point, you pedal and pedal and then you pedal and pedal and pedal and you are riding the bike!    Right there, there is a moment when you go from trying to ride a bike to being a bike rider!   It is just a moment when everything shifts.

There Are a Few Important Things to Note About Non-Linear Learning.

First, it never goes away.   Once you learn something in a non linear way it is yours forever… literally.   You might not ride a bike for 25 years, but if you got it out of the garage and dusted it off, you would be able to ride it.  And you know that! Same with learning to swim.  Once you know how to swim, you might not swim for years, but you don’t wonder if you still can… you absolutely know you know how to swim.

#2.  No one can explain it to you.   You could read books by Lance Armstrong about riding a bike, but it would not get you any closer to being a bike rider.  Non- linear learning is something you have to do for yourself.

#3.  It is natural.  We have all done it and it is not even hard.

However, for the most part we don’t know how to focus that kind of learning on areas of life that are important to us.

Why Masterminds Don’t Work

Masterminds can be great for general support, and can put a structure together that has some accountability.  What they don’t tend to provide is anything beyond what you can already see.   Having a group of people who recognize when you are bullshitting yourself or doing more of the same, instead of causing a breakthrough you need and want.  A mastermind is a tool for rapid growth, but will not necessarily provide that breakthrough from a plateau, or have you become the leader you envision yourself to be — a coach with deep roots in non-linear education is essential to that kind of growth.

For more reading on Causing Breakthroughs read: Dealing With Frustration and Despair

I started my first Creative Business when I was a single mom with four tiny children.   That was 25 years ago and I started Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to give back.  I am so grateful for all the support did get while I was getting started, but more than anything I wished I had some business support, some mentoring or guidance.    I want you to know that I get how hard, confusing, and challenging it can be to be alone and have real questions with no one to ask.

Please accept this FREE 30 Minute Creative Business Consult as my way of saying “You Can Do It!”

What you can use the call for:

  • Ask anything you need to know!
  • Get important, reliable resources for whatever you need
  • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
  • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
  • Feel supported
Read More

Developing Power: You Need Methods not Miracles!

Becoming Aware Of Your Self Sabotaging Behavior

Tawn Holstra Auston

In the Tarot, there is a card called the Tower of Destruction.   For many it is a scary card, predicting a huge disruption in the future.   What most people don’t see in the more subtle aspects of the card is that the disruption is caused… we are at the heart of it.   The card is saying it is time for us to shake things up… change old crusty behaviors that no longer serve us.

According to the Tarot Handbook, by Ariel Angeles, the card is about “healing and restoration, but first, it is a symbol of the change and awakening that is required to dismantle that which is artificial, false, or conditioned.”

Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs’ focus for 2018 is Developing Power and our first cut is all about our unconscious behaviors that are undermining our growth, business or personal.

These Behaviors Are Shaping Your Future

What we are taking on is our habits — those actions we take, over and over, as if they were a part of who we are.  We tend to be unaware of them or, at the very least, we are unaware of their impact on our effectiveness.

Unconscious:  What we are unaware of

Habits:  Those thoughts and actions we do over and over, and over, whether they are good for us or not.

So how do we find and eliminate our own unconscious habits? I mean, they are unconscious, right?

First a few important and ground breaking insights into habits as they relate to being human!

1. Habits are whole system phenomena –    they do not occur in a vacuum, so there is more than one aspect to most habits.   They include thoughts, activities, timing, moods, and sometimes sounds or smells.   Plus, habits wear grooves in our software AND our hardware.

Even new violins produce better sound and become better instruments by being played by a virtuoso – they get          accustomed to the vibration and the vibration changes the cellular structure of the wood.     Amazing right?!!

2.  Habits are not all bad… we love habits and having things become second nature to us. Typing is a behavior we  are trained to; language, driving, all are really great habits we have taken years to build.   Any mastery you                    have is a habit you have intentionally developed.    Congratulations!

3. Habits are a type of hypnosis we cast on ourselves.  – At first the habits work and we love having them, but if you  find yourself trying to change a behavior that does not serve you anymore, than you have a bad habit.   No        one makes us smoke, or bite our nails, or give up on our dreams.    We do all of that through the choices we make        yet we act as if it was happening to us through some outside power.    Huh?

4. Not all habits are obvious.  — Some are, nail biting, being late, leaving cabinet doors open, clutter, etc.   Some are much more subtle.   Things like, being over busy or over committing, putting things off with a great                           justification, not doing complete work,  doing work that does not make the most mission critical work your                   fledgling company  needs done…

5. Human behavior is extremely malleable throughout our whole life. What?!   Yup, that’s right!  We can change anything at any time… like Dorothy in Munchkin Land, we just have to be ready for the responsibility of being in charge of our own future.

OK, So If This is All True, How Do We Become Aware of Our Unwanted Behaviors?

Especially, when we are working hard on our new business?   There are behaviors that we won’t discover until after we have started our new business and we are up to our ass in alligators.  Are you laying the track to your  own train wreck with your unconscious behaviors or bad habits?

How to break bad habits is one of the tougher tasks of being an entrepreneur.  Sometimes the things we do to get started, our ability to shoot from the hip, or make quick decisions, are more automatic than we realize and we can’t really not do it.   They serve us in some cases and undermine us in others.

A super simple but hugely impactful habit that I had for many years was to put off tasks that emerged during the day until I had more time.  In the moment,  I did not think I should stop what I was doing and deal with whatever just popped up because it would take me off what I was already doing… I was proud of my ability to stay on task and focus on what I was doing.   What I learned was  sometimes you need to re-evaluate the issue that popped up and at least put it in a schedule for WHEN it WILL get done, or it never gets done.

There is No More Time Coming

Why this is a subtle habit is because I really thought that I would get to it later.  I also thought  that being overly busy would end one day when I had more success, or had sold my business, or retired… it was always a someday thing that I dangled in front of my own face – my dream life did not include working like a mad woman, but there I was, every day.

Waking Up in the Middle and Changing Now

Waking up to the fact that I had put things off until later a thousand+ times before and it always produced the same result, I saw it was time to recognize that more time is never coming!    The bad habit was pretending I would have more time one day.   I accepted that I was lying to myself and I was the one ruining my peace of mind.  That unconscious behavior was the path to running around like a chicken with its’ head cut off, which I did for years and just thought that was how it was supposed to look when you are super engaged entrepreneur.   Busy, busy, busy.

So every time I decided to put something off, I would remember I was choosing to be insane and overwhelmed  in a couple of weeks and I was painting myself into a corner for more things to “need” to be put off then too.

So how did I change that behavior?

Make a New Commitment to A Practice that Will Become a Habit

I tried a new practice…obviously, issues still came up, something would happen during the day, the phone would ring and it would be something that needed to be done.  The new habit I started was taking the time to schedule it, right then.    I keep a calendar on my desk so that I could check it immediately.    It took an extra 2 minutes, but it also kept my days to normal work lengths and I had the confidence that everything was going to get done in a timely manner and nothing would get neglected or forgotten.

How to Get Started Revealing Your Unconscious Behaviors

To start revealing your own automatic behaviors, I suggest you journal your behaviors… write every day for a couple of months and see what behaviors you have every day.

Some places to look:

Morning routines

Lunch routines

Dinner routines

Transitions from work to relaxation or during your drive times.

How do you handle your money?  Habits of shopping, saving, investing, or gift giving

When do you work?

Your most creative time of day is____________

When do you exercise?

When and how do you create meal plans?

When and how do you do your research?   Dig deeper into what you are working on?

When do you read?

How do you keep track of ideas?    Notes you take?   Things you want and/or dream about?

Start  Slow –  Better to Be Effective —

All of these areas have many repetitive activities that may or may not serve you or fulfill your dream life goals.    So consider taking them on, one at a time —  start slow, the cravings, the unconsciousness will surface loud and proud, so taking on more than one at a time will likely set you up for failure.    Start with one important habit that will give you a new level of mastery and provide you with power to accomplish your goals.

Suggested Reading:  Time Magazine’s Special Edition on Habits   

For more reading on how little things get in the way read:  Where Has All My Passion Gone?

FREE GIFTS:

I started my first Creative Business when I was a single mom with four tiny children.   That was 25 years ago and I started Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to give back.  I am so grateful for all the support I did get while I was getting started, but more than anything I wished I had some business support, some mentoring or guidance.    I want you to know that I know how hard, confusing, and challenging it can be to be alone and have real questions with no one to ask.

Please accept this FREE 30 Minute Creative Business Consult as my way of saying “You Can Do It!”

What you can use the call for:

  • Ask anything you need to know!
  • Get important, reliable resources for whatever you need
  • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
  • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
  • Feel supported
Read More

Developing Power: Do Your Hear Yourself?   Demystifying Failure and Frustration

Are You Making the Same Promises to Yourself This Year As You Did Last Year?  

Tawn Holstra Auston

This is a mean question.   I mean, we are all so excited to forget about last year’s fails and start fresh – and we know in our hearts it can work, only it rarely does.   And I don’t want to dampen your enthusiasm for your dreams, certainly NOT.     So we make our new year’s resolutions and vow to really do it this year, and we mean it.  We really, really mean it.   Then how come we are making the same promises we made last year?   Didn’t we mean it then, too?

The answer is simple, something stopped us last year (and maybe the year before that too).    There are so many possible things that can get in the way of our success, too many to list, but the one universal truth is something got in the way and somewhere along the way, we stopped working towards our goal.

If we look at the consistent fails of most people, there are a three predictable missing components when things get tough.

3 Most Common Missing Structures for Success

#3.   No real plan for accomplishing the goal —  we tend to fly by the seat of our pants, even when starting a business, we tend to just grab our first customer and start running.   We will get to the accounting, the marketing plan, the team development later… what’s important now is cash flow!   Right?

#2.     No clear picture of what we are really aiming for?   We have a good idea of what we want, but many times we will not actually write out or draw, or really clarify the exact goal we want and how it will be when we have it.     This may seem like visioning or some woowoo practice to you, but studies have shown over and over that having a crystal clear picture of your goal is one of the most important things you can do to keep on track — Make it so real you could taste it.   I love to collage, so that is my way, but create something that you can remind yourself what your goal is (this is your WHY).   If you write it out, read it once a week.   If you draw, hang it on the wall.  If you collage, like I do, hang it on the wall.

#1.   No Support —

We tend to go it alone  —  a huge mistake.   Creating alone is one thing, trying to take on a big goal, one that you have failed at before and is apparently really important to you, (just guessing, since you are recommitting to it), yet we do not think to change our behaviors.   Driving it alone is great when we are starting out but it is way too easy to give up. Too easy to cut corners, not notice the lack of progress or enthusiasm.  No one to celebrate the wins (sometimes just showing up is the win!)    Going it alone is simply a recipe for failure, so get on loud speaker about your goal and ask for your posse to remind you when you falter!    If this is your bugaboo, it is a behavior you can change!

You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks – Says Who?

 It has been said for eons, that once we are past a certain age that we cannot learn new things or ever change.    This has been found out to be completely wrong thinking and scientifically proven that our brains are quite elastic, healable, and can learn for our whole lives.     Books such as the Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton, celebrating its 10th year in print, and Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, also out for about 10 years, are written by medical doctors who have shown that human beings can learn anything even after 20 years old, even after 50 years old.

But we do not teach behavioral training in school.   We do not teach it anywhere really except the military, it is considered advanced learning even then.  Thus,we are left to tackle our own self-defeating behaviors all on our own.   From bad habits to unconscious repetitive behaviors which are sometimes hard to see what they are, we are left to figure out this all by our lonesome.

So How Can We Change Our Behavior After So Many Years?        

 Changing our behavior is not hard, but that does not make it easy.    It takes consistency more than anything… keep going and do not give up until you have it —

Instead of attempting to stop the old, start a new practice that moves you toward your goal.   It is important to note that none of this is important without your goals.    Our need to sleep in 4 – 5 times a week is only a problem if we are committed to early morning goals.    Otherwise, sleeping until 10 am is not a problem for anyone.

Let me give you an example from my own life.   A couple of years ago I stopped drinking for a year.    For most of my adult life, with the exception of about 8 years of pregnancies and nursing babies, I drank wine.   A couple of glasses a night.   Not a problem really.  Never drunk, never out of hand.  But yet, I knew that it was something that I had fallen into rather than planned.  So, as an experiment, I decided to stop drinking for a year.   I chose a year because I knew that I could power through any shorter amount of time and not get the lessons possible, so I needed to take on a time period where I would have to actually not be a drinker anymore.

The first 3 weeks I was completely aware of how much I wanted to drink every evening.   The nuances of my habits started to become much more clear to me.   Normally, as I was making dinner, I would pour myself a glass of wine to transition from my work day to my evening with my family and cooking dinner while drinking wine and watching a little TV was the trick.    So every day I would find myself facing my habit… wine had become my way of relaxing and transitioning my day.

My first insight:   I had lost my own ability to just relax without wine–

So,  with the help of my husband,  I created a question to ask myself when I wanted a glass of wine, “What are you avoiding?”     This became my new habit every time I wanted to drink a glass of wine.    The answers were also very useful, but the practice gave me a new habit to develop.

What Really Surprised Me Were All the Benefits I Got That I Never Expected

I am happy to say that it took about 5 weeks for me to stop having daily thoughts about drinking.   Then I started saying, “I don’t drink” in response to requests to go out for cocktails,  but what really surprised me were all the benefits I got that I never expected.  I started to have a renewed power to give and keep my word.     I had energy in the mornings, clarity in my thinking, a peacefulness when just being,  and focus while sitting and working.   Life seemed to flow easier somehow.  All from changing a behavior.

This is only one example of what may happen for you.  What I can share is that it is worth the effort to gain your strength.    For when we make resolutions, we are simply giving our word to ourselves (and sometimes others).    If we have no real power we are just hoping it goes differently.   The past failures are right there to remind us that we need to do something differently this year.    If we don’t we are just hoping  and you and your dreams are worth more than that!   Giving up on our goal again, that is tragic.

Here are some simple starting points for changing a behavior:

#1 .   Start with something very clear.

Like drinking or eating sugar, or gluten.    For best results, it needs to be a very black and white result.   No gray areas allowed.     A good example is getting organized.   This is WAY TOO GRAY a goal. It has no finite beginning or end.   If clutter and losing your keys are your nemesis, then have Clean kitchen counters or putting everything away EVERY NIGHT —  or making places for everything so you know where they are.    Remember that these are behavioral habits so you need to be specific and you MUST BE ABLE to ACCOMPLISH IT.  We are changing behaviors, not thoughts or feelings.   It must be something you can DO, since the habit shows up that way.

#2.  Have something at stake.

When I am going to take on changing a behavior I ask myself, “what will be possible if I get this done?”    For me having power with my word is critically important —  it is my only real power in the world, no trivial matter to me.    So that is frequently my “why”.     But whatever is your “WHY”  should be important enough to you that you will be reminded of who you are when you choose to NOT do what you ALWAYS have done before!

#3.   Pray —  joking, kind of.

What I mean is ask for help.    Have someone on your team that will encourage you to keep your word.  Do pray if that gives you strength, but ask a human being too.   Sometimes,  my husband would just say, “I thought you weren’t drinking” when he could see me considering ordering a glass of wine at a restaurant.    Those little nudges were enough for me to say “no thank you” to the wine and be so much stronger for it in the long run.    At times, I would hate that he would remind me… but the behavior was the same… no wine.

When You Cannot See Where to Start

When we don’t know where to go or which way to turn, it is time to clean up our lives.

Things you can do, if you are really baffled by where to begin is clean your physical space  — file, sort drawers clean closets, finish unfinished things or get rid of them

Everything needs a home, a place to be while you are doing your life —

Scrub your kitchen out clean out the medicine cabinets and under the sink… dig in wherever there is unconsciousness get into it make a dent in your universe.

This brings us back to zero

cleaning your space is great, and will feel great when it is done, and will give you a solid platform to start to notice your behaviors that sabotage your dreams.    Your hidden behaviors will likely even surface while cleaning and organizing your life!

Start Where You Are

Remember that this is important, but it is not significant.   You will make mistakes, you will forget, you will resist on your own path to happiness and freedom.    Finding a support system is key to your success, so, if nothing else, start a conversation with someone about what you are thinking about, share the article, and start talking to someone else besides yourself,  and just get started.

A year from now, you will wish you started today!  

 For more ideas about Finding Your Power read 3 Most Important Activities for Starting A Creative Business  

When I got started as a single mom with 4 kids and no money I was desperate for a coach, but never dreamed I could afford one.   That is what compelled me to start Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to begin with… I wanted to give back and support folks who were working for what they loved.  Our program starts as low as $37 a month  and covers all the basics, with a learn-at-your-own-pace system.

I invite you to accept the free gifts below.   I want nothing but for you to have enough faith in yourself to give try.  The world needs your love and creativity, now more than ever.

Be the spark and remember we are at your service!

Pick up your free copy of The 9 Costliest Mistakes Creatives Make in Business!   

Click the link for a FREE 30 Minute Consultation for your Creative Business (even if you don’t have one yet)!

  • What Your Will Get from your call!
    • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
    • Ask anything that you need to know
    • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
    • Ask for Resources you can Trust
    • Feel supported on your adventure!
Read More

Dealing With Despair and Frustration:  My Amy Porterfield Story (podcast included)

There are so many folks working really hard to make a difference, bringing their heart and souls to the market place and, at times, the pace of growth can make us seriously doubt and even wonder if we are doing the right thing by building a business.

Tawn Holstra Auston

I know when I started six years ago; I was so enthusiastic that I could hardly sit still.   All I wanted to do was reach out to potential clients and say “Here I am with your solution!” Which I did, but getting organized for real success took so much longer than I ever anticipated.    There were real times when I sat at my desk and cried.   I would sit there thinking “How much longer should I keep trying?”, “Maybe I should give up?”.   Then I would remember my clients.    Then, I would think about the people who would not get help if I quit.  In other words, I would think about you.

It turns out, You are My Inspiration

The work that you do and the people that you help and will help. The people you encourage, support,  be their angel, I am moved to my core by your courage and strength and I have no heart for quitting on you or on them.    I remember that you might be sitting at your desk crying and thinking you aren’t so sure anymore.   You might be sitting at your desk doubting your power to deal with the obstacles in your path.

When in Doubt Think of your Tribe

It always works for me.  Spend some time in your day to make the folks you want to serve real for you.   If you work to end homelessness, go to a shelter and do something that reminds you of your purpose.    If you work to save our environment then watch something that inspires you, like Blue Planet; If you work for human rights, talk to someone at risk or challenged by biases.

Part of Our Job is to Stay Inspired

One of our responsibilities as leaders is to stay inspired and I know, from personal experience, that it is not always easy.    Remember you are not alone and that your tribe is counting on you, even if they don’t know you yet!

What Would Bill Gates Do?

This is a story from my imagination, but tell me what you think.   When Bill Gates was a kid and quit college to move home and tinker in his parents’ garage for a year, do you think his mom and/or dad would open the door and say “Hey Bill what are you doing in here all day?,  Go get a job!,  Go back to school!” ?   I think, “What would life be like if he had listened to their doubts and gave up?”

So do what you have to do to stay connected to your mission.   Call a friend, call your coach, watch inspiring movies, volunteer… just don’t give up too soon…

 Introducing Amy Porterfield’s Amazing Podcast

One of my mentors, Amy Porterfield recorded this wonderful podcast just for those moments!   I thought it well worth sharing.  Give it a listen

#203: How To Get Noticed Online When You’re Just Starting Out

For more reading on Inspiration read:  Where Has All My Passion Gone?

FREE GIFTS:

I started my first Creative Business when I was a single mom with four tiny children.   That was 25 years ago and I started Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to give back.  I am so grateful for all the support did get while I was getting started, but more than anything I wished I had some business support, some mentoring or guidance.    I want you to know that I get how hard, confusing, and challenging it can be to be alone and have real questions with no one to ask.

Please accept this FREE 30 Minute Creative Business Consult as my way of saying “You Can Do It!”

What you can use the call for:

  • Ask anything you need to know!
  • Get important, reliable resources for whatever you need
  • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
  • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
  • Feel supported

 

Read More

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