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Your Weekly Brew

It seems our family has been endlessly busy since we got home over a month ago from our most recent “big trip”, but so much of it has been good:

  • Re-establishing our family routine, working to finish up this homeschool year and make plans for next year (although we’ll go through the summer at a slower pace, with a few full weeks off for vacation)
  • Taking a personal retreat (Stephanie) before baby arrives, which was so helpful as I prioritize, set goals, and make plans for our family and businesses.
  • Weekly dates where we’re getting out to both a) enjoy one another and b) have intentional conversations, many of which have been about the above-mentioned plans that are in process. The more we set aside time to be purposeful about talking and planning together, the better we function as a team, whether in the home or in the office.
  • Lots of busy work inside and outside our home, trying to finish up a few big house projects before baby arrives (painting the office, re-siding and painting the outside of the house, some yard landscaping and getting gardens set up nicely, etc.). It has felt chaotic much of the time, but it’ll be worth it when it’s done!
  • Strategic planning sessions and meetings for future business direction, where we’ll be working together more as a team (Ryan and I, that is), and we’re getting very excited about it all!
  • Weekly family nights where we do a fun activity of our kid’s choosing (well, mostly – it’s still subject to our approval, budget and energy levels!). When we travel, it’s easy for us to spend time together doing memorable things as a family. When we get back into routine and the business of everyday life, we’re not always as good about it. Setting aside every Monday night for this purpose has been forcing us (in a good way) to stop and just enjoy our kids, whether it’s playing baseball at the park, going out for a cheap movie night, or playing Yahtzee around the kitchen table.
  • Planning for a mini-maternity leave. It’s tricky, taking time off for baby when you’re an entrepreneur. This will be my 3rd time figuring out how to navigate this season (our first two kids were born before I started my business). I’m thinking of writing a post with tips on how to make it happen. Got questions for me?

That’s us in a nutshell. 🙂

And now, onto the Brew… I’ve been saving up a lot of reads in the past few weeks, apparently! I’d love to know if you’ve read any useful articles or posts lately, too.

Read::

Unboss @ Design for Mankind

For me personally (Stephanie), this resonated as I spent some time at a recent personal retreat really assessing this next season of life as a mom of five kids, with homeschooling and working and how I will balance it all. I don’t necessarily relate to not wanting to be a boss, so much as to the concept that it’s OK to not be uber-ambitious, to want to slow down and soak up certain seasons of life, to be able to do your work and do it well without necessarily having to do it in a bigger way.

The Very First Step: How to Become an Entrepreneur @ Entrepreneur on Fire

Furthermore, once those mindset shifts took place, we started doing something that will ultimately prevent thousand of wantrepreneurs from ever becoming actual entrepreneurs: we started taking action… We started actually getting on our bikes and pedaling.” Kate makes a simple but crucial point about what it takes to turn your dreams and hopes into reality if you truly want to become an entrepreneur.

8 Tips for Virtual Collaboration -from TED’s tech team

Such excellent ideas in here for anyone working with a team whose members are spread out across the country or continent. We have such a team at Ultimate Bundles and are continually working to improve our communication and camaraderie as a team, something that the TED tech team seems to be doing well.

Why Your Idea Isn’t Spreading @ Goins Writer

These points about why certain sales and promotions techniques don’t work are so very true. “Selling is serving. Not pushing or forcing people to do things they don’t want to do.” Yes!

My 23 Go-To Productivity Tools for Remote Work @ Todoist blog

Written by Zachary Sexton from Asian Efficiency (a site Ryan loves), this is a really great list of online apps, software, etc. for getting things done and staying organized when you work remotely. Either Ryan or I (or both of us) use many of these, but there are a few new ones I discovered that I’d like to check out.

ProBlogger FAQ: How Long Should Posts Be? @ ProBlogger

This one is fascinating for me. Much as I try to make myself write shorter posts, I really struggle to write anything less than 1000 words, and a great many of my posts teeter towards the 2000 word mark, with the odd one between 2000-3000. I’ve been told by various people over the years that I should just learn to write shorter posts, that they’ll perform better, be read more, that shorter is what people want.

But in my gut, I’ve always felt that a short post simply can’t always convey what I want to say, and particularly with how-to or teaching posts, anything less than 1500 words is not long enough to go into enough depth to make the post truly helpful. Now, that’s just me, but Darren seems to agree with me in this post. Ultimately, he boils it down to the sage advice that “It all comes down to content. Good, useful content that people enjoy reading. Write enough to be useful, then stop.” But it’s worth a read and a look at the graph he uses in the post.

Listen::

Why You Should Choose People Over Profit with Dale Partridge (podcast with Chris Ducker)

This one has been added to my must-listen list. The show notes sound excellent and entrepreneurs like Dale Partridge, with strong integrity and a sincere desire to treat people well, are ones I want to learn form.

Watch::

100 Years of Beauty: Aging

In this beautiful video, an engaged couple in their 20’s gets made over to see what they will each look like at 50, 70 and 90 years old. Once their make-up and transformation is complete, they turn to look at each other and respond to both their own appearance and their partner’s. This was so touching, and made me appreciate my marriage more, as we look forward to all the years to come, the kids we’re raising, the adventures we’re having together, the memories we’re building. Keep the tissues handy.

This 2 1/2 minute video is a powerful reminder of why we’re passionate about being entrepreneurs. Why we want to take risks so that we can pour ourselves into doing something we love, and wake up excited to get to work on a Monday morning. Or a Wednesday afternoon. Or anytime of the week. Of course, Jon is saying that you can and should do this no matter what your work is (not necessarily just for entrepreneurs), and I think he’s right. It’s a worthwhile pep talk.

On the Blog::

How personality tests can help you as an entrepreneur

Podcast: Embracing unconventional roles and making family time a priority with Stephen and Lexie McNeill

Why I dropped out of school in Gr.2 and want my kids to do the same

What caught your attention this week?

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Your Weekly Brew

I don’t have quite as much for you this week as usual, but I figure you’ll all be out celebrating Mother’s Day and hopefully a gorgeous May weekend, so it’s all good, right?

I did want to mention, though, that this week we got back to this family/work schedule that we began during our time in France, and oh… it’s good. It really does work well for us.

I’m always so curious to hear about the ways that other entrepreneurial families organize their days and weeks. So much so that I made up this super-simple form to ask YOU what yours look like right now:

Tell us about your family’s schedule HERE

It’s short and sweet, I promise. Just a paragraph or two about the schedule itself, a thought on why it works well for you, and your name. Done.

Once I get a good amount, I’ll compile them into a blog post so that we can all learn from each other and get some fresh ideas for our own homes. Sound like fun? I think so!

On with the Brew…

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Your Weekly Brew

We’re in the final stretch of our trip… our very last week, and we’re currently in Iceland! It’s a phenomenally beautiful country from the little we’ve seen so far and we can’t wait to explore it more before we had back home.

So much has happened in our trip and it’s been hard to keep up this past month, but shortly we’ll be back to our regular posting and podcasting schedule, which we’re honestly really looking forward to. We promise, we’ll write about it all shortly, both here and on our travel blog.

One thing to note in this week’s brew is that today is the last day of The Bootstrap VA Final Edition Bundle (which is why I’m posting the brew one day earlier than usual). It’s specifically geared to those who do (or want to get into) working from home, specifically as a Virtual Assistant. There are more details for the bundle in the Use section below.

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Your Weekly Brew

Ryan and I have both been experiencing the challenge of working while traveling lately, and as much as we love being able to do both, it’s wearing and hard to keep up with at times.

What it reinforces for us is the power of routine, and how much we’ve both come to crave and rely on our routines to keep up with all that we do on a daily and weekly basis.

While we never regret our time spent traveling, it’s always good to realize (especially in these last few weeks as we prepare to head back home in April) that for all the wonder of these experiences we’ve been having here in Europe, our simpler, everyday lives back home also hold much beauty.

We’re going to keep soaking up where we are (currently: Split, Croatia, then on to Norway next week), but all the while cultivate an appreciation for the unspectacular, routine parts of our lives that matter so much more than we sometimes think they do.

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Your Weekly Brew

I’m writing this far too late at night, on slow internet, wondering why I’m not in bed yet, but sometimes that’s a) life as an entrepreneur, b) with kids, and c) especially when you’re traveling.

We’re waving to you this weekend from Passignano sul Trasimeno, Italy (in Umbria), wishing you could join us on the patio overlooking the lake for a glass of wine and some pasta.

one's destination

And though we’re tired from getting up at 5am, driving 2 1/2 hours, five train rides with tired kids, a couple sick members of our group, what felt like way too many bags to take on and off so many trains, missing our last train stop, and not being able to stop for a proper meal the entire day (it was just one of those days)… once we woke up this morning in our new location, with the sun shining on the rolling Umbrian hills, the ancient olive trees, and the lake shimmering from the deck of the stone farmhouse we’re renting, we were reminded again of why we travel.

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