Episode 68. Permission to Slow Down & Do Things On Your Terms
Out of everything I’ve learned over the years of running a business, there’s one thing I wish I could go back and give myself the permission to do when I first started: Not turning everything I learn immediately into content for my business.
Once I gave myself this permission, not only did it impact my business success and my bottom line, my mental health improved. I didn’t realize how exhausting it was, but once I took a step back and slowed things down, it was clear to me that this isn’t a good approach to business. I’m going to share why I think this is such a bad idea, why it’s important to give yourself permission to do something different, and what you can do instead.
In this episode, you’ll hear…
The cycle of learning and teaching
Giving yourself permission to not teach everything you learn
Learning and growing in parallel
Sharing information with purpose
Fighting the race to cheapen content
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Where we go wrong
Most of us start our businesses because we want to help people, we love teaching, or we love working with people—in other words, we start off with good intentions. Then there’s this moment where fear creeps in. We start thinking that we have to prove ourselves to be able to speak on our topic or niche. This leads to a frantic cycle of learning new things and immediately teaching them to your audience which is both unhealthy and unstable. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Why you need to give yourself permission to stop
When you’re sharing information immediately as you process it, you’re cheapening the process of actually understanding the material. You need time to process, digest, and build understanding. Then you can teach from a point of expertise, or at the very least experience. When you’re teaching something without a full understanding of it, you’re potentially giving out bad advice and are putting yourself in a dangerous place legally.
Learning and sharing with purpose
You can—and should—be learning in parallel with running a business. You don’t have to document it or teach it, but you can learn something, start implementing it, and grow in understanding. The content machine would have you believe that you have to be constantly teaching and posting on social media, but that’s just not the case. The things you make and share should have a purpose. If you’re sharing things you learned that don’t directly impact what it is you do or help your clients and audience, they don’t need to turn into content. Focus on letting the things you make and share tie into your expertise and focus on quality.
You don’t need my permission. You just need to give yourself permission, and I’m here to give you a little nudge.
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Resources Discussed in This Episode
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Sam Vander Wielen: [0:00:11] Hey there. And welcome to On Your Terms. I’m your host Sam Vander Wielen. Welcome back to the podcast. I’m so excited to chat with you today. It’s going to be a little bit of a different episode, because it’s just a quickie one. I just thought little bite sized snack of an episode would be nice for you. I’m getting ready to host our big two-day retreat for all of our Ultimate bundle members today and tomorrow.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:00:31] So, I’ve got so much like swirling on my mind as I get ready to open up, you know, this retreat that I planned for our Ultimate bundle members where I’m speaking about legal stuff, but I’m also teaching about email marketing and then I have somebody else coming in to teach about accounting and taxes for small businesses and mindset and boundaries and Instagram. And it’s a jam packed two full days.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:00:53] But it got me thinking today that I just wanted to like sit down and chat with you, a little coffee talk if you will. And I wanted to chat about something that I wish I could go back and give myself permission to do much earlier because I think that once I did give myself permission to do this, it really not only impacted my business and like the bottom line, to be honest, but more so I just feel like my mental health, my like feeling super overwhelmed every day, feeling like I was so frazzled and like not present at the end of the day when I was having dinner with my husband, or you know something like this. So, I thought why not just sit down and chat about this real quick with you.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:01:35] So, here’s the deal. Somewhere along the way, when we’re building our businesses and for me this happened really early on, I think we all probably start these kinds of businesses, we start coaching business, consulting business, some sort of service providing because we really want to help people, right?
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:01:54] And you probably also or just the kind of person that like when you learn something, you love telling other people about it, like sharing that with other people. You might love like teaching. You might love like digging into the deep with the clients. You know, there might be some other aspect of this that you really love. And I think it all comes from a really good place.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:02:15] And I think what happens then when we start our own businesses is that there’s this like thunder storm of a scenario that happens here where you’re coming from this really good place where you like to share everything you’re learning and teaching other people, and you know you’re trying to establish yourself, and like all that kind of stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:02:34] And as we start our businesses, there’s this fear that we don’t know enough or that somebody else is talking about this, and there’s like a race to get to talk about this topic or that you know, we really, really need to prove ourselves to be smart and established and know what we’re talking about and not be a fraud, right? We have this fear in the back of our mind. It’s not a conscious thing usually that we’re carrying around, but it’s this like subconscious thing of like I don’t want somebody to call me out. I don’t want somebody ask me a question and think I don’t know what I’m talking about, you know, all that kind of stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:03:05] And I think you marry that with like the fact that, you know, it’s always funny from my perspective because I see so many people doing things online that aren’t within their scope of practice. It’s not legal for them to be talking about it, which then pushes – it’s like it pushes like the herd of people who are in that space to start talking about that topic just because they’re so afraid of feeling left behind or like left out or not talking about something.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:03:32] And so, what I see this lead too is this like need to learn something, teach it, learn something, teach it, learn something, teach it. And it puts you in this like really bad cycle in your business. And I definitely did this, and I know like I’ve seen so many other, you know, colleagues, friends do this to where it’s like as you’re inputting information, like I wish I could draw like an animation, but it’s like as the information’s flowing into your head, it’s like flowing out of your mouth just as quickly, right?
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:04:02] And what this led to, at least for me, in my own business, was like as I was learning things about online business or as I was learning things in my own business, even legal stuff, as things were happening and changing, I felt like almost like I was this like CNN feed. And so, it would be like, okay, I just tried this strategy with my email list. Now, let me teach this to everybody who’s in my audience, right?
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:04:26] And again, good intentions like came from a good place, came from this place of wanting to be helpful. That need and want to be helpful also comes from like a place of fear of feeling like people won’t find me helpful. And if people don’t find me helpful, they will leave because the only reason people stay is because they find me helpful, right? So, that’s like something I work on.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:04:44] But that need to have to like take everything in and constantly regurgitate it is not only exhausting, but I would also say it’s really bad for business because looking back on it, it kind of kept me on this hamster wheel or like a treadmill to nowhere instead of being able to move forward.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:05:05] So, what I would encourage you to do is, first of all, give yourself permission that everything you learn in life, in business, in your field, in whatever, it doesn’t have to become a lesson, not everything, right. A lot of things do. That’s why I’m a big proponent of like writing everything down. I keep like a very long, very meandering list of like ideas where I just jot down little like stories that happened to me, little lessons I learned, things I saw on TV.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:05:34] Most of them don’t become anything, but that’s kind of – it helps to put my anxiety at rest, and this is kind of what let me let go of this need to like pump everything right back out as I was learning it, was just like writing it down and then letting it sit. Sometimes, I look at it later and I’m like that’s really not that helpful. Sometimes I look at it later and I’m like that doesn’t make any sense. Or sometimes, I think I still need to learn a little bit more about that, I want to dive into that topic a little bit deeper before I go and start teaching it to other people.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:06:06] I think that’s just like one of the most common mistakes that I see in our industry is that people are processing things in real time. They’re not processing things, digesting it, genuinely learning, and then teaching from a place of true expertise because otherwise what people are doing is reporting on data.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:06:27] Like let’s take business stuff for example. When you see business coaches saying I tried this strategy and it produced this result, all they’re doing is teaching you what happened as like the outcome. But if they really haven’t taken the time to digest it, if they haven’t processed it, if they haven’t tested it in other ways, we don’t know that we can truly attribute the results to a certain cause, right? It’s just the effect of it.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:06:55] And so, there’s more of like a correlation than a causation issue, and people don’t often slow down enough to really become an expert enough to say what causes something to happen. And so, when we’re in this race to like I learned something, I’ve got to teach it to my audience. I’ve learned something, I’ve got to teach it to my audience.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:07:12] I don’t think that makes you an expert. I think that comes more from this like insatiable need for content and then a genuine, you know, need and want to like feel helpful, which is great. I love that about you, right. But also, it is like a bad precedent that’s been set for you in the industry which is just like as soon as you learn something or hear about something, you regurgitate it as a fact or something that you’ve now become an expert in. And I think that’s a dangerous legal place to go. And I just think it’s a dangerous place for our businesses.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:07:46] I’d rather you focus on, you know, kind of your core stuff, the stuff that you really do feel comfortable talking about. And continue to build your business and layer these things on as you move forward. One thing I just wish people would focus on a little bit more in our industry in general is more like this like things can happen in parallel, right?
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:08:06] So, you can be building your business and learning in the background without teaching all of what you’re learning in real time. You don’t have to be documenting all of it. You don’t have to be teaching it in real time. Like it’s okay for you to learn something, really digest it, be curious about it, ask some questions. Maybe decide that you need to learn a little bit more because you don’t truly understand, like the causation of what you’re trying to teach other people. You’re just like trying to regurgitate facts and continue to also move forward in your business at the same time.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:08:39] Something I feel like I’ve become very passionate about lately is this idea of like continuing to move forward in your business while you’ve got this background stuff going on. Like maybe you’re working on the legal foundation, that doesn’t mean we can’t still continue to try to make waves and move forward in our business. Maybe you’re still learning about some like new area you want to explore and some new content like you want to talk about. You can still move forward in your business and do that in the background without talking about it, without letting it get in your way, without having to teach other people that stuff in the meantime, right?
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:09:13] Have you ever felt lost about where to begin with the legal side of protecting your online business? Some people say you can just wing it at the beginning and get officially set up later. Not a good idea, by the way. Whether you’re afraid to even start working with clients because you don’t want to do something wrong legally and then get in trouble or your business is growing, and you sort of forgot to take care of the legal pieces, I’ve got you.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:09:36] I don’t want you to live in fear of the Internet police coming after you and your business, but you do have to do certain things and get certain things in place in order to legally and safely run your business online. As much as it just feels like an unregulated Wild Wild West online, that is very much not the case.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:09:53] As an attorney turned entrepreneur and former corporate litigator, I can assure you that there are rules. There are real steps that everybody who runs or starts an online business needs to take. And you’re not behind at all. We can get you set up and following the rules right away. In fact, we can even do today.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:10:09] I want to teach you the five very simple steps to take to legally protect and grow your online business. You don’t need an MBA to be a successful entrepreneur and stay out of legal hot water, but you do need to dot your legal Is and cross your Ts in a few key areas that can’t be skipped.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:10:24] That’s exactly what I’ll teach you in my free one-hour legal workshop called Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business. Just head to mylegalworkshop.com, drop in your email address, pick the time, and I’ll send you a link to watch the workshop video whenever you have time. This is the best place to begin if you’re just getting started legally legitimizing your business. So, head on over to mylegalworkshop.com and sign up to watch Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business now.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:10:53] So, I feel like until you really have something to share that’s beyond just like regurgitating, this is something that could be getting in the way of you building your business. It could be keeping you feeling like you’re just on this hamster wheel of creating lots and lots of content, and that it’s kind of not leading anywhere.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:11:10] Because that’s another thing to think about is like if you don’t have somewhere for this content to lead people, why are we sharing it, right? If you don’t have something to lead to your email list, or if this isn’t something you already talked about in your program, what is the point of this stuff that we’re sharing, right?
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:11:25] So, you know, for me, this was like I felt this need to share everything I was learning about business in real time in the beginning and I don’t sell business products, I sell legal templates, right. And so, this was like – it was helpful to other people. It was keeping me kind of like horizontal. I was stuck. I wasn’t able to like move forward. And, you know, it didn’t lead anywhere in my own business.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:11:50] I’m not saying every single thing you do on your business has to like go to some paid product or whatever. I’m not saying that, but I was doing this like way too much and I see other people doing this to where they’re just like learning, regurgitating, learning, regurgitating. And it’s just – it’s very overwhelming and it’s stressful. And I – not that you need permission from me or anybody else, but I guess it feels nice to hear that somebody else has gone through something similar and that it’s okay.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:12:18] I think it’s like a normal part of like growing up in entrepreneurship. I think it’s something that everybody goes through, and everybody talks about it. And at least for me, I never heard about anybody talking about like letting that go, giving yourself permission to not have to teach every single thing that you’ve learned, not having to share every single aspect of your life, not having to document every single moment of what you’re doing and building and working on with clients. It’s exhausting.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:12:48] And it’s just been really bugging me lately that there’s such a race to create such a like a high volume of content, that there’s not as much of an emphasis on quality on people actually being experts in whatever they’re talking about. And I’m not talking about expert meaning you know every single thing in the whole wide world. And like if anyone ever questioned you on anything, you would know the answer.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:13:10] Experts also know what they don’t know, and they know who to refer to and they know when to say like that’s a really good question, that would be something I’d have to look into or that would be something you’d have to ask your financial advisor or something, right. So, experts don’t know everything. They know enough to know how to navigate these things.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:13:27] And so I just feel like, yeah, this has been coming up a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about it when it comes to things like reels or like the push to kind of move everybody over to TikTok. And it just seems like such a – I sound like the oldest lady in the whole wide world as I hear myself saying this out loud, but it’s okay. I just feel like there’s this like race to cheapen content. That’s kind of what’s been coming up for me lately if I’m being honest.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:13:53] And it’s like, especially for what I do, for what a lot of people do, it’s like I can’t always make like a legal thing that you need to learn, like cute and fun and entertaining and package it nice and neat and pretty, oh, and also get it in six seconds, like with a dance move and a lip sync and like trending audio. You know, it’s just sometimes things don’t package themselves that well.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:14:16] There are plenty of places to have fun in our businesses and I’ve done plenty of those types of like pieces of content. I’ve embarrassed myself and danced around and done all kinds of things and more in costumes and props and all that. But it just seems like sometimes there’s just like race to make everything like that.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:14:33] And personally, it’s not something I’m willing to participate in for every single piece of content. Like I’m okay if that means that somebody doesn’t think I’m like funny or fun enough or whatever. I’m just like, well, you kind of just have to learn how to send a content. I don’t know how to make that super funny for you, you know. Some of the stuff just has to get done, and sometimes people just want to learn.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:14:54] And I think it’s been so interesting for me that this podcast has become so much more popular with their audience and has grown so much and how much like I would say the like quality of responses that I get about the podcasts are so much deeper than just like a comment on a reel where somebody like clearly doesn’t care, doesn’t know who I am, they just want free information, they want to go, right.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:15:18] But here, it’s been like so lovely to hear from you. I love when you reach out to me by the way and tell me that you listen to the podcast or tell me what you like about it or something that spoke to you in an episode. So, please do if you haven’t already. But yeah, I just I think like that kind of speaks to my desire, like my way to do the content.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:15:37] And that’s the last, like permission, I will leave you with today is just that it’s also, you know, you have the permission to do this stuff the way that you want to do it. You don’t have to follow every trend. You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses on Instagram or TikTok, or anywhere else. You know, if doing something a certain way speaks to you, and definitely if it speaks to your audience, I mean I think this is a lot easier for me to say because the way that I do my content really speaks to you as well. Obviously, not every piece of content speaks to you every single time, but like for the most part, people really like what they get.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:16:10] And so it’s not just like about satisfying me and my needs, but I also think you have to trust in the fact that your style is going to speak to your people because that’s why they’re attracted to you, right. And so, I would just encourage you to like do things on your own terms, do things the way that it truly speaks to you.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:16:31] And I know it’s very hard to like see all of these things flashing up around you. But from one business owner to another, I am just so grateful that I listened to my gut as I went along all these years and kept building my email list, kept focusing on my website and blogging. And like started the podcast way after when everybody told me like, oh, there are already too many podcasts out there.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:16:55] And I was just like, but it feels right and I feel like people are excited about it and I’m excited that I’ve done the episodes the way I’ve done them. Like the more I’ve listened to what felt right for me because of how I listened to you, right, the better things have gone. And so, we do have to block out a lot of that stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:17:15] So if you haven’t heard that yet, I hope that this was helpful. Again, you don’t need my permission, but if you need a little like nudge, then there you go. I nudged you. Well, I hope you liked this quickie episode. Send me a DM on Instagram, @SamVanderWielen and let me know what came up for you.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:17:32] I know this was a reminder that I needed to hear, so I’ll probably go back and listen to this later. And I just thank you so much for listening to the podcast. And I hope that you love listening to On Your Terms. I would love for you to leave a review on Apple if you listen there or a quick review on Spotify, rating on Spotify if you listen there. It’s so helpful to helping me reach more entrepreneurs who are trying to legally protect their online businesses.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:17:57] And with that, I will chat with you next week. Thanks so much for listening to the On Your Terms podcast. Make sure to follow on Apple Podcast, Spotify or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. You can also check out all of our podcast episodes, show notes, links and more at samvanderwielen.com/podcast.
Sam Vander Wielen: [0:18:18] You can learn more about legally protecting your business and take my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business at samvanderwielen.com. And to stay connected and follow along, follow me on Instagram, @SamVanderWielen and send me a DM to say hi.
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