220. ☀️ Real Talk: I Need a Bit of a Reset [Introducing: Summer Series]

Real Talk I Need a Bit of a Reset

Listen Now:

Welcome to the first episode of the Summer School series! This summer I’ll be creating short weekly episodes on the go- while I’m at the gym, on a walk. etc. In each one, I’ll share one lesson I’ve learned about business and life.

220. ☀️ Real Talk: I Need a Bit of a Reset [Introducing: Summer Series]

In this episode, you’ll hear… 

  • What you can expect from the Summer School series
  • The importance of finding balance between creativity and strategy
  • Why you need be clear on what you’re doing and how you’re doing it

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Balance Creativity and Strategy

As online business owners, content creation is often a big part of how we interact with our potential customers.

If you’re like me, you probably tend to over-stress and over-strategize about content creation. However, it’s also possible to swing too far the other direction and get distracted by creative whims. 

Try to find a balance between the two. 

Be Clear

The most important thing is to be clear on what you’re doing, why you are doing it, and how you are doing it. For example, are you pursuing more creativity because you want an escape from your business? Or are you doing it because you genuinely think it will help your business? Look inward and be honest with yourself.

Balancing creativity and strategy is an ongoing practice, not a one time success. Keep checking in with yourself and your business plan.

Download Episode Transcript

Sam Vander Wielen:
I know from experience now that it takes time to find your healthy balance with this where, you know, we can’t just be posting our favorite recipes and things we love, or links to stuff we want to buy, or whatever, things that are just fun and personal. We can’t be doing that all the time if you have a business and we also can’t be strategic all the time if you have a business.

Hey and welcome to On Your Terms. I’m your host Sam Vander Wielen. And welcome to this very special summer series that I’m calling Summer School, Online Business Summer School. So, here’s the deal. This summer, I’m going to be sharing a brand new episode every single Monday, but these episodes are going to be a little bit different than what you’re used to in my normal week-to-week content.

Instead of sharing all my best legal tips and how to do stuff in your contracts, I’m going to share quick little episodes with you each Monday where I’m out and about and sharing about something that I’m learning right now in my business, something that I have learned, a mistake I’ve made, a thing I’ve overcome, and obviously share it in a way that would be most helpful to you too. So, these are going to be a little bit less produced, a little bit more out and about, taking a walk, on the way home from the gym, you know, all the times when I probably think of things or have relatively good ideas.

So, I hope you’ll join me this summer for these quick little episodes. After you listen to this episode, I hope you’ll reply to my email if you get my emails. If you don’t, make sure you go click the sidebar link down in the show notes below, or send me a DM on Instagram and let me know what you’ve been thinking of Sam’s Summer School Series. So, I hope you love it. I’ll see you in a few minutes on the other side.
I have this tendency to want to be strategic all the time with everything I do in business. That’s just kind of how my brain works, like I just think about things in terms of strategy. Like if I’m going to start a new channel or a new marketing strategy somewhere, I’m just like, "Okay. This is how we’re going to do it. This is how leads are going to fall in. This is what the purpose is. This is what all the content is going to be." And while that served me really well in business, I think sometimes that kind of thinking can zap the joy out of a little bit of what you do.

So, when I started a podcast, I was no different. I started a podcast, basically, the conception for it started early, early in 2021, if not late 2020. Obviously, you know what was going on in the world right then and we were all thinking about new ways. Online business was kind of exploding, and so we were just thinking about all these new ways and new pathways to bring in business. And I had always wanted to start a podcast. I worried that I was too late to the game, but I was like, "You know what? I’m going to do it anyway, because I’m going to be super strategic about it."

And I had an idea for how it was going to drive traffic. And a lot of those ideas have panned out. A lot of those ideas have served us well. Podcasting is weird because it’s very difficult to track data-wise. But a lot of those ideas have worked in terms of nurturing customers, converting customers, doing certain episodes. That’s all been great. And I guess what I didn’t anticipate was how much I would actually just really love podcasting. I can’t wait to record my podcast each week. I would say between podcasting and writing my email, this is the two things that I cannot wait to do in my business. And that was all really, really good.

And I’ve been doing it now for over three years, and the podcast has grown. Maybe you can relate to this, I think a lot of creators, I reach points where I’m like, "But is it growing enough? Are enough people listening to it? Shouldn’t it be bigger by now? Do people like it? Sometimes I don’t hear from people about it." I get all up in my head about it.

And I think between the last couple of years, I was just telling my director of operations, Lindsey, this the other day, it has been a confluence of events of I cared for my dad while he was dying from leukemia – and that was during COVID, by the way – then my dad passes away. And then, this stuff was going down with my mom right away. My mom died last May 2023. And on, literally, the same day, I get a book deal and start fumbling my way through writing my first book, which I have really loved on one hand, but on the other it has been impossibly difficult given just what’s been going on with me personally. And maintaining a business on top of all that, it’s a lot.

So, I think the podcast became something more that I had to do or something that maybe that part of me, that strategy part of me kicked in and was like, you must do this podcast strategically and it all has to be done like this. And if you’re losing subscribers, then you’ve got to up the strategy. I got to be better with my titles and more value, and do this, do that. Bring in the experts. Let’s do all these things. And I think I just felt disconnected from it a bit in the sense of sometimes I just want to do something that sounds fun. And I still think that that can be helpful and valuable to other people, but I want to reconnect with the joy of it.

I love podcasting. I want to get clear on what I’m doing, and why I’m doing it, and what this podcast is really for, and who it’s about. And I think it’s just a balance in business when you have your own business, especially when you have an online business that focuses or relies on a lot of content creation, it’s a real balance between putting out content that is educational and helpful and strategic and geared towards your customer. Because we have a business, we’re trying to attract people. We are trying to let people know who you are, what you do, establish that know, like, and trust that they know, like, and trust you enough to purchase from you or want to work from you, work with you, or whatever. So, we need that and I get that. And we’re a business and I feel like that’s just the practical requirement of what we do.

And you’re human and you have – I don’t know – creative needs or creative desires. And if you’re anything like me, you might need to move something through you or out of you in order for you to be able to do some of that other stuff.

And this is something I write about a lot in my book that comes out April 15, 2025 called When I Start My Business, I’ll Be Happy: A Practical No BS Guide to Successful Online Entrepreneurship. But I write about this kind of balance in the book a lot. And in the book, I teach you how to create less content that’s more impactful, because I think that this is one of the things that people run into a lot, you create so much content but then you get burnt out, or you feel sick of creating a certain type of content or so much strategic content, or you feel like stuff’s not working so you stop. And instead I’d rather you create less content that’s more impactful and also, as I talk about in the book, pay attention to that urge or that intuition that tells you I want to create some other stuff. I want to flex my muscle.

Now, this always has to be balanced. Sometimes in building your business, there’s this natural tendency to want to run away from it because it gets hard. And I remember maybe I was a year or two into my business back in 2018 when I was like, "I’m going to start a food blog on the side." And also if you know me, you know that this would not have been my first rodeo with a food blog. But I really was, I was like, "Oh. I’m going to start because I want this fun creative outlet." But what I realized at that time and what I realized now whenever this comes up for me is that what I’m really looking for is to have fun with my content again.

And so, if you feel the urge to run away, if you feel the urge to start crafting a YouTube channel or a food blog or a sub stack about plants, then, first of all, if you really want to do that, by all means, but check yourself that that’s not an urge to run away from your business because it gets hard. And also check yourself that it’s not because you’re not having any fun with your content anymore because you’re strangling it with strategy. You’re forcing it all to be I should be doing this. I should be on TikTok. I should be on YouTube. I should have a podcast. My episodes should be about this. My emails should be about that. I have to follow this strategy.

I think it’s a balance. It really is. I’m the first to tell you strategy is important all day long. I know from experience now that it takes time to find your healthy balance with this where, you know, we can’t just be posting our favorite recipes and things we love, or links to stuff we want to buy, or whatever, things that are just fun and personal. We can’t be doing that all the time if you have a business and we also can’t be strategic all the time if you have a business.

So, I hope you liked this first little episode of our Summer Series of kind of things I’m learning this summer, things I’m learning in business right now, things that I’m learning in life, and how this is coming up and showing up for me. I hope you enjoyed listening and I can’t wait to chat with you next week.

Thanks so much for listening to the On Your Terms podcast. Make sure to follow on Apple Podcasts, 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. 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.

Just remember that although I am a attorney, I am not your attorney and I am not offering you legal advice in today’s episode. This episode and all of my episodes are informational and educational only. It is not a substitute for seeking out your own advice from your own lawyer. And please keep in mind that I can’t offer you legal advice. I don’t ever offer any legal services. But I think I offer some pretty good information.

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