In today’s milestone episode of the ‘How You Pictured It’ podcast, I talk about the idea of aligning personal values and priorities with entrepreneurial goals. I talk about the roots of starting the podcast and my experiences over 12 years as a small business owner. This conversation focuses on helping small business owners rediscover the freedom and flexibility they imagined at the start of their journey, often lost through the realities of running a business. I help you define what success looks like, identify your core values, and prioritize actions in alignment with those values. Through real-life examples from my own business, I share how you can revisit and modify business practices to reflect your personal values and priorities better. You have the liberty to run your businesses your own way.
00:00 Introduction and Podcast Journey
00:19 The Heart of the Podcast
02:22 Understanding Values and Priorities
03:39 Exercise to Identify Your Values and Priorities
05:00 Analyzing Your Answers
05:55 Applying Your Values and Priorities
06:21 Aligning Your Business with Your Values
07:00 Examples of Value-Based Business Decisions
08:09 Keeping Your Values Close
08:27 Permission to Do Things Your Way
08:59 Closing Remarks and Future Plans
[00:00:00] Kate: Today marks episode 50 of the How You Pictured It podcast. I am so excited that we’ve made it this far. I’ve loved being in your earbuds and being on this journey with you. And I cannot wait to share all of the big goals and things coming forward for the podcast. Really diving into growing this platform and sharing more with you.
Today I want to get back to the heart of why I started the podcast in the first place though.
The whole idea behind the podcast and where the name How You Pictured It comes from is based on the idea of helping other small business owners figure out how to get back to the life that they pictured when they first started their journey into entrepreneurship.
When most of us start out, we have this idea of this freedom and flexibility, the work wherever whenever fewer hours, um, kind of lifestyle that is often sold as entrepreneurship and then we get into it and we realize we are working to the bone or doing things that don’t really align with us or [00:01:00] don’t feel good and miss out on that kind of big picture life that we had in mind when we started.
I’ve been a small business owner for over 12 years now, and one thing that has come up year after year for me is the reminder that I get to create my own business with my own rules. I get to decide what I’m doing, when I’m doing it, and who I’m doing it for. In the early years, I was seeking out any and all advice I could find on how to be successful.
The key that I was missing, though, was first defining what success is. I took so many classes and read so many things, but when it was time to put those ideas into action, I’d get stuck. And the main reason for that usually was a misalignment of values and priorities, meaning the educator’s version of success didn’t match mine.
For example, I went to a big workshop, did a whole course on senior photography, where the instructor was teaching in person sales. And I had some pushback at the time. I felt like, how was I going to make that fit with my family’s life, with [00:02:00] our life, and pushed forward anyway, ignored that little inner voice, um, and ended up unhappy with the situation and had to change things again because again, it just wasn’t in alignment with what I valued.
So today I really want to talk about how we can make sure that what we are doing is in alignment with our values, our priorities, and our version of success. So what’s the difference between a value and a priority? Well, a value is more like an overarching principle or feeling.
Like creativity, honesty, family orientedness, loyalty, thoughtfulness, those kinds of things. big ideas, um, and feelings more than actions. Priorities lend into actions more or task oriented things. They are the way we act on our values. So, if family orientedness is a value of yours, The priority is probably something like making time for those family activities or putting family activities on your calendar [00:03:00] above, um, work activities.
If you value honesty, it may manifest as telling the truth above anything else, even if it makes you look bad with a client because that is more important to you.,
I’ve found that knowing what I value most really helps to drive those priorities help me get things in order And then that helps to form my definition of success Figuring out what your values and priorities are is a lot of self reflection and asking yourself questions, and then sitting with those answers to really get clear again on what is the most important thing to you, how do you want to feel, what things do you value most, and how can we turn those into priorities.
So let’s go through a few questions. We’re going to do a little exercise here to help you get clear on this. You can write down the answers, you pause in between things, um, and just spend some time thinking about these things. In your personal life, what are the things you really want to spend the most time on? Where do you find yourself feeling the happiest and the most fulfilled? [00:04:00] When was the last time you felt truly proud of yourself?
If you could only achieve one thing in the next year, what would it be?
What sacrifices are you willing, or not willing, to make for your personal goals?
business side, what parts of your business bring you the most joy? Who do you love serving?
What parts of the common advice and recommendations in your profession have just never felt good to you? Is there something about the way things have always been done that feels gross? How do you want people to feel after working with you?
What do you want people to tell their friends about your business?
When you’re answering these questions, I hope you are being really honest with yourself. These questions are just for you to see, not for anybody else. Um, and I think there’s so much that we can learn from them.[00:05:00]
When you’re analyzing your answers here, there are a few things that I want you to look out for. One is inconsistencies. Is there anywhere in your answers where you answered one thing here and then in another place you answered something that kind of contradicts that?
I think we We can get free form and when we’re like in that flow state, things come out and we have to kind of look back then and see like, ooh, maybe that was a little bit different with this kind of idea, um, and how those kind of inconsistencies play out and figuring out what the truth is there.
We do tend to lie to ourselves sometimes, and so finding those inconsistencies is step number one. Step number two, what surprises you about what you wrote? Was there anything that just caught you off guard as you were answering those questions? And then step number three, what patterns are you seeing from one answer to the next, even like across the personal questions and the business questions?
Once we’ve identified those priorities and values, what’s next? For me, it’s looking [00:06:00] at those things and helping myself define what it is that I want to achieve. What do I want my life to look like? How did I picture my life when I started this business? How do I picture my life in the next year, the next five years?
Those lovely basic interview questions, but they really do hold value. Finding these priorities and values and then applying them to how you want your life to look.
The next step is going to be finding what in your business and in your personal life are out of alignment with your values and priorities. How can we change that? Do we need to outsource something? Do we need to change policies? Do we need to change how we schedule or how we work?
Use your values and priorities to help guide that so that you can get closer to that version of your life that you pictured.
A lot of these things are big ideas too, so it’s okay if you take this step by step. Look at what’s really wildly out of alignment and what needs to change first to get you back to that picture. Some of it’s going to be a long, slow process. Some of it’s going to be quick [00:07:00] fixes.
Early on in my business, one of the things that popped up for me was that while I value professional prints and products for my clients, it was not a priority for me to make all of my money on pushing that sale. So I was able to then go in and change my structure so that I make my money on the digital portion of the sale and then they can still access the prints and products for my photography business on the back end without me spending too much time on it and therefore I was able to offer it at a lower price. Another way that my values manifest in my business is through my program, the Website Launch Accelerator. It’s highly important for me that my students have access to me, that we have time to talk together and brainstorm, that they have a sounding board to bounce their ideas off of.
And so I built that program with those things in mind. My priorities for them were To be able to really have a person to talk to, not to just go through a course and learn all things, show it. I wanted them to be able [00:08:00] to build their site with the tools they needed and access to that information quickly.
So I built that program with that kind of, those values in mind.
Another step that I would suggest taking is having your values listed out and put somewhere really close to your desk so when you’re trying to make decisions, you can go back to that and know again what your values are and that’ll help you with your priorities and figuring out what you need to do next in your business.
Lastly, I just want to give you permission to do things your own way. It is okay if you are not following best practices, um, air quotes, best practices for anything in your business except for, of course, legal things, taxes, contracts. Highly recommend following those rules, but otherwise you get to decide how, when, where you work with people and what it is that you offer.
This is your permission slip to pull that back into alignment and get back to the life that you pictured. I’d love [00:09:00] for you to take a minute to DM me on Instagram at DearKateBrandStrategy and let me know what your biggest takeaway from this episode was. I have more episodes coming for you in the future with some amazing guest experts and some more solo episodes coming soon. It has been a pleasure to talk to you today and , I cannot wait to hear what you’ve thought.
Talk to you next week.