Bravely is a dream of mine, born out of my own troubled experiences with money. I want to change the system that we live in by helping women control more money. That is my overarching why that runs through everything that I do.
There is no right or wrong way to chase a dream. There’s only the best way for you to get after what you want.
Bravely is currently a one-woman show. I do all our event planning, website maintenance and the majority of the writing, social media and email management. On top of that, I freelance write to pay the majority of my bills, and I have a catering side hustle.
While I do fancy myself Wonder Woman, I am, at the end of the day, just one person. There is only so much time in a day and I only have so much energy and money to pour into this. Getting it all done can feel impossible but I’ve done my damnedest to lay out what I do to chase a dream.
How to Chase a Dream On Limited Time
Time is the one thing that you can never get more of. You can drink coffee for an energy boost and you can always earn more money, but once time is gone it never comes back.
Managing your time well will be a constant struggle. Or at least it is for me. I am just as susceptible as the next person to the wonders of the internet!
In order to get the most out of my time I follow three basic steps every day:
- Batch your work days. Mondays and Thursdays are reserved for writing. This includes my freelance work, writing posts for Bravely and putting together my newsletter. Tuesdays are for meetings, both in person and online. Wednesdays are for all things Bravely- getting in touch with people, researching event spaces, working on the editorial calendar, etc. Friday is for follow-ups and anything I didn’t get done in the first four days of the week.
- Batch your work hours. This is something that has worked in fits and starts for me. I try to check my email just once an hour, rather than constantly allowing it to distract me. I use a timer to set myself 30-minute chunks of work time to get something done. Focus is key when you are working within a limited time. Maximize what you can get done by shutting out distractions and working on one thing at a time.
- Get up earlier. Full confession here- I am not, and never will be a morning person. People who hop out of bed at 5 am and get their day started right away are a mystery to me. I hate mornings and I love my bed, and that’s who I am. Still, the truth is there are more hours in your day when you get up earlier. So a new routine for me is to get up 45 minutes earlier than usual three days a week. It’s enough to add a chunk of time to my schedule regularly, but not so much that I am exhausted throughout the week or hating life. Normally I get up at 7:30, so this means three days a week I get up at 6:45 (or honestly, sometimes 7:00).
How to Chase a Dream On Limited Energy
Chasing a dream means there’s always something to be done. I can always be networking, or outlining a post, or pitching a new story idea.
Having a never ending to-do list is draining. You can feel like you’re never accomplishing anything, or that you’re incompetent because there’s always more to be done. This can drain your mental energy, and always being on the go can drain your physical energy.
Burnout is very real and reaching that point means that your dream is close to dead. You don’t want to forget why you’re doing all this in the first place, or why the hell you started at all.
I take a full day off each week. Every Sunday is my day to do whatever the hell I want. Ok, yes, I still check email on Sunday’s because I’m addicted, but I don’t answer any emails. There are no to-do lists. I spend time with friends, I get outside, and I eat my favorite things. I watch tv, I exercise, and I sleep in way past 7:30.
Taking a regular day to recharge and experience your life outside of work is going to make you a better worker. It sounds counterintuitive because we live in a world that glorifies constant hustle, but it’s a powerful tool that will keep you going for a longer period.
In order to keep your energy levels up you need to take the time to recharge. Whether it’s a full day or a small chunk of time each day, take some time for yourself to feed your passion.
How to Chase a Dream On Limited Money
I come from a very frugal background. I was a frugal blogger and debt payoff expert for two years before I started Bravely. That frugal mindset followed me to my business, which has allowed me to host events and this website on a shoestring budget.
When it comes to hosting Bravely events, I work only with free venues. I don’t have the cash on hand to rent venues out, so I limit myself to those I can get for free. I also only work with speakers that don’t charge a fee, and I offer them extensive press and social media coverage in return for their time.
Some general rules to frugal business practices are:
Be flexible. When you’re trying to get something for free, be flexible. If your first choice date was taken at a free venue, move the date of the event. If someone wants to give you items for an auction that you weren’t initially interested in, take the items. Being flexible paints you as a good person to work with. That in turn will increase the word of mouth you’re generating and will make more people want to work with you.
Know your numbers. I started Bravely with $3,300. I knew I couldn’t host a conference with that money, and I couldn’t host endless free events with that money. Knowing my number and understanding it was finite helped me get savvy about what I needed to do with the business.
Ask for help. I can’t emphasize this enough. Asking for help with your business, be it from friends, family or internet strangers, is a great way to get things done for free. I asked two friends to help me plan my ‘Talk Money to Me’ event, which they did for free. When I wanted to start an email list, I asked Des at Half Banked for help navigating Mail Chimp. Put the word out about what you’re doing and ask people to be a part of it.
Invest in tools. This can’t be stated enough; invest in some tools to get yourself up and running. I spoke about the 5 tools I used to start Bravely here, but I’m also going to add a few. Definitely find a software that can help you with payments (I use Freshbooks). I also recommend getting tools like a quiet workspace, a comfortable chair, and a good set of headphones for calls, interviews and just tuning out the world.
To chase a dream you need a mix of grit, bravery, and determination. You do what you can with what you have and slowly you start having more. It’s cliche, but the best thing you can do is to just start. Take one step today that puts you closer to your dream and you’ll start bringing it to life.