Grow with grace

Dyana ValentineDear Dyva:

As a self-employed service provider (how gloriously vague is that? I could be a hooker! Who can say?), how can you gracefully sail through awkward growth spurts? I’ve reached a point where the number of people who’re interested in hiring me vastly outweighs the number of hours I’m willing to sit at a computer screen. I know my business needs to “grow” to meet swelling demands, but I’m not ready to become a boss, with minions and interns. And I’ve been told that cloning is painful and expensive.

What’s a growing gal to do?

Grow With Grace from Dyana Valentine on Vimeo.

Let me start with a from-the-rooftops WAHOOO!! Growing Gal! I’m proud of you and am so glad you are rocking worlds with so much aplomb that folks are lining up around the block. I sincerely trust you are taking time to celebrate your grandeur. Now, here are some with-love tips on how to scale with style.

Keep It Fancy: This is the perfect time to up the ante. Double your rates, clarify your services. I wonder if part of your cloning conundrum stems from doing-it-all (for them). Are there elements of what you have been offering that can be eliminated entirely? Does it feel juicy to do some part of what you have been offering and ditch the rest? Just because you are good at something does not mean you have any business doing it. If the old outfit doesn’t fit the new, taller, in-demand you, ditch it and go for a sequined suit version of your biz.

Work Sober: I have had a few growth spurts. On more than one occasion, I overindulged in the rush of having people clamoring for my attention. It diluted my purpose and when I was all high on the swell, it meant I could only produce in a half-way manner. The quality of my work zigged and zagged; I missed the fine details. It was not attractive. Find a sensible, foxy version of moderation for yourself and get some accountability around it.

Grow with grace, girlie.

Your turn: weigh in and tell us your stories of how you grew with grace down in the comments. Feel free to add your questions, too, and I’ll answer them in upcoming videos.

3 thoughts on “Grow with grace

  1. Stacey King Gordon

    I love every single word of this post, Dyana – this is exactly what I’m going through right now, and I love the idea of “growing with grace.” I too overindulge in the idea of being bigger than life, but once I have too much on my plate I groan under the weight of it. My biggest challenge right now is trying to understand (and hold myself to) what is “enough” for me, and put some parameters around that – whether it’s measuring hours in the week or how much I’ve invoiced in a month, I need to really understand when to stop saying “yes” and give good, earnest attention to what I already have in front of me. It’s an eternal struggle for an independent, I think – how to stop thinking about tomorrow long enough to give today the attention it deserves.

    1. Dyana Valentine

      I can dig it, Stacey–especially the “hold myself to” part because I really DO understand what is enough, but I waffle (hard) on the boundaries sometimes (okay, a lot). Very sizzly closing line, missy. I think that might be worth a reminder in your phone or a post it on your computer screen–Give today the attention it deserves. And if today needs to be “bigger” in some way to allow you to grow (not groan), then look at how it can be redesigned to serve your greatness. Thanks so much for the comments.

  2. Jessica Greenwalt

    I still struggle with distributing my time among freelance projects and all the other things I want to do in life. Over the last year, the demand for my design services has exploded, and there have been times when, in my excitement (or out of obligation), I’ve picked up more projects than I am physically capable of completing at one time. As you can imagine, this is a very stressful situation to be in, but it can be easily avoided. The longer I work as a freelancer, the more important the ability to say “no” seems to be. I completely agree that increasing your rate is a great way to manage demand, and I find it is also a great way to say “no” indirectly. Increasing your rate is like instantly saying “no” to potential clients who are not willing to pay what your time is worth. This is much faster than evaluating, managing, and selecting from the abundance of projects that come to your door at your lower rate.