#301 Align Your Business and Get Your Time Back

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A few years ago, I ran into Jennifer Dawes, founder, and creator behind Dawes Design, at an event for the Chi Resp Jewelry Conference. 

We were chatting about the direction of her company and she seemed EXHAUSTED.

Her profit margins were shrinking, she was overwhelmed all of the time, and she was kinda ready to throw in the towel.

I mean, the girl is talented beyond belief – and she knows that – so I was talking with her about how I could support her growth.

She joined our Momentum coaching program to get our support streamlining her business. 

After using the system I’m going to talk about today, she ended up getting hours of her time back, increasing her monthly profit margins by $18k, and aligning her biz with her life goals. 

Hearing her success story, and watching the success of our many other students, I knew it was time to share this system on the podcast.

What Jennifer was experiencing – and what many struggling designers are experiencing – is a business out of alignment with her goals.

Regardless of the size of your company, if you’re in a place where you are stressed out, overwhelmed by your business, and burned out – let’s discuss what to do next.

It’s a 5-step system that I’ll be covering at a higher level in our workshop on May 18.

Align Your Business and Get Your Time Back Show notes

There's really about what I call an aligned vision. It's really just casting this vivid picture of where you're going. So this means you need to evaluate your business like what's going on in it. It means that you have to paint a big picture of what you're trying to create and then create that vivid vision of what success looks like.

Welcome to Thrive by Design, the podcast for ambitious independent jewelry brands, looking to profit from their products, get ready to make more and sell more doing what you love, without spending every single waking minute doing it. Hey, and if you're a creative fashion or product-based business, I want to welcome you to the show. I'll be dropping big tips on launching, growing, and scaling your business. Spend more of your precious time using your creativity to make you ready. All right, let's do this.

Tracy: Welcome to the Thrive by Design podcast episode 301. Hey there, it's Tracy Matthews, Chief Visionary Officer of Flourish and Thrive Academy and Creatives Rule The World. Welcome to my 50th birthday month, and one of the episodes in this birthday month. I'm saying that because we're having a celebration all month and I'm so excited about today's episode, because I'm going to be talking about aligning your business with what matters most to get you your time back and I want to share with you the exact reason why I'm hosting this workshop.

Before literally like a couple of minutes before I started recording this episode I was on the phone with my friend Sabina Hitchen, Sabina has been a coach at Flourish and Thrive, a PR coach Flourish and Thrive for I don't know, at least five years now probably longer than that she's spoken at our events and she's speaking on an event we're having in June. She's done all the things. And as a visionary and a highly creative person, she's great at getting herself out there. But she was running herself ragged. And so about a year and a half ago, I was hosting a workshop in person in New York City, before everything closed down. And before COVID, kind of shut the world down. And we were chatting a little bit about that. And I'm like Sabina girl, I'm so excited, I'm going to do that exercise that we did at the workshop at the Creatives Rule The World planning intensive, and she's like, Oh, my gosh, girl, I have to tell you what happened. 

She's like, and I already knew this, because we've talked and we're friends, but, but she's like that workshop that that exercise you did literally changed my life. Last year, I doubled my income just by aligning my business with what mattered most. And doing more of the things that I know, were going to grow my sales based on your guidance. And so I walked her through this exercise. At this workshop, I did the same thing for many other people who were at the workshop. And they all had a similar result. And that was growth in sales, more alignment with what mattered to them, and less work on the inside of their business. And so I wanted to invite you to join me, for a very special workshop, it is called Align to Ignite. And we're really excited about it. It's all about aligning your business, and your life with what matters most. 

Now, one of the reasons why a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners and makers and creatives in general struggle when they start a business it's because they don't know how to number one structure their time, they don't know how to follow the right ideas, they end up being pulled in a lot of directions, what stresses them out, it makes them overwhelmed, they feel like they don't have any time left. They're running on like kind of that hamster wheel feeling. It doesn't matter what stage like this is the same thing for people in the startup phase. And people who have like six figure businesses and people have million dollar companies, you know, you're out of alignment, when you feel overwhelmed when you feel overworked, when things aren't lining up, like when only certain parts of your life are actually working and that's a crystal clear sign that your business literally is begging you to shift. And so I want to give you my visionary roadmap that literally made me millions. And I'm gonna walk you through the process of how I do this for myself, and how I do this for my students. And so if you're interested in joining me for the Align to Ignite workshop, it's a four hour workshop on May 18. It is literally so valuable, I usually charge $2,000 for this in a two day event. So I you know, assuming this is kind of like a one day event, that would be like half half that price. So $997 it is yours for only $97. When you get in, here's the only caveat. It's happening on May 18. So you got to enroll Now, if you're listening to this this week, make sure that you check it out.

So you can head on over if you want to check out the details head on over to flourishthriveacademy.com/alignnow that's flourishthriveacademy.com/alignnow, I will also have a link on the show notes. So wherever you're listening to this, make sure you check out the show notes. And yeah, it's happening on May 18. I will record the session so if something comes up by don't want to stress out, we'll send the recordings after I highly recommend that you come live because we're going to be doing a workshop-style intensive. I got my team on the backend supporting me playing Sheri is going to be there helping me out. So with that being said, Here's your official invitation. Please check it out. Honestly, it will change your life. And the reason why I think this is so important is that not only was I feel like things actually happen and line up for a reason, right. So I got a message from one of our students who were in our Momentum program over here at Flourish and thrive Academy. 

We've worked with her in a lot of our programs over the years and she was in the momentum program, I think for about two years. And freakin crushed it. She had so many things going on in our personal life and stuff like that. Even during the program. So many things shifted. And I want to share with you what happened to her what she sent me hold on a second. Her name is Kristen Mara. She is a rock star. She has a really beautiful jewelry line that she sells online. And she also sells it in catalogs and in stores, which is awesome. She sent me this note, I am I'm signed up, I'm so excited. I am so psyched for your high touch presence and inspiring energy. Your workshops are so laser focused, and incredibly productive for me. Fun Facts last year, my online sales that were up 169%. And in Q1 this year, because of what I've learned, my sales have doubled. They're up 100%. And I couldn't have done it without you. And on top of that I met a man because I set my business up the right way. I am super, super excited for you, Kristen, don't be surprised if you get a bunch of messages asking about this. But it works. And so let's talk a little bit more about aligning your business to get your time back. 

So this is a common struggle, like raise your hand and you can also like find me on Instagram @TracyMatthewsNY, if you're struggling with this because I'd love to hear from you. I'd like to I love talking to designers, makers, others in the industry. Figure out and I've helped like people from all spectrums. And I really believe that this workshop and this exercise is really great. For people who have established businesses, it is also great for people just starting out and people who have seven-figure companies as well. So I recommend no matter where you are that you consider this, because it's a useful exercise no matter where you are in business. And in fact, this is what I helped Jennifer Dawes do of  Dawes designs, when she was really making a big shift in our business and was trying to streamline our operation and the ultimate results after working with us for a year in our program was that she increased her monthly profit margins or monthly profit number, I guess by about $18,000 a month, which was super cool. I love it. She wrote a little blurb for my book. She's like Flourish and Thrive Academy is like a master's program for the jewelry industry, which I love. 

So the first step in this and what I really helped all these designers and creatives that I mentioned, Sabina, Kristen, and Jen Dawes was to get super clear on what success looks like for them. And so part of this process in the workshop is really about creating what I call an aligned vision, it's really just casting this vivid picture of where you're going. So this means you need to evaluate your business like what's going on in it, it means that you have to paint a big picture of what you're trying to create. And then create that vivid vision of what success looks like for you. And once you can do this, and there's a like four step process in doing this, then you can start journaling as if like this stuff is already happening. 

So you can get clear about it's like you have you heard that phrase like the cream rises to the top or whatever it is. So you can really get clear on like what matters to you. Because the most important things start to rise to the top. And you start seeing common themes on what's really important because here's the thing, a lot of people say like, Oh, I want to make a million dollars, or Oh, I want to have a six figure income or whatever it is. But there's nothing backing behind that there's no purpose or reason behind that, that it's just numbers, it doesn't mean anything, right? Because I know that if I wasn't impacting thousands of designers and makers and creatives every single week with this podcast or with what we're doing over at Flourish and Thrive, or Creatives Rule the World or any of my companies, or even my jewelry company, for that matter. If what I did didn't really matter. It wouldn't make sense for me to even show up to work, quite frankly, because like, I'm not one of those people like I love money because that affords me an incredible life. But money without soul is because money not without exchange for like impact for me, doesn't mean anything. 

So when you can get clear about the reasons why you want to make set amount of money or have a certain lifestyle goal or whatever it might be, then that's when it starts to happen for you. Does that make sense? So for instance, like if I look at my own life, one of the things that I was trying to create in my own life when I really started leaning into this process about five years ago was being able to manifest a relationship. And I was doing really well, all my companies were crushing it, my jewelry business was bringing in like multiple, six figures a year with very little time invested into it. And it's a lifestyle business. So I wasn't interested in scaling it to like seven figures, or multiple seven or anything like that. Maybe that will come down the road, when I launched the next jewelry company, Flourish and Thrive was doing awesome, had a great team. My life was incredible in New York City, but I wasn't showing up in my business or life or anything in a way that would actually invite a relationship in. 

So I had to get super clear, like, what is out of alignment here? If I really say I want this relationship? Like how can how would it ever fit into my life, I'm so busy, like, I don't even have time to go on a date. You know what I mean? Why make dating a priority, but you know what I mean? Like, I wouldn't have time to, like, invest time in it. So when I met Jason, and we started dating, it wasn't we didn't start dating till about six months after, I didn't really like take a look, because I knew he was a special person that if it was going to turn into something, I had to make some shifts, and who I how I was showing up, I had to clear up some some old stories that I had. And I had to really work on myself. And the same thing happened for him, like neither of us are really ready for the kind of relationship, this kind of epic relationship that we have before that, because we were both working all the time. And he has kids too. So that adds another added element, right? I became a stepmom, like during COVID. And it's crazy. So fun, I got to like, drop the kids off at school this morning on the way to my office, which I say it was I'm sitting in my new apartment, which I'm using as an office and staging for videos and stuff. 

So it's a really great experience, I wanted to remind you of that. Because if what how you're showing up for your life and like running, your business isn't really aligned with what you're trying to create, there's no way that you will ever create that you're just going to create more of the same. So once you kind of create this vision of what you're trying to create, then then it's your turn to like really start to ideate. Like, how am I going to get there? Like what are the things that will support this in my life, and what needs to happen in order to do that. So ideas come in the form of like business strategies, new collection ideas, sales strategies, it could come in life design. So there's like so many ways to ideate, like what you're bringing to the world, right? But it's not aligned with what you're trying to create, then you're never going to get there, right. So from there, it's just this is really about casting this big vision or this big vision is the wrong word, because we're already doing the vision part, but umbrella of things that could potentially support that. And so when you're in the ideation phase, this is all about clearing space and time we are undistracted where you can set a timer, put on some great music like my guys at Brain FM, get that going. And really come up with some brainstorm or mind map of what it is that's going to support those things. And this is just as important as the rest of it. So make a list. And then I also want you to make a list of what's not supporting you in reaching those goals. So if you're doing a bunch of things that aren't supporting the vision that you've created, then make sure that you're honest with yourself, and you identify how you aren't showing up for yourself and where it's not aligned. 

So the next step of this is to filter. So before I want move on to the filtering phase, you know, I want to share a little story about Sabina I mentioned her earlier, Sabina and I've been friends for a long time. She literally doubled her business last year. And she she came to this workshop, she said she wanted to make more than $20,000 a month or whatever her goal was, I can't even remember I'm just making kind of making that up. But I think it was something around that. And so I asked her all these questions. I was like, alright, so how are you getting there? And she's like, I don't know, I'm just doing all this stuff. And she's shows up everywhere, because she's kind of like most visionaries and most creatives, she just says everything instead of thinking through what's really going to support that goal. And she didn't have a filter to identify like, what are the things that are going to move me to that goal. And I have all these ideas, I'm just going to follow a bunch of them and see what sticks instead of using this filtering process. So she started doing the filtering process and started getting super clear on what it was that was going to support that goal.

And I asked her a bunch of questions like What are you doing? Is this bringing you closer to your goal? Is this aligned with what you want to make? Or are you creating the partnerships that you need to create that are going to actually make you the sales because the struggle sometimes with PR and saying yes to a lot of things with PR especially if it requires TV appearances and stuff like that. You have to understand the difference of where your time is going because a lot of times TV appearances which Sabina does a lot of and all these other things are great for exposure if you're getting paid to do that job. But it's a more of a longer lead funnel, it's more about creating authority instead of sales. And she really needed to make the sale. So I'm like, what are some of the things that you could do to actually make the sales and so she identified some partnerships that she could create other brands like like Flourish and Thrive that she could partner with? where it would actually expand her audience? And so some of these filtering questions that she got clear on there's a lot more than that, I'm not going to I'll I'll teach you them all. If you join me for the for the Align to Ignite workshop is really understanding, will this get me closer to my goals? Is it something that's going to help me reach my targets in the next 90 days? Or a year? And is this joyful for me? Is this something I enjoy? And is this something that will support the longer term vision of where I'm going? And if the answer is no to any of those questions, then you put it on the back burner, or you just don't do it at all. And like the biggest problem that I saw with Sabina is that she wasn't promoting herself enough, she just was coming and serving, which is great. But people got to get paid right at a certain time, you can't just do a bunch of stuff for free. So we wanted to make sure that she was in that space where she was bringing in the big buckaroos. 

Now, the next part of this is really about ideating or not ideating because we testing your ideas. And I like to say call this tests before you invest is really about your idea validation. So there's different ways to test for different products and things. So collection development, like a selling a physical product, you would test that in a different way, then you test like an offer, or a service. But in the end, it all really comes down to the same thing. It comes down to talking to your customers and understanding what they really want from you creating some sort of beta before you go all in and do the heavy lifting, having some sort of opportunity to pre sell your offers before you spend all this time making it. And then really getting it out there before you do like you invest a lot of money and time into your marketing. So once again, I'm gonna be sharing a lot more about this one, because the idea validation process is really important in the Align to Ignite workshop. 

Now, the final part of this is really the most strategic, it's about creating, it's about almost like if you were to imagine like an upside down pyramid, like a funnel, right? You start wide, you go really wide, right? Like my arms are raised up over my head and a V right now and then you narrow that down into something a lot more specific. And so this is where the gold happens. When you're creating your 90 day strategic plans, and you understand the seasons of your business. When you don't understand the seasons of your business, you'll actually be super distracted. And so what I'd really encourage you to do is to identify the Four Seasons of your business. My friend Kate Northrup, I interviewed her about this. And I think in February, she has a book called Do Less. And she talks about the seasons in our business. And when we think about seasons in Flourish and Thrive Academy, I can easily help you identify what those seasons are, we're actually bringing the seasons to the Diamond Insiders. So the seasons like the beginning of the year is really about planning and creating structure and systems. The seasons for the Q2 is really about growing your audience. The season for Q3 is creating automations. And simplifying things in the seasons for Q4 is all about sales. And it's not that you're not selling or doing all these things in all the seasons. But when you have a focus for those seasons, and you're centering that around the strategic 90 day plan, and you're getting clear on like, Okay, what are the systems and plantings that need to be created, then you're focused on building your audience and you're focused on, you know, setting up automations and things that and getting support on the things that you need to do so that you're prepping for the massive sales season. So all these are part of the Desire Brand Effect methodology, creating desire, sharing desire, and scaling desire. And you might have noticed that I talked about scaling desire pretty much twice because of the planning and the strategic part. And also the systems and automation part are both part of that. But those we kind of have to double down on sometimes. And then there's this bigger umbrella of mindset, which we're not going to get into right now. Because you have to always be working on your mindset to make sure that you're cleared for that. So when you are in this this space literally I guess the best place to put it is when you're in the space of developing your strategic plan, you break it down into quarters, right? 

So the 90 day quarters, okay, like what are my key goals for this quarter. I really recommend that everyone always has some sort of financial goal because that's important, whether it's reducing inventory and increasing profit margins or a sales goal or whatever it is, obviously, we're always having sales targets that we're trying to hit. We're in business to make money, right? But during those seasons, you can have a core theme or focus that helps you kind of dial that in and we have a system for this. We've been using it with our Momentum students, and I've been using this with my consulting clients as well, to help them really dial this in so that they're moving a lot faster. And when you can focus on the biggest rocks or important projects for each quarter and have no more than three that you're seriously focused on, your business will skyrocket. And what we want to help you do is to align all the things that you're doing with where you're going. So you see how this ends up being kind of circular or cyclical in a way. Because we're always moving back, and looking back at that big picture vision, to make sure that all the things that you're doing in your business are aligned with where you're going for that growth. And I want to bring back Jennifer Dawes, because she's a really well known designer, and she's a good friend of mine. And when I ran into her at an event, and part of the reason why she started working with us is she just looked exhausted. And I was like what's going on girl, she's like, it's been hard. You know, I've built my business so far, but I'm so tired of it. And like a lot of people, you know, she's a really talented artist. And she's like, I got into this because I'm an artist, and I want to be able to create and be creative, and the business side is sucking me dry. And I know that in order to keep this business going, I have to focus on the business side. But like what's happening now is really killing me. And I don't know how to change it and fix it. And so we got to this place where we started just identifying like, what is it that needed to shift for her? Like what needs to shift? what needs to change? What are the things that we're trying to create here? And how can we make the most important things a priority for growth. And so she started looking at her business. And she identified a couple of things that really needed to shift her, she needed a better system for running her business and our operation. She had spent her entire that entire year working together upgrading her inventory system, so that she could track what was going on with our products, because she felt like she was like, I know that I've been there but felt like she was kind of leaking? leaking a little bit of cash. And that's stressful, especially when you're doing fine jewelry, we helped her create a system for marketing to increase her direct to consumer sales, which was huge for her because the profit margins were so much higher. So you literally have to sell less, especially as a fine jeweler, you have to sell like half of what you would wholesale, to make the same amount of money that half the number of pieces. So she really wanted to do that. And it's not that she wanted to dial back or wholesale. It's just she wanted to have more profit, higher profit margins, she wanted to have a better system for customer orders, because that was the one thing that she really loved doing. And the reason for that is that that allowed her to take on more clients without working harder to get aligned with the type of profit margins, as I mentioned, that she was trying to create. 

So once we did all this, it completely streamlined our operation. I mean, I didn't do it, she did it. I just gave her the guidance with my coaches and my staff. And her business, like, at the end of the year, ended up being way more profitable. She said that she was making about $18,000 more a month than she was previously, which is a significant amount of money, even for people who have like high multiple six figure or seven figure businesses and fine jewelry companies and all the things. So with that being said, I hope that this was valuable, like you know what i want to kind of leave this with support to get you in alignment. Because I know one of the things that I hear from people all the time and I use this excuse, I sometimes throw tantrums. Don't tell anyone, but I do. I get so frustrated, I get I cry. And I'm super emotional. Like I just did this thing called Human Design, I got a reading. And they were sharing. When I did this reading with this woman. She told me that I was on the emotional wave. And what that means is that when I filter through something or come up with challenges, I become very emotional. And so I definitely throw tantrums sometimes because it's frustrating. And my number one when I'm out of alignment is frustration. So anytime I know that I'm out I know I'm out of alignment when I feel super frustrated. And these last two years in a way for me have been literally an opportunity for me to look at everything that I'm doing because there have been so many frustrating moments. And so when I tell you all this stuff, and I'm coming here on the podcast, I just want you to know that a lot of the things I'm teaching I'm also working through myself, and I refine these processes for myself, because it's helped me grow. And to be someone who's supporting an industry, where mindset is a huge key to success. 

I always have to keep my head in the right place so that I can be strong for you guys, the people listening to this podcast, the people who pay for our programs and services and the Flourish and Thrive community for the other creatives that I help because not always but I would say in general, a lot of creative types happen to be emotional and they end up having you know, a lot of negative self talk, imposter syndrome. Like that belief that real artists can't make money. But what I'm here to tell you is that that is not true because real artists make money and they're always growing their sales are always growing their business, they're always getting out in front of in front of it, right? They're getting, they're getting at it, the really successful ones. And I want to help support you in aligning what you're doing so that you can get your time back. Because once you get in alignment, the natural result of that is more flow. And when you're more in flow, working in flow, state more, you're working less, and things aren't as hard and it becomes easier. And the result is more profit, more ease and marketing and sales, and all the things that you desire, maybe your relationship, if that's what you want, or more alignment with your family, whatever it is. So I'd love to help you with that. So we're going to be covering pretty much all these topics in depth in the four hour workshop that I'm hosting on May 18. So if you'd like to work with me, it is literally so value priced. Normally, as I mentioned, I hosted this a very similar workshop to this, it was just expanded over a two day period, the investment for that workshop was $2,000. And I had a lot of people pay in that. So that investment was $2,000. And I'm offering this to you for $97. Just because I want to be able to support as many people as possible in this. 

So this is perfect for businesses at all stages, you're going to get the most value if you have an established business and you're really trying to do like skyrocket those sales wherever you are. So if you're interested in learning more about the alliance to ignite workshop, I'd love for you to head on over to flourishthriveacademy.com/alignnow it is $97 it is a total steal. It's like you will definitely make your investment back I'm just telling you that in the end, maybe not during the four hours but after it, you know, once you're getting things aligned for yourself. 

Plus, I want you to really be able to use this anytime that you're feeling overwhelmed or frustrated or like you're just too busy to do all the things. So that's all for now. Alright, this is Tracy Matthews. I am super excited to be here every single week. And I want to thank you for listening to the show today. Once again, if you would like to join me for the workshop, head on over to flourishthriveacademy.com/alignnow and enroll right there. And I will see you on May 18. Let's do this. Ciao for now. 

Click here to download the show notes

Step 1: Clarify What Success Looks Like

Without a clear sense of where you’re going, you’re going to plateau. That’s just a fact.

It takes mindful effort to push your business to the pinnacle of success you’re striving for. So ask yourself, what does success really look like for you?

It can’t just be a financial goal. Money is a worthy pursuit, but money without intention or purpose ends up feeling pretty hollow, especially for creatives.

Dig deep into the why behind what you do, the impact you want to create and paint a vivid picture for yourself.

Step 2: Ideate

Once you have a vibrant image of success in mind, you have to figure out how you’re going to get there, what kind of support you need, and what has to happen to achieve your vision.

There’s an exercise I love to recommend for this step. 

Block out at least 30-45 uninterrupted minutes to give yourself your undivided attention.

Put on some nice focus music, and start freewriting. Map out all your ideas for how to reach your goals. Make a list of what’s not serving you. 

And most importantly, be honest about where you’re not showing up for yourself.

Step 3: Filter

Once you’ve finished this exercise, it’s time to filter through all the information and narrow down the most crucial elements of your plan.

Use filtering questions to do this, like…

  • Is this bringing me closer to my goals?
  • Is this something that will help me reach my targets for the next 90 days or year?
  • Is this something that is bringing me joy?
  • Is this something that will support where I am going?

Once you’ve done this, you can move on to the final two steps… which I cover in-depth in the full episode above.

And if you want to really dive into this system at a higher level, consider attending our 4-hour Align to Ignite Virtual Workshop. It’s one day only on May 18, so sign up now before it’s full!

xo, Tracy


May 18 – Align to Ignite Workshop

Momentum Coaching Program

Episode #255: From Burnout to Business Bliss with Jennifer Dawes

Episode #140: PR for Jewelry Designers with Sabina Hitchen

Episode #290: How to Overcome Creative Blocks and Get Into Flow State with Dan Clark




Listen on Apple Podcasts!