Dream Smarter Podcast Ep18 - My 28th Year In Review


Dream Smarter Podcast Ep18 – My 28th Year In Review

Below are the show notes/summary for this episode. Please listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify for the full show! Xo, Alex


So today, I’m just going to talk about my last year in review. I recently turned 29. Yay. I’m a Scorpio. My birthday is on November 10th, and I went to Joshua Tree with all of my friends. It was an incredible experience to be away from my phone. Honestly,  I am addicted to this thing, and I live alone. So it’s a little bit harder. Whenever I’m with other people, I always make an effort to leave my phone. I get so overwhelmed all the time with everything that’s happening in my business and my mind, and then in my life.

It’s just very overwhelming, and I’m sure many of you can relate to that. So I’m the type of person who needs to do whatever is in front of me and focus on that.

I do think in business focus is such a huge part of success. Finding focus when doing your work, I find that’s just such a great skill to have. And if focus is something that you want to work on, then I suggest grabbing some books. There’s the productivity planner I used to write in a lot. First, in the morning, you write down a list of priority things to do.

Then you break up your day in chunks of 30 minutes, and you focus for those 30 minutes. You leave your phone in the other room, and you do whatever task you need to do for those 30 minutes. And you can block off a number of chunks for one specific task.

For instance, if you’re like batching Instagram content, you could be like, okay, so I know I’m probably going to need an hour for that. So I’m going to do two 30 minute chunks, and your focus is those 30 minutes. So that’s a great little resource if you’re somebody who needs to focus.

Because if you’re like me and you have anxiety, and you’re overwhelmed all the time, then do some more research on focus and try and master that skill.

It’s definitely a skill. Don’t feel ashamed if it’s something that you’re not very good at. And I know there are people out there who have ADD and ADHD, and it’s even more of a hurdle for them. So, give yourself some grace, but work on your focus.

So like I said, I recently turned 29. My last year has been quite a whirlwind. Let’s just go through a little bit about what happened, and then I’ll get into some of the things that I learned and the lessons that you can take away from just my experience.

Put Your Head Down & Put In The Work

Last year, when I turned 28, I was living with my parents in their basement. I don’t even know what I did for my birthday, to be honest with you. 27 was a super hard year for me. That was the year where my life kind of completely fell apart. But that’s also the year that I started High Moon Studios. So,  there’s a given a take. I made it a good year out of all the bad that happened.

But when I turned 28, I was still in a place where I’m somewhat struggling. I feel like now I’ve gotten over a lot of my struggles. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, go and listen to the, My Story episode on the podcast.

So I feel like I have gotten over a lot of the issues that I had personally, just like mental mindset issues that I was having after my breakup and such. I finally feel like I’m at a good place with those, but now I have other issues, you know?

So it’s just this constant effort to fix myself.  I’m always working towards being the best me that I possibly can be.

I mean, look, I planned a whole trip for my birthday this year. It’s just something that I love. My mom has always treated us so well on our birthdays. And she’s always been so excited about our birthdays growing up. It’s just how I grew up. Birthdays are special.

And so I’ve always made a big effort to try and have a good birthday. And of course, you have some crap ones in there, but last year, I think we just maybe had dinner at home or something, which is fine. It just isn’t normal for me and my birthday.

I just was still very depressed. It didn’t start to pick up for me until January this year. In December, I hung out with family, and we did the whole Christmas thing, and I was kind of worried. I was like, Oh my God, I wasn’t going to be able to make my January tax payment.

And I did, of course, but I didn’t have any clients at the time. I didn’t have any money coming in. I was stressed out. And so in January, I was like, okay, I need to do things differently.

And that was truly the month that I decided, like everybody else’s and what they’re doing, doesn’t serve me. And I need just to stop listening to what everybody else is doing or analyzing it and doing it myself. And I just need to do my own thing and truly fall into my power as a CEO of Highmoon Studio and just try some and get playful with it and treat business like a fun game.

That’s when I introduced payment plans. That’s the month that I started paying attention to my consumers, what they need, their problems, and how I can find solutions to those problems.

Payment plans are amazing because they allow people who couldn’t necessarily afford to throw down thousands of dollars. It allows them to have great branding and a great website design for a monthly fee of $500 or a thousand dollars or $250 or whatever.

So that kind of blew my brand up when I started introducing that because all the other designers were saying, “Oh no, get full upfront or put a deposit upfront.”  And I was like, you know what, I’m going to try this whole $500 a month thing and treat this like a subscription business and see what happens. And it went crazy.

I’m so glad I did it. I’m so happy I put in the work when I did because it truly catapulted my business. And I was constantly putting out new work, and my work was getting so much better.

The big lesson that I learned this year is putting your head down and putting in the work when it’s needed that seriously.  You will never regret it ever. You will always look back and say, thank God I did that when I did it.

Have a Growth Mindset

Having a growth mindset is all about viewing everything that happens in life as something positive. And I know that that can be really, really hard. Of course, we’re all going to have bad moments. And we were going to want to vent and be like, this sucks because a lot does suck.

A lot of people are just going to roll over. I am not like that. I am like, okay, this is the perfect opportunity for me. Of course, I had my bad days. But this is also a perfect opportunity for me to sit in my room, put my head down, and grow my business.

And then, when the world finally opens up, I’m going to be at a place in my business where I’m making passive income every single day because I worked this hard. My clients are paying me more than ever, so I can work with less of them. And I’m going to be able to enjoy myself and just live a very balanced life.

You’re Not Going to be Balanced All the Time In Business

You’re going to have moments where you’re going to have to put in tons of extra work. And then you’re going to have times throughout the year, for instance, December, where you’re spending a lot of time with family. You’re barely working. So it’s all about finding balance in like the macro versus the micro every single day.

It’s really hard. Of course, some days, you’re going to have a great balance where you’re able to get in your workout, take your dog for a walk, eat healthily, do all of your client work and then have free time the end of the day. That is not my every single day. That is some days.

But then there are some days where I don’t work at all, and I’m just having a really bad day, and I need to chill out. And then there are some days where I am working 18 hours in one day.

I feel like social media makes things look so glamorous all the time. And being an entrepreneur is not glamorous. And even if it doesn’t look difficult, even if some people don’t make it look hard,  I want you to know right now that this is not effortless. And I work really, really hard, and it sucks sometimes.

Some days I’m like, Oh my God, can I take any more? I don’t know if I can take anymore. And then there are other days where I feel really powerful, and I want to keep going. So no, it doesn’t matter what somebody looks like on social media. It’s really hard for them. And if entrepreneurship was easy, everybody would do it.

Release the Things That Don’t Serve You

Another thing that I learned is just to release the things that don’t serve you and to be unapologetic about it. If there’s a client you don’t want to work with, if somebody is reaching out to you to get a coffee, or somebody in your DMS asking you all these questions, you have the right to say no. You have the right not to respond. You have the right to walk away.

Go with your gut. If something’s telling you like, Hm, I don’t want to do that, don’t waste your energy there. Don’t do it. And don’t feel bad about not doing it.

I know there are many people out there who have clients that they’re not happy with. Specifically, creative entrepreneurs who work with the same clients every month and just literally resent the projects. They end up hating the client. And anytime they have to work on that project, it just spews anger inside of them.

And you just need to release, let go, move on, get rid of that client. You don’t need that energy in your life.

And so this past year, I’ve had to learn that like I’m a people pleaser.  All these people who are trying to mess with me are not worth it. I look at these people now, and I don’t hate them. I feel sad for them because they are projecting what they think about themselves. And it makes me so sad. And so if anybody’s trying to get under your skin or beat you down in some sort of way in any part of your life, have the courage to stand up for yourself and understand that.

You Can Accomplish Anything You Set Your Mind To

You just have to be willing to work for it. That’s the only stipulation. You can do anything you want is as long as you’re willing to work for it.  I have put a lot of goals out into the universe year. And so many of them have come true just by me thinking about them. And it’s so crazy how things happen in life, and it’s all meant to be just as it’s happening.

I have learned to release this control that I feel like I’ve needed to have over my entire life. Going into my 29th year, “release,” that’s going to be my, my word.

I want to continue releasing things from my life, at least in control, and releasing relationships that don’t serve me. But this year, I’ve just tried to fall into what is meant to be for me and not get upset if I feel behind or if I feel in different aspects of my life.

I honestly feel like the more I visualize what I want in my life, the more I think about the stuff that I want, and they happen right in front of my eyes.

It’s like magic, and it happens so much faster than I think it’s going to happen. You can do anything that you put your mind to. You just really have to go all-in, and you have to know in your bones that you were made for it, whatever it is.

My Mood, Output & Energy Is All Due To How I Take Care Of Myself.

I don’t always want to work out every day. I don’t like going for walks every day. If I could sit on my couch and just chill, I would. Some days I love doing all those things, but not every day.

Do I feel like I want to do those things? Not every day. Do I feel like I want to drink water? Not every day. Do I feel like I want to eat healthily and be my most optimal self?  But I have found that I have a much better day when I forced myself to do those things. So instead of giving myself every single little thing that I want all the time, I’ve had a little bit more discipline in my life this year. And I’m working at that every single day.

But more towards the end of the year, I’ve been like, I don’t care how much work you have. You have to get in your workout. You have to go for a walk. You have to do 30 minutes of reading. There’s no excuse. It has to be a priority.

So this is all about priorities in life. I’ve switched my priorities from serving others all the time and them always coming first to putting myself first. I tell myself if you want to have a good day with the least amount of anxiety, and if you want to be your most productive self and do your best work, you have to do these things for yourself. And just recognizing that and being able to kind of step into that has changed me.

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