Choosing the right partnerships

Do you listen to your gut when you choose who to work with?

I do (most of the time).

The “most of the time” part is connected to the times partnerships turn tricky or not as pleasant as they should have been.

Listening to your gut might sound a little fluffy, but in my opinion that is one of the strongest tools for guidance you have. If you are not sure what I’m talking about, or maybe not relying on it so much, it can be hard to “hear” your intuition. But the more you pay attention and follow it, the better choices you will make.

Listening to your gut isn’t the brain analyzing, it’s nonlinear knowledge. It is like a second kind of intelligence, and you want to use both.

So, if you are more the analytical kind, no fret, your intuition is something you can train. Our intuition is activated by messages from the right side of the brain, and all of us have one of those.

Here are a few things you can do to train your intuition when you are partnering up with somebody. Ask yourself:

“Does this person make me feel uncomfortable, or do they make me feel excited and at ease?”

Pay attention to the energy this person gives you:

“Do I feel drained or energized?”

Then a general practice; go out in nature (or just walk around the block) or mediate.

As you take a moment to slow down practice listening to your intuition, hearing your thoughts, and being conscious about the decisions you make.

The thing is, if you train your intuition and get better at picking partners not only will you be more happy working together, but your client will also enjoy the project more.

Being conscious about picking clients is also something that is a big part of your brand. 

It is important to be honest with who we want work with and who we do not and consider the gut feeling when making this decision. When you are honest and trusting of your intuition the connection and honesty will correlate to your brand voice and message

I’m sure you have worked with someone who did not align with your values.

Why? Well, maybe because it paid well, you wanted be kind, or you had availability.

I have certainly worked with someone who I did not see eye-to-eye with and at the beginning of building a business that is what you must do to learn who fits and who doesn’t. 

It is important to pay attention during these times, not only to learn who you want to work with but also to train your gut instinct.

before you know it, you will be able to pick out your perfect client within seconds.

Business Highlight: Xena Financial Planning

One of my favorite parts of each month is sitting down to highlight an incredible business.

We have traveled the globe with our highlights, learning about the ins and outs of multiple businesses ranging from authentic mezcal, Australian letterpress, and California ceramics.

This month I am focusing on a wonderful client, Danika Waddel, the founder, and lead planner of Xena Financial Planning.

If you are anything like most, the conversation surrounding finances can be incredibly overwhelming. With how often women are left out of the finance conversations, it is no wonder entering the conversation often feels intimidating.

Danika removes all feelings of uncertainty, instead educating her clients and inviting women into the conversation of money.

Like many women, Danika knows from first-hand experience how often women are left out of finance and investing conversations.

As the founder, Danika’s focus is on women in the tech industry who receive equity compensation, typically in the early to mid-stage of their careers. Her goal is to help her clients make sense of all their options, working directly with her clients to navigate all that life is throwing their way.

Women make up a surprisingly small portion of the tech industry, around 30%, making Xena’s commitment to empowering women even more respectable. Xena is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion while creating a judgement free community where every woman is treated as an individual, one with her own life experiences and dreams.

As a woman who started my own business after an incredible journey of learning from others, I have immense respect for any woman who steps into the role of a businesswoman, especially in a male dominated industry like finance.

Danika’s path into finance was not linear, rather she spent the 15 years post college (with her BA in Mathematics! What a wizz!) in multiple accounting roles where she felt human connection had almost entirely disappeared. This lack of connection encouraged her to build her own practice, one that allows her to be “more nimble and innovative, while specializing in a particular niche”.

As you enter Xena’s service page, you can feel the power of the women, and their dreams, behind this firm.

Danika’s uses Gloria Steinem’s powerful words on her homepage…

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lost the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”

Thank you, Danika for the gentle reminder to never forget the importance of dreaming.

Building & Maintaining a Strong Reputation

Do great work. Have integrity. Genuinely care about your clients.

If you ask me, that is the recipe for building and maintaining a strong reputation.

How did I get to this?

I believe it’s a combination of a few things.

For starters, I work with my innate gift of communication and design, my upbringing teaching me to follow through on my word, and lastly, recognizing how the incredibly lucky amount of support from my family and friends has encouraged me to want to pay that support forward.

I am a people person and have a deep fascination of human behavior, which is pertinent in branding and user experience, but also within the service industry and working with directly people. I have developed active listening skills and the ability to pinpoint peoples extraordinarily qualities, which is a serious magic trick.

building a strong reputation doesn’t happen overnight, that’s for sure.

I moved to California in the end of 2008 and started my business 2009 as a side gig. I didn’t have much of a plan, I just knew I liked design and the computer was a grand tool to experiment with it.

By 2014, my side gig turned into a side hustle that had me working 24/7 and I wasn’t living a healthy work-life balance. So, I did what any sane person would do; I gave my two weeks’ notice at my “real” job with no plan.

I remember asking myself, “Um, what do I do if the clients don’t keep coming like they have…?”

Then 2017 came and new life circumstances gave me a fresh start. These experiences were extremely challenging and were filled with frustration, tears, and a lot of time searching, listening, reading, and thinking.

During the very slow and long process of building up my company, I had built a reputation with my clientele of doing branding + websites differently, and my audience stood out in a saturated market. I gave everything I could to my clients (and a bit more) and I genuinely cared about how they did.  

I still do this today, but with a much clearer process, improved work, and even more care and enthusiasm of how I can be supportive to my clients and their growth. 

When you do great work, have integrity, and genuinely care about your clients you also build the most important element of relationships: trust.

My clients know they can trust my company, our work, and what we can do for them.

With clarity and intention this can be done faster, but this was my long journey to realizing what really matters. 

Do great work + do what you say you are going to do + genuinely care about it

This is the recipe to doing what you love for a very long time!

It’s such a gift and when work is a fun – whoa, life is good!