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Letting Go of Control While Building a Team with Tara Johnson

Episode #27 is HERE and we have Tara Johnson of Alchemy Three joining me.  Hear how being a control freak SHOULD not stop you from growing your team.  Also, ways to overcome the need to control everything with a shift in mindset and delegation! 

 

Connect with Tara Johnson
Owner, Alchemy Three
Business: https://alchemythree.com/
Connect with her in the Alchemy Three Accelerator Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/alchemyaccelerator/

…it’s not about me. It’s about my clients. It’s about helping them to achieve their highest version of their brand story.

-- Tara Johnson

Podcast Transcript

Jennifer Sakowski:

Hello, welcome to a brand new episode of Raney Day Talks podcast. I’m your host, Jennifer Sakowski and today, I have a special guest. Her name is Tara Johnson and Ms. Tara and I go way, way back, like without years back.

Tara Johnson:

Two whole years.

Jennifer Sakowski:

When we first met at a Mastermind in person and ever since then, this sweet lady has been in my corner through different inner circles, Slack channels, Facebook groups, we’re in it. We’re in it to win it. And so Ms. Tara Johnson, thank you so much for joining me today.

Tara Johnson:

Thank you for having me, Jennifer, this is great.

Jennifer Sakowski:

You’re welcome.

Tara Johnson:

I’m so happy to be here. Thank you.

Jennifer Sakowski:

And let’s first start with who the heck are you and what do you do?

Tara Johnson:

Well, I run a digital marketing agency called AlchemyThree. We are based out of Concord, Massachusetts, which is 20 minutes outside of Boston. We moved here, oh geez, I don’t know, in 2012 when I was eight and a half months pregnant with my second. So, that’s a whole other conversation.

Jennifer Sakowski:

hello there.

Tara Johnson:

Yeah. So, AlchemyThree is all about providing managed marketing services for growth driven businesses. We love supporting women in businesses in particular, nonprofits, small businesses who are doing good things in the world and really are people that I want to be friends with. I do become friends with clients and these are the kinds of folks that I want to grab a beer with, so that’s sort of my baseline for bringing humans in through the door. I have an amazing team of folks that continues to grow, so that is exciting and has been a big undertaking for me and as a human living in the world with other tiny humans, I do have two boys, Henry and Macky, which is short for Malcolm. I have six chickens and a pandemic puppy named Mr. Pickles. I have a husband too. His name is Adam.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Shout out to the hubs.

Tara Johnson:

What’s up? Yeah.

Jennifer Sakowski:

That’s phenomenal. Now, tell me, because the one thing I love about having friends and colleagues and other business owners that I know but I don’t really know, I get to learn a lot more about how you came to where you’re at right now and you actually started out freelancing but in the graphics/photography world. Talk a little bit about that and how you turned this into a digital marketing company, AlchemyThree.

Tara Johnson:

Yeah, so I have … I’m an art kid, right? I’m an angsty art kid deep in my black cold heart. I’ve always been the art kid and even through college, I lived in the dark room, that’s all I wanted to do was pure photography. I was very … I didn’t believe things were going digital. I was in complete and utter denial. So, doing anything computer related, I was not into that and sure enough, once I graduated, I was like, and now what to do because they didn’t actually prepare us for what the real world looks like as a photographer.

Tara Johnson:

So, I worked funny jobs like at a photo checkout window in Bellingham, Washington called King Frog. Hey, King Frog ex-employees! That place is long gone but I just kind of bounced around and was checking out what other people were doing and I fell in love with Photoshop and I managed to wrap my head around things going digital and one thing led to another. I tried wedding gigs. I’m not into weddings, it’s not my scene. I’m an introvert. Corralling people is really hard for me to do day in and day out and I felt really empowered and I loved the amount of different things that you can do within the digital space.

Tara Johnson:

So, one thing led to another. I did a fair amount of freelancing after getting my associates in graphic design, and then I largely self-taught from there. I mean I think my internet … My teacher really is the internet and people like yourself and friends who kind of help me to not reinvent the wheel every time but it’s just … It was a long and winding progression. Yes.

Jennifer Sakowski:

That landed you here at Alchemy. And as I was going through your … Like the interview form that I put out there, I was like oh my gosh, I would love to talk and even … Because you said that this is having control and the fear of being the center of attention, I’m just going to drive home with that if that’s okay because I know a lot of our audience is all about business owners and they’re either just starting out, they’re just taking that leap or they’re trying to scale and it’s freaking crazy and scary when you think of stepping out of doing everything in your business and bringing on a team and having to trust what you’ve built and passing it on and training someone else.

Jennifer Sakowski:

So, let’s just talk about when did you first hire, what did that look like? Like tell me the progression of where you’re at right now where you’re killing it.

Tara Johnson:

Well, my first hire happened two years ago right after we were in that Mastermind together or in the midst of the Mastermind, that’s where I found a group of people who were encouraging to me and helped me to understand that this is how you move forward. This is what we’ve done. You need to hit the job boards, scoop someone up and I was told they aren’t going to work out the first time, so just get your mindset shift settled and she’s been with me the entire time-

Jennifer Sakowski:

Oh yay.

Tara Johnson:

My first hire has been a rockstar from the get go. What’s up, Mae. If you watch this, she’s amazing. So, having a team is actually very new for me still. I am a control freak to a certain extent and I do get hung up around feeling like I need to know everything, I need to understand the nuts … And I do think fundamentally, as business owners, we do need to have a pretty broad understanding of what’s happening and how everything fits together, especially as the key strategist of the business but I have found that giving my team the autonomy to understand this is the end game that we’re gunning after, these are the values that we hold true and that we want to be as transparent with one another and straight forward as possible and just making that leap, trusting them and to be honest with you, the hires that I’ve made have been on paper, I think a lot of people would’ve said no.

Tara Johnson:

Whether it’s a time constraint thing or maybe the skillset that they bring to the table but after having conversations with the members of my team, I knew they were for me and I brought them on and it was a very gut reaction. So, I’m still working through what it means … I’m still very much in the day-to-day. Like I’m still doing a fair amount of project management. That’s my next hire is finding … Which I’m on the cusp of doing which I’m very excited about.

Tara Johnson:

So, yeah, going from full-on freelance mode, from lead gen, prospecting, onboarding, writing the content, creating the graphics and the brand, doing everything from tip to tail … Who is it that said that recently, I’m like that grosses me out, I’m going to use it. It’s crazy. It’s mind-boggling but you can do so much more and you can help more people as a result.

Jennifer Sakowski:

What was your attitude adjustment or what was that shift for you when you’re like I got to do this? Even how uncomfortable it was, what did you recognize in you that you just had to tackle to bring on new people, to let go of some of that reins?

Tara Johnson:

What was it that I had to tackle?

Jennifer Sakowski:

Is there anything that you … That would come up that you’re like [inaudible 00:09:17] that others would feel too?

Tara Johnson:

I think … So, I come to this as a designer really, as an artist and a designer and I had to make that conscious decision of, for me, holding onto the design and I’m still very much the creative director and there will be a time when I have to let that go too. I’m not quite ready to let that go yet but being in the trenches and doing the actual design and work, which I still do from time to time just to remind myself that I can or that … I think it’s important for me to understand expectations that I put on my designer but letting go of some of those things that I have used to define myself as a human like I think that we pour so much into our businesses that that business then becomes an extension of ourselves, which is kind of insane.

Tara Johnson:

And I knew that I was just going to stay where I was if I wasn’t willing to let other people come in and listen to other ideas and hire people that are better than me. That’s another part of this and it’s not about me. It’s about my clients. It’s about helping them to achieve their highest version of their brand story. How can I elevate them so that they can reach more people and they can improve more lives. So, I think that’s what it … Realizing that it’s just not about you.

Jennifer Sakowski:

That’s good that you have to get over yourself.

Tara Johnson:

Get over it.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Now, did you get that feeling of they’re not me, like how are they going to be able to do what I need them to do? Did you have that where you’re like I can’t just clone myself? Did you have to work through that? Because that’s a conversation that I have with a lot of business owners.

Tara Johnson:

A little bit, yeah. I had to do that … Absolutely, I had to do that a little bit and one struggle that I continue to have is I don’t want to over-communicate. I’m very mindful of micromanaging because that’s something I always hated when I was in any kind of in-house or corporate setting. But I think, again, going back to that design component, I remember when I handed something off to my designer, I was in the midst of a logo design and I had hit a wall and I had just brought her on and I sent it to her and she submitted these designs where I was like okay, wow, yes, a hundred times yes.

Tara Johnson:

Once I saw the work come back and I saw the level of work and just the new perspective that other folks can bring to the table and you’re like, I never would’ve gotten there. I never would’ve gotten to that solution and I love that and that’s brilliant. So, really, just putting your big girl pants on and being like this is … I got to let them run with it. Everything is an experiment and you’re just not going to know until you empower someone else to give it a shot and then I was almost always pleasantly surprised.

Tara Johnson:

I get so excited sometimes to log into Asana, which is a project management system for those of you who don’t know, and see the work that’s come in. It’s awesome. I get really excited about it.

Jennifer Sakowski:

What are some of the tactical steps that you put into place to allow yourselves to have new team members and to be able to scale while you’re still doing the work?

Tara Johnson:

Technical things, so recurring revenue, for sure.

Jennifer Sakowski:

That’s good.

Tara Johnson:

So, for us, that kind of begins and ends with web care and support. So that has changed and shifted over time. Yeah, I think having the recurring revenue piece and then building that and having that reach a point where you can hand that off to someone else. Like I haven’t done anything with web care in months. I actually had to log into our Teamwork and Airtable setup recently and I was like, “Oh my god, I don’t even know where I am right now. What’s happening?”

Tara Johnson:

So, making sure that there’s something running in the background that’s dependable and you can really bank on that, especially if it’s covering your expenses, like overhead and basic expenses and then that relieves the pressure and then that also kind of gives you … Opens up … It puts you in a nice space where you are no longer feeling desperate either because it can be so feast or famine and unless you have that recurring revenue in place, you’re just going to be scrambling and you’re going to be coming from a place of desperation when deep down you know and you’ve seen red flags that you continue to ignore.

Tara Johnson:

Like a client’s being kind of a jerk or they’re talking you down in price and you’re just like well, god, I don’t have anything else coming in, so I got to take it but when you have that recurring revenue and also with recurring revenue comes the opportunity to nurture those clients. Like money has changed hands. I can now nurture those clients and they already have inherent trust. So that’s just a really nice segue into other offerings and ideas.

Tara Johnson:

Did I answer your question?

Jennifer Sakowski:

Yeah. That … Like I always think it’s something else but then you’re absolutely right, having that buffer financially to where you’re not like okay, this project is going to pay for this person and this project … Like when you have it on that recurring and having it where you know what to grow to bring in that person, that just takes all that burden off of it and that you can … It’s like easier to project numbers when you go to hire, so absolutely.

Tara Johnson:

Yes.

Jennifer Sakowski:

I was looking around … Did you set up processes? Did you document? Like talk to me a little bit about some of those strategies that you put into place. What was that like? Because I think people don’t realize to really scale, processes have to be in place because you having to say it over and over and over and over again, it’s just going to burn you and your new hire out. So, how did that help you kind of release some of that control?

Tara Johnson:

Well, so what we do for processes internally … It’s always changing. We’re always trying to, as you know, innovate and clean things up and how can we make this better. Anytime I have a repeatable process that I hand off to a team member or maybe there’s something that we’ve worked through that keeps coming up, then I will say, “Listen, let’s do this again and now I need you to document it. I need you to put a Google Doc together.” Usually it happens in Asana, again project management, so we can see here’s the credentials, here’s what we need from the client and just blocking that out, even if it’s a simple checklist.

Tara Johnson:

The idea is to then, if or when or if this person that’s currently in that position, something happens, like a child gets sick, they drop off the face of the … They find something better or they get distracted, if I were to hire someone else, they should, in theory, be able to step in that role really quickly because all of the documentation is there. So, yeah, so now I have my team do a lot of the documentation. I do a ton of video too. Like I use Loom or Zoom or Oom or whatever, all the oomy things, a fair amount of rambling but I think it’s important for us to have that face time.

Tara Johnson:

I will often also record, especially now in the age of COVID, most of the meetings are online and virtual, so I will record a lot of meetings with clients, especially if you’re giving key feedback and then that also allows my team to get a sense of their personality and the sort of nuanced stuff that you pull in from those conversations, they have access to that. So, oftentimes, I will talk through what I think needs to happen and then I will ask them to put some documents in place or some processes in place. Yeah, that’s what we do.

Jennifer Sakowski:

So, would you … I have like written down five things that I want to make sure I cram into this session because you’ve said some really good nuggets but I’m giving up that control. What would you say to someone else that are facing that same … Kind of their on the ledge of like I know I can’t do everything, I want to grow. I want to be able to focus here. Like what would you give … What piece of advice would you give them from a current daily overcomer of control as a control freak, like what would you give them? What would you tell them?

Tara Johnson:

I would say think really hard about where your time is best spent. Think about what your time is worth, whether you need to put a number behind that and throughout your day, what’s helping you to make the most impact/money for your company. So, if I’m … So, my first outsource was a bookkeeper because A, I suck at it and I also have my own like personal hangups around it, as we all do and you and I have talked about that and that continues to be a thing. I needed someone else to take that over because it was burning me out mentally and it was a waste of time and similarly, building websites. I have no business sitting down and literally building a website anymore. I used to do it but I love to push pixels around and that’s not doing anyone any favors either.

Tara Johnson:

So, I think looking at certainly the things you really enjoy and this is what we talked about in our Mastermind, like the overlaps of what are we good at and what do we enjoy because those things aren’t always the same and then also thinking about like where is your time best spent. So, at this point, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, we have maybe 12 active clients right now, which are sort of all-encompassing virtual marketing kind of stuff and it’s … I can’t spend more than 20 minutes a day on each … And I normally don’t but you just have to think about how quickly can … Where is my time best spent? My time is best spent having face time and building those relationships and working out the key strategy and then hand it off.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Right, get out of the way.

Tara Johnson:

Yeah, just get out … Exactly. Out of your own way and this is where I’m getting hung up with … And we don’t need to Mastermind my issues right now but with the project management and we’ve talked about this before, this is where I’m also becoming the bottleneck because I can’t be managing and also selling.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Oh, yup.

Tara Johnson:

And I think that a lot of folks, that’s a natural progression and terms that you need to come to on your own. The beauty of it really, you just don’t know what it’s going to feel like until you try.

Jennifer Sakowski:

No.

Tara Johnson:

So, until you make that first hire, which could be a churn and burn, it’s the experience that speaks volumes and will inform that next hire.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Because you learn. Like it gets better. The hiring process, like what you do when you bring them on, what the documentation you have, just even the interviews, I think it gets better the more you do it and when it’s bad, you’ll learn even more from it.

Tara Johnson:

That’s right.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Let’s be honest, we can take way more from it and we can apply that to the next one.

Tara Johnson:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jennifer Sakowski:

But you talking about project management and getting it out of the way once you’ve come from bringing on a team, stepping out of that control and then getting stuff off your desk, I’m right there with you because that’s something that we continually struggle in my business as how quickly can Jen go from a meeting, take the notes that she’s captured and put it off to the team, like that’s the name of the game. Because if it sits on my desk or if it sits on my tablet with my handwritten notes, it’s not doing anybody any good.

Tara Johnson:

And then their hands are tied too, which is also … There’s a deep guilt that I feel because there are moments where my poor team is like I don’t know what you want me to work on because I don’t have the information yet and I was becoming protective of … For a little while, I was only bringing them in and up-to-speed when I needed them for something and the fact is, they need all of that information up front and I was trying to protect them from feeling overwhelmed but in reality, and as a team should, they need to be in the loop from the beginning and you need to be able to trust that they’re capable of being in the loop from the beginning and being part of that relationship with you and the client every step of the way and I do have a small team.

Tara Johnson:

Like I’ve got a developer, I have a designer, I have a VA/superwoman and then hopefully, … And then I have my bookkeeper but that’s separate and then hopefully a project manager soon but for the most part, it’s myself and three people working together and it makes perfect sense for us to be at least watching from the sidelines every step of the way. How do you handle that? Do you keep your team in the loop at all times?

Jennifer Sakowski:

Yeah, we’ve … If my team’s listening, y’all are rock stars. So, we … I identified early on that one, because of my home situation that I can’t be here five days a week for eight hours a day but I do this crazy hustle around and I knew early on that I’m just going to be super transparent. Everything, I’m just going to like here it is, the good, bad and the ugly but if you’re on my team, we started really working on what that culture looks like, so when they come in, they go through, this is our company expectations, this is our culture and what we abide by and this is what we talk about every week.

Jennifer Sakowski:

And so it’s just … So, if they’re not bought into that, if they haven’t drank that Kool-aid, they’re not going to work here and so I’ve been very fortunate about the team that we have right now, all in and so that helped right from the beginning of establishing what kind of company do I want to work for and what would I love and what would I want to give people who work with me. And so I think that was the springboard for everything else.

Jennifer Sakowski:

So then it became, as we’ve grown, we’ve really looked efficiency and how, because if I’m not available to jump in, the next person’s got to be able to keep it moving and since I’m not dealing with the tickets that are coming in, there just has to be ways that they can tap into a profile of the client and be like oh, okay, this is what’s being done, this is the progress. So, we went all in on a project management teamwork. So there’s like tons out there for whoever’s listening. For us, we went back and forth from Asana to this to like every one over the last several eyras and just tried, tried, tried.

Jennifer Sakowski:

So, that was another thing that I think was a learning experience is that I will try until we get it right and y’all just have to be flexible. So I require a lot emotionally, I feel like from my team of just trusting me and being willing to try as we grow because then it opens up like they have stake in the game because I listen to them. I make sure that we have meetings and I’m …

Jennifer Sakowski:

A book that we read together as a team building exercise was Radical Candor and I gave everybody a copy and there’re questions on her website and we went through them together and it was great because a lot of stuff we do but then we took a lot from it of like, oh, that’s what that’s called. Oh, that’s how we can communicate better. Because in our industries, you know it’s all about communication.

Tara Johnson:

Yes, yeah.

Jennifer Sakowski:

We can’t just-

Tara Johnson:

Over communication.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Yeah, yeah. We’re not sitting next to each other in an office. Like it’s through Slack or chat or videos or Voxer or email, like there’s so much that we have to over communicate on and get creative. So that-

Tara Johnson:

I have a question.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Yeah.

Tara Johnson:

What flavor is your Kool-aid?

Jennifer Sakowski:

What flavor? It’s colorful for sure.

Tara Johnson:

Any alcohol in it? I’m just curious.

Jennifer Sakowski:

It’s like … That’s a great question. Like I have this … I’m going to do something crazy. I’m going to step out and I’m going to get this thing off my wall because if it was a flavor, it would look like this. So those … You have to catch the [inaudible 00:27:06]

Tara Johnson:

Kitchen sink.

Jennifer Sakowski:

It’s like bright and colorful and lots of purple and lots of orange and lots of pink, I don’t know. A Hawaiian blend. It’s like a Mai Thai but with some something-something on top.

Tara Johnson:

Love it.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Because that’s our thing. This is a crowded space and so we want to stand out in a crowded space but want to do it in a right way. So going back to what we’ve been doing, that and then efficiency. Like the more efficient everybody is, it rolls up but it also rolls down and so I constantly tell them that today, this is where I’m at. So some days, I’m only on Voxer. So they move to Voxer.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Our admin/PM/brilliant person, she is just … She is just used now … Because she knows I’m constantly moving, so she works to stay up with me and be able to capture, in whatever form that works for me that day, she’s able to take it in get it in their hands.

Tara Johnson:

Awesome.

Jennifer Sakowski:

So, I’ve just really tried to … I think it comes as just you’ve got to tell them, hey, this is going to work for me and this is how I’m going to help you if you can just meet me where I’m at.

Tara Johnson:

Absolutely. Yup. Absolutely.

Jennifer Sakowski:

So, I don’t know if that’s helpful but we do a lot of that and just … And then everybody knows everybody’s schedule. Our Teamwork, the way we have it set up is that everybody has access, even if you’re not on that project and we’ve upped our version so that way we even have more ways to look at reports, look at budget, look how effective we are and then we’re constantly reviewing it.

Tara Johnson:

Awesome.

Jennifer Sakowski:

So, I think it just comes down to you’ve got to decide what works best for you and it’s about making it work best for you to flow into the team.

Tara Johnson:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jennifer Sakowski:

Do you ever get hung up on where do I put this? What should I tell them this? Where …

Tara Johnson:

Yes. All the time, all the time. Yeah, I often start videos like three times before I actually hit record because I’m like oh, like the bloopers. The blooper reel of my Loom videos would be humiliating because I’m just … I’m always talking to myself. I’m like Tara, why can’t you just hold it together. Yeah, I second guess myself a lot. I think that that’s an important tidbit to keep in mind. I think that we all tend to … We need validation and we want to make sure that what we’re doing is “correct.” And going back to the age-old imposter syndrome, which is something that everyone suffers from at some point in their lives unless they’re like a narcissistic sociopath, but that’s another conversation.

Tara Johnson:

So, I think you just got to hit send.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Hit send.

Tara Johnson:

It doesn’t matter because it’s the moving one … Just moving one foot in front of the other, just getting up and pushing forward and if it’s a shoddy day, it’ll work itself out. It’ll come out in the wash. I think progress is often more important than fixating on making sure that everything is picture perfect because it just never will be. We are human beings. It’s just never going to be that way.

Tara Johnson:

Now, that being said-

Jennifer Sakowski:

Absolutely.

Tara Johnson:

I also think that giving ourselves the time and the space to sit and to read and to think, there isn’t nearly enough of that for most of us in the world. I think that we don’t grant ourselves permission to do those things, myself absolutely 150 million percent included. I’m saying this just as much for myself as other people. There is taking the time to unplug yes but also to do some deep work, some thinking and some deep work is also critical and it’s going to help you make those snap decisions overall.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Yeah. Absolutely. So, since you opened that door-

Tara Johnson:

Uh-oh.

Jennifer Sakowski:

I’m going to walk into it. Because you’re right, as leaders, as business owners that give so much and not even including like mom, wife, like all the other titles that we carry-

Tara Johnson:

Yes.

Jennifer Sakowski:

It’s really important and the more self-aware you are about when you feel like you’re becoming a control freak, when you’re getting outside of your comfort zone, it’s important to identify those areas of uncomfortable … Or like just being self-aware. So how do you, when you do, pour it back into yourself?

Tara Johnson:

What are we pouring in? You’re talking about-

Jennifer Sakowski:

Like in general. How do you give yourself that space, when you do, to work on you so you can show up out there?

Tara Johnson:

I literally block it off of my calendar. I’ve learned that if I don’t book time for myself and the things that I need, someone else will come in and book that time on my behalf. It’s boundaries. It’s all about boundaries. I am a recovering, maybe not so much recovering fixer. I love helping people and trying to fix things and if I have a friend who is suffering and in need, I want to swoop in and take them in my arms and I … That behavior, I’ve noticed patterns in that behavior in the past where I’m just … I’m now giving too much of myself and I don’t have enough for me or for my family or for my team.

Tara Johnson:

So, I block that time off, whether that’s for … I mean for me, exercise is my go-to. That is my reset. It’s essential to my mental health, my ability to think clearly, my ability to be present for my kids and my business. It is exercise. And then also snuggling my puppy and chickens, also my husband sometimes and my kids but yeah, I would say snuggles and exercise are kind of what I do.

Jennifer Sakowski:

And that feeds you.

Tara Johnson:

It does. It does. Yeah, it does. There is some avoidance in there as well. I think that right now is a tough time for everyone and there’s a lot for us to process and to take in on a daily, even hourly basis and I have had to sort of shift from looking at the bigger picture to kind of what can I manage right now? What can I … It does go back to control. What can I control right now? What small change can I make right now? Either be that for myself or for my immediate community, those are the questions that I’m asking myself right now just to keep it together.

Tara Johnson:

How about you? What do you do?

Jennifer Sakowski:

Routine.

Tara Johnson:

Yeah.

Jennifer Sakowski:

I stick to a routine. I stick to schedule as whatever that looks like for today. Yeah, and controlling what you can control. Like I tried to … With little humans at home, you really can’t control a whole lot but I try to guide our day and what I need to happen to check all the boxes. A lot of exercise, same. I’ve been really focused on sleep because early on in COVID up until probably a couple weeks ago and like with our influx in projects, like I just was working late night but then still trying to get to gym at five and like still trying to balance that out and it just … I hit a wall.

Jennifer Sakowski:

So, I think right now it’s boundaries. I need sleep, so we’re shutting down here and it’s okay that it will stay for tomorrow and then kind of working through that but I have like … I have other weird … I don’t know if I [inaudible 00:35:52] control but it’s more of the guilt. Like I feel guilty. Like I feel guilty of sacrificing time with the kids here because we’re pushing through to this goal or I feel guilty that well, I’m going to let the work set aside. So that’s something that I’m constantly working through is like no, I’m more productive and I can help more people if I show up and I’m not a weepy mess.

Jennifer Sakowski:

So, for me-

Tara Johnson:

So strong and is so real. It’s just … You feel like you’re losing at all the things, especially with being home with the kids, sort of having everyone occupying the same … And just cutting yourself and everyone around you some slack.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Yup, absolutely.

Tara Johnson:

 the guilt, it just runs so strong, doesn’t it, especially-

Jennifer Sakowski:

Yes.

Tara Johnson:

In the female sector of the world, I feel like the guilt is especially pungent.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Absolutely and I think that self-talk, that self-affirmation, like I have a lot of time in prayer and my Jesus time in the morning before the kids come down and things that I can pour back into me emotionally and spiritually and not only physically help kind of work through that, like no, I’m going to walk in this today. Like no, I am equipped for today. Like I don’t have to feel those things. I think that constant going back to being self-aware, not only as our jobs are as a leader, as a boss but also like outside of … I don’t know like what we can do and how we can show up but that it’s okay to not have it all together.

Jennifer Sakowski:

It’s okay that we’re just showing up today and that we did it or like we don’t have to carry so much on us because … And I think, too, one thing I think is neat about COVID and quarantine, everybody has been a lot more vocal, right? Online, how they feel, like there’re feelings everywhere. Feelings vomiting everywhere but the thing that’s cool about it is that it takes away … We’re not on an island.

Tara Johnson:

Yup, yeah.

Jennifer Sakowski:

And I know as a business owner and like in the digital space for so long pre-Masterminds, like how I just … Because sometimes I felt like I was the only one feeling this way and it’s not the case and that’s why I love being her and I’m so excited that you joined me today and that we covered … And this conversation happened organically that I love but it talked about like being self-aware and that it’s okay to be a control freak but look how much you’re working on it.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Like I give you so much kudos of identifying where that you need to grow and then still pushing through.

Tara Johnson:

Thanks, ma’am. It just depends … I appreciate that. It depends on the day. And to that point and for those listening, it’s so important to take a second and to look at what you’ve done. We get so caught up in the momentum and like pitching ourselves against other people that may or may not be real because of what you see online and on social. It’s mind blowing and I feel the same way about you. I mean I’ve known you for only a few years and there’s been a huge birth and rebirth of the things you’ve been working on and the strides you’ve made and to take it … You’ve got to take a second and just recognize all of the victories-

Jennifer Sakowski:

100%.

Tara Johnson:

That you’ve hit, all of those milestones that you’ve hit and the personal growth too. I mean that’s no … That’s a pretty big undertaking as well. Can I ask you one question?

Jennifer Sakowski:

Yeah, yeah.

Tara Johnson:

What is your most ridiculous pandemic purchase? You know you have one.

Jennifer Sakowski:

I’m trying to think because I don’t know what I would’ve purchased that would’ve been ridiculous.

Tara Johnson:

You don’t have a ridiculous purchase?

Jennifer Sakowski:

I don’t think I have.

Tara Johnson:

Every person I talk to makes some sort of mindbogglingly awesome and ridiculous pandemic purchase.

Jennifer Sakowski:

No, I would say the things that I’ve probably spent more on have been books. Then I have them piling up and I don’t know when I’m going to get to them but that’s probably where I go is I’m like oh, that looks good and I’ve just been spending-

Tara Johnson:

Yeah.

Jennifer Sakowski:

I’m trying to think. I really … And flowers. I keep buying flowers and landscaping everywhere. So maybe that’s my two weird things that I don’t normally … I mean I love books but you know what I mean?

Tara Johnson:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), yup, I’m hearing that. Yeah. I’m definitely not flowers. I have a black thumb. My most ridiculous … I’m sure you want to know, right?

Jennifer Sakowski:

I do. Now that you’ve opened this up.

Tara Johnson:

Well, I did buy a neck hammock that hooks onto your doorknob because Facebook targeted me and I was like, I need a neck hammock.

Jennifer Sakowski:

I need that.

Tara Johnson:

I need to-

Jennifer Sakowski:

And you do use it?

Tara Johnson:

I need a new [inaudible 00:41:15] right now. I’ve used it a few times. I’ve also managed to injury myself with it because I didn’t attach the thingy to the doorknob correctly. My seven-year-old fell asleep in it. He tried it and passed out. I’ll have to send you the video. It’s really funny. So that’s one purchase and then I also purchased a shirt for my husband with a giant picture of a prawn on it and it says, shramp because who doesn’t want a shrimp shirt.

Jennifer Sakowski:

I want a shrimp shirt.

Tara Johnson:

Great, I should probably send you one too.

Jennifer Sakowski:

I think you should. That and some mittens, which is for another time but that’s funny. No, I’m curious to see what others might have purchased.

Tara Johnson:

Maybe you need to ask.

Jennifer Sakowski:

I know but … And speaking group, I … Once again, before we wrap up, I want to make sure that people can connect with you online and obviously, number one is alchemythree.com. Check the show notes, it’s in there but you have a pretty awesome Facebook group that you’ve launched and have been building, which I have been loving the webinars that you have been producing, so any and all small business, please check this out. It’s Alchemy Business Accelerator Facebook group. So if you just go to Facebook.com, put in Alchemy Business Accelerator, and it’ll pop right up.

Jennifer Sakowski:

So, join it and then be prepared to grow because I mean I got to name drop, Kim Doyle was in it and there’s been Nev Harris was in it. Like [inaudible 00:42:52] have been in it, like several in our group and so definitely join, take a listen. I think you have a new one coming up or did that just happen?

Tara Johnson:

I do. I have one next Friday. Not this Friday but next Friday. It’s going to be my dear friend, Erika Woodhouse of Perch Planning. She does … She’s sort of a … I like to call her a house doula. She helps people who are renovating their space figure out how to make it happen quickly and efficiently and with style and a lot of function. So, she has deep experience on the project management and contractor side as well as being a brilliant designer. So she’s going to come in and talk to us about some of the emotional … The emo we have around the spaces that we find ourselves surrounded in day in and day out.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Huge, huge.

Tara Johnson:

Like how can we avoid what someone has called blursday, like who even knows what day it is even more [inaudible 00:43:51] in the same place all the time. So she’s going to talk about that. So that should be interesting and she’s just a lovely human and very fun to chat with, so yeah.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Awesome. So yeah, only way you can get in on that is to join the Facebook group. So, Ms. Tara Johnson, you’re a freaking rockstar. Thank you so much for chitchatting with me today and I can’t wait because I want to bring you back on because I think that we need to talk about the importance of your circle. I’m just going to lay that out and we’re going to reschedule and we’re going to do another one because I think that’s huge and I know it’s made an impact on me and I would love to hear your story about how important that is.

Tara Johnson:

I would love that.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Throw bread crumbs. Throw bread crumbs. All right, lady, well you have a phenomenal day and once again, if you’ve loved this recording, if it’s been helpful for you, hashtag Raney Day Talks and then make sure to mention me or Raney Day Talks or Raney Day Design on social. Thank you so much. Bye.

Tara Johnson:

Bye.

Jennifer Sakowski:

Awesome