Category Archives: goals

How are you going to make 2017 your BEST YEAR YET?

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Way back in 2010 when the internet was still weird, I posted an overambitious blog post about my New Year’s Resolutions.

Although I didn’t check everything off of the list, I did feel accountable once it was out there.

2010 also happened to be the year I started my company, Conversations, so I’ve always reflected on this post as “the very beginning” of building the life and career that I wanted – one positive step at a time. 

This year, instead of outlining my own resolutions, I talked to some of the people who inspire me the most and found out what they’ve got planned for the upcoming year….

aileen

Aileen Bennett, Speaker, Communication Consultant, Author

So far my plans are twofold : To Do Good Work, and to Do Good.

Do Good Work: I’m proud of the work I’ve done this year, and the companies I’ve helped so I want to continue that. I plan to do the best work of my career.

Do Good: I’m setting up a new company that produces paper goods (to start) that gives at least 23% of the profits (sometimes more) to arts & community projects. It’s going to be called Two&21 (the two letters in the alphabet that correspond to B and U (Be you).

ginevra

Ginevra Kirkland, Writer, Community Whisperer, Entrepreneur

Revolutions, not resolutions!

I’m going to stop using words I don’t mean and be more impeccable with how I address people “Just,” “I’m so bad at this,” “sorry,” and the worst one of all: “I think.”

moneyguns

Michael Schexnayder, Entrepreneur and founder of The Money Gun

  • Learn Spanish
  • Learn Dutch
  • Stop procrastinating
  • Focus more on my business
  • Start another business
  • Work a lot less

screen-shot-2016-12-30-at-10-02-17-am

Lexlee Overton, Intuitive Energy Healer

I took a few minutes and thought about the things which when I do them cost me dearly by being huge drains of energy. And I am simply making a commitment (as much as possible) to no longer do things that zap my energy and take a considerable amount of time to recharge.

Here’s few items on my “No Longer Doing It”  list:

  1. Using email/phone, ipad/computer after arriving home
  2. Working weekends
  3. Late night flights
  4. Listening to or participating in conversations which are negative, judgemental or critical about others

ernestsvenson

Ernie Svenson, Author & Founder of Small Firm Bootcamp

I plan to list 10 things that I want to accomplish in 2017, and then describe the actions that lead to those goals.

I will sign up for Michael Hyatt’s BYE course and do all the exercises.

That’s how I hit my marks in 2016.

bologna

Megan Bologna, Fitness Guru and Personal Trainer

For me, 2017 will be all about personal growth.

Between having my daughter 2 years ago and running my business every day 24/7, I haven’t focused on myself or taken care of myself like I should. Being a fitness professional, I have maintained exercise and healthy eating, but I’m talking about mental and spiritual growth in 2017. I have already started by finding a women’s center that focuses on growth, healing and positive surroundings and I will be attending my first class on Friday!

lynncasper

Lynn Casper, Founder of Homoground

By visualizing lots of $$$

I currently work a fulltime gig with a set salary and realize that it is currently impossible for me to accomplish my financial goals (paying off credit card & dental debt) while still having money leftover for saving & spending. By visualizing all the ways I can use my skills and current projects to bring in more cash flow, I’ve gained confidence in my abilities to make this happen. Now I have 2 new clients and have set up new systems for my current projects so that I can be more organized and productive. I was never a morning person, but now before bed I visualize how my morning will be and what my life will be like once I accomplish the goals I set for myself to provide motivation to rise and SHINE!

Got big plans of your own for 2017?

Add them to the comments below!

Sit. Write. Publish. NOW.

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This post is inspired by 2 things:

1. This quote: “Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

2. Rewatching Little Women and remember how much I wanted to be like Jo March when I was younger.

Here’s the thing: this blog hasn’t been updated in over half a year.

Sure, I’ve been busy growing a business or two, taking on extra projects, getting married, traveling, you know…all of the regular things one does over the course of a year.

But mainly I’ve had some bizzaro stage fright of producing something that wasn’t really great after so much time of radio silence (which just kept growing and growing).

I’ve STARTED lots of posts with the best of intentions, but never actually finished them.

As 2015 comes to a close, I’m checking off my to do list, for better or worse.

“Blog about ___ on Heyitsmegan.com” was on my master list about 7 times with various topics listed.

This throws me into a panic every time I see it because I DON’T HAVE TIME TO WRITE FOR MYSELF. If I have extra time, it’s got to go to the backlog of client work, or blogging for SEO purposes for my social media agency website. 

Today is different.

I’ve spent the good part of today reflecting on the past year’s work, and which projects and people I’ve really enjoyed working with, been able to show high return for, and have paid us (on time, and without question).

These are the types of clients I want more of. The win/win/win. 

I want to figure out the common thread so that we can filter in only these types of clients in the future, and I want to really take shit to the next level with these amazing businesses and people who deserve tremendous success, and have trusted and allowed Conversations to help them grow.

And there’s one very standout thing that ALL of our favorite clients could be doing better (aside for the ones we are doing this for), which is BLOGGING. Regularly.

::LIGHTBULB::

I’ve ignored the same advice that I give ALL THE TIME to the people that I coach, which is simply:

If you don’t know where to start, just sit down. Open whatever you feel most comfortable typing in. And WRITE.

Start at the beginning or in the middle or even at the end.

Ramble if you need to.

Get it all out. (Or just get a few things out).

It might not be brilliant.

It probably WON’T be very good.

But writing isn’t about strokes of lucky brilliant shit that comes out of the woodwork.

It’s an art form that should be practiced and exercises and rinsed and repeated.

So this blog is my way of getting back on the wagon, but it’s also a challenge.

Your mission, should you choose to accept:

STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING RIGHT NOW.

Sit. Write. Publish.

Don’t second guess, or spend hours looking for the right accompanying photo.

Trying doesn’t count.

DO.

Do Something Scary

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Megan Hargroder NOEW 2015

Speaking @ NOEW 2015

Cards on the table: public speaking TERRIFIES me. Which might sound weird because I do lots of it.

Not like “oh I’m so important that I get paid to give inspirational speeches like every week” but like – now that I’ve been doing Social Media professionally for 5 or 6 years, I get asked to do workshops and talks here and there.

And every time a new invitation to speak at an event finds it’s way into my inbox, I immediately begin thinking of ways to get out of it….

But here’s the thing: even though it’s scary, I’ve gotten some of my best clients from speaking events. So I understand that it’s important to my business.

And I won’t lie: there’s definitely a high after pulling off a solid presentation for a huge room of people.

Overcoming Fear = Empowerment

 

But there’s also a  low (and maybe this is just me) that takes over the next few days. It’s exhausting and feels like you’re coming down with something…which means you’ve got to take some down time to recharge.

Which is why I think that whole saying “Do one thing a day that scares you” is a little dramatic… 1 scary thing EVERY day? How would you get anything else done? Depending on the scale of the fear, I think once a week is a pretty solid goal.

So here are some “scary” things on my to-do list right now

  • go ahead and book those other 2 speaking events in my inbox
  • taxes
  • white water rafting
  • transfer conversations to an S-Corp and put the team on Payroll
  • let a client know that paying invoices 3 months late is no longer acceptable
  • finally stop editing and re-editing and submit those guest posts
  • launch the social tribune (or whatever we decide to call it) 

And once you actually write out the “fear,” it seems pretty silly and first world.

Of course you will get it done. Of course you will make it happen. Of course you will stop getting in your own way…because these scary things that you feel are holding you back are probably the very things that will propel you forward if you can just take a deep breath and jump.

So what’s on your “fear” list? What are you letting hold you back right NOW?

2015: New Year New Me

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Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 2.13.34 PMI love the New Year more than any other holiday (including Mardi Gras).
For me: the New Year is a chance to start fresh. To stop doing things that aren’t working, and to start new things I’m excited about.

This year, I’m dreaming BIG. Here’s what’s in queue:

Conversations Media: I’m taking my social media consulting company to the next level with a fresh new website design, an awesome new SEO service for lawyers (designed around requests and projects throughout the year), and we’re announcing that we’ll officially be offering full scope website design + development services for 2015!

SEO service for lawyers

 

Apothecary Box: Lauren (my partner in life and crime) and I are starting a subscription service called Apothecary Box – which will be a monthly sample box of curated natural, holistic, handmade body products from small local makers. We’re launching the kickstarter for that at the end of this month (Put your name on the list at ApothecaryBox.com if you want to get an email when it launches!)

Monthly sample box of curated natural, holistic, handmade body products from small local makers.

 

Consulting Calls: Because I work primarily with startups with limited budgets, I get a lot of requests to “pick my brain over coffee,” which adds up to a lot of unbillable hours and shaky caffeine hands. Solution: Clarify is a badass new tool that I just set up a profile on so that people can book consulting calls with me BY THE MINUTE. So for example if you only need 20 minutes to pick my brain for new marketing tactics for 2015, it’s just $33. You get what you need. I get paid. Everybody wins!

Book consulting calls with me BY THE MINUTE.

Live Events: I LOVE getting the chance to do workshops or speak to groups about Social Media, so I’m prioritizing doing more of that this year! So far for this month I’ve scheduled a 2015 Marketing Bootcamp Workshop at Propeller on the 21st, and will be doing a guest lecture at Nunez Community College on the 27th.

2015 Marketing Bootcamp Workshop

Birthday Trip to Colorado: Last year, Lauren and I were fortunate enough to find the time and extra cash to take an amazing weeklong trip to New York for my birthday, and Colorado for hers. We loved Colorado so much that we’re planning another trip there for May! MOUNTAINS, Y’ALL!

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 10.00.48 AM

Give More Hugs: My official New Years Resolution is to GIVE MORE HUGS. This is way more practical than saying I’m going to jog 2-3 times a week (because I won’t) or that I’ll quit drinking (because – no.) I plan to give more hugs to family, new friends, old friends, even clients. I know that some people don’t like hugs. But I don’t trust those people. Hugs rock.

How to rebuild your wardrobe (without breaking the bank)

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This week is about politics.

Kidding.

It’s about building a badass/non-boring/versatile wardrobe.

So what do I know about fashion?

Not a whole lot. In general, I have a love/hate relationship with shopping/fashion/clothes.

BUT — I did recently interview designer Amanda DeLeon for the best copywriter in New Orleans‘ #FashionFriday blog:)

So here’s what I DO know about fashion (aside from my newfound knowledge on how to rock a cape):

1. Getting dressed shouldn’t be stressful.

2. Shopping shouldn’t leave you feeling guilty.

3. When you live with someone else, not all of the closets in the house are for just YOUR clothes.

4. Holding onto things you “might fit in again one day” or that you’re keeping for sentimental value (but would never wear) might just be a waste of closet space.

So I decided that it’s time to get rid of everything that’s too small, from LF/Forever 21/other places where someone who is almost 30 shouldn’t be shopping, and things that are just too hard to work into everyday wear.

*Note — some of these links are actually “affiliate links,” meaning that if you sign up, we both get free credits (dollarz) to that site. Thank you and you’re welcome 😉

The Purge: I made 3 piles: Give Away, Throw Away, Sell.

For the stuff I decided was in great condition and still had value, I ordered a free shipping bag from Like Twice, sent it all back to them, and they emailed me a week later saying that I had a $90 credit to their site for all of those clothes I was never going to wear anyway.

And then it was time to rebuild (a.k.a. “buy new shit,” a.k.a. THE FUN PART!)

1. Affordable Basics:everlane vneck tee

I want the foundation of my wardrobe to be high-quality basics that are cut well, fit well, and go with whatever.

So I started with 3 v-neck T-shirts and 2 sleeveless tops from Everlane.

They use this cool fabric that doesn’t pill (which is awesome, because I wash and dry EVERYTHING, which is why I don’t usually buy nice things).

But considering the quality, these T’s are a steal @ $15.


2. Fun “Pop” Pieces:

I used my Like Twice credit to buy a few “fun” pieces that I knew would be great additions to my wardrobe this summer, but which wouldn’t necessarily be on trend after that.

No guilt here because I had free money, and got lots of stuff for it.

like twice consignment

So Like Twice is BASICALLY like an online Buffalo Exchange without that awkward line and some girl chewing gum, telling you that they aren’t currently buying whatever you’re selling.

 3. Investment Pieces:

THIS IS THE PART THAT MAKES ME NERVOUS.

I don’t like spending more than $30 on something unless I KNOW I’m going to wear it, like, all the time.

And I’m still not sure that buying a “big girl blazer” from Saks (It was Joie, more dollars than I want to admit, and I was in a pinch for a speaking engagement, so I totally splurged) was a great idea.

In general, shopping in stores makes me nervous because I always feel really pressured by salespeople to buy things I don’t necessarily want.

So I found the most badass, next-best thing: A personal styling service called Stitchfix.

Picture 13

How it works:

Based on a style profile I filled out when I signed up, they send me five things to try on every month.

What I like, I keep.Picture 10

What I don’t, I send back.

Stitchfix charges my card for whatever I keep. Everyone feels happy and like they made good decisions, and even though I consider these “investment pieces,” they’re all in the $60 price range, which means out of the three months I’ve been stitchfix’in, I’ve spent way less than that one Joie blazer from Saks.

Not to hate on the blazer. The blazer is fine. But mostly it’s a lesson.

 

So, I’m STILL working on building my big girl wardrobe…one piece at a time.

Luckily, things like Stitchfix and Like Twice are making the process a lot easier and more fun.

Know of any great online personal shopping or wardrobe trade sites?

Please share in the comments!

*Related: My lovely new friend Abigail who works over at LaunchPad has AMAZING style and has agreed to take me on a shopping trip to style me IRL. So I’m super excited about that and will post an update after:)

 

 

28 Years // Week 1 Goal: Double last year’s business income

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Last week, I blogged about my top 5 goals for my 28th year of life…and they are far and above the most ambitious so far.

(But I think you know me well enough to know that I’m up to the challenge)!

My #1 goal is to double last year’s income for my Social Media and SEO Company (Conversations, LLC), from 2013 to 2014 – SO I’m already halfway done with the timeline on this, meaning I better get planning!

Picture 26

I bet you’re wondering how I’m going to make that happen?

New business – yes

Raising rates – no – BUT: I WILL be creating more FREE resources for start-ups, using affiliate links (links I get from companies like Bluehost or WIX so that they know I’m referring new customers, and in turn, they pay me a kickback). I’m super excited about this especially because I get to create a lot of value for people who need it right now, but don’t have a budget to outsource things like building their website or keeping up with social media.

Outsourcing more – yes (this seems counter-intuitive at first because it means paying someone else to do work that I could actually do myself; but the important thing about this is that I am freeing up time to do business development – which ideally is going to produce more business, and we will grow from there).

Networking and blogging more – yes. I’m going to be setting aside time each morning to write a blog post, guest post or work on an upcoming presentation. I’ll also be attending more networking events to talk to small businesses directly about the kind of work we do at Conversations. All of these things will increase visibility, brand awareness, email list signups – and thus – result in more business, according to how similar efforts have worked for me in the past.

I’m also going to get more PERSONAL with what I write.

Because people hire people, and in order to build trust, you’ve got to be open and honest.

That’s one of the reasons I’m laying out my big goals in this blog series (the other is that I’m hoping to get feedback from you on how I can do things better/faster/smarter – but also maybe share something with you that you didn’t know before)!

A side goal of bringing on more work + making more money is that I want to give Stephanie more hours and continue to have her grow within the company; but also, at some point, bring on a second employee in more of a virtual assistant/organizational role so that Stephanie can focus more on what she’s passionate about: content and visual creation.

So far: My January 1 – June 1 Business income is almost exactly double what it was from that date range last year; so we are on target!

 

Turning 28

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Last month I turned 28.megan hargroder birthday dinner at raoul's

I see birthdays as my own “new year” and usually make a few resolutions and goals for the upcoming year…

28 will be my most ambitious year so far.

GOALS:

1. Double last year’s income for my Social Media and SEO Company (Conversations, LLC), based here in New Orleans

2. Successfully launch my 2 new companies: Nola Essentials and Our Social Tribune (technically they are “launched” but so far not promoted or built out as much as I’d like them to be)

3. Become a Certified Aromatherapist

4. Dress more profesh (not like BORING profesh, but like – “hey, that broad has her shit together” profesh)

5. Focus on what MATTERS (i.e. not get bogged down with the small stuff, i.e. keep my eye on the ball, i.e. spend time doing what I care about most)

And I’m also committing to doing A LOT more blogging.

So, over the next 5 weeks, I’ll be outlining each goal in greater detail as well as talking about progress and how I’m going to make it happen.

I’d love any feedback or tips on ways that you’ve found effective to hold yourself accountable to your own goals! You can leave those in the comments below:

be really fucking nice…because, why not?

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In my industry, people give a lot of advice.

And a lot of that advice is business-related – geared towards protecting your time, making the most of your time and building your business around your own rules so that you can do what you want, when you want, the way you want it.

And it’s mostly really good advice.

But here’s the thing about “protecting your time” and going on a “low information diet” and having too many friends on Facebook and following too many people on Twitter:

You miss A LOT.

Like a friend crowdsourcing for a ride because they didn’t want to text directly and put you out. But you could have given them that ride, caught up with a friend and everyone would have had a better day because of it.

 

No one ever really tells you to be nice and take an extra minute to help someone out – or just look around and realize that it’s a BEAUTIFUL fucking day….

So I’m doing that now. BECAUSE IT’S A REALLY BEAUTIFUL FUCKING DAY.

And sometimes it’s more important to watch what people are doing rather than listen to what they are saying.

EXAMPLE:

Chris Schultz is a really busy dude. He does lots of important work, knows lots of important people, and even though he’s a master at time management, sometimes struggles with balance just like the rest of us.

But you know what?

Every time some hopeful entrepreneur walks into Launch Pad (usually with no appointment or warning, like a TORNADO in most cases) to get feedback on their “big idea,” Schultz stops what he’s doing – as if he knows this person – and gives them his full attention, advice, resources, whatever he can.

Is it rude to just walk into someone’s office in the middle of their work day and interrupt them?

Of course. And most people would get super annoyed.

But Schultz doesn’t.

And the way that he talks to these tornados that he’s never met before?

It’s the same way he talks to people like Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.

Because he treats everyone the same: with kindness and respect.

So why am I writing about this now?

Two really awesome things happened yesterday.

Firstly, I shattered my iphone screen – and I mean shattttttered- on Thanksgiving (clearly that’s not the awesome thing) and have been crowdsourcing options on Facebook and Twitter since then.

So yesterday afternoon, my iPhone screen was replaced. FOR FREE. By an ANGEL.

More specifically, an angel who had no cause or reason to do such a huge favor for me, but did it anyway.

Just to be nice. Just because she could.

THEN.

 

On my way home from, I stopped to get groceries at the Canseco’s and ran into a man called Parker who I know from and only run into at the Canseco’s, pretty regularly.

Parker calls me “Budapest” because he was stationed there when he was in the military and said I look like someone he knew there.

I’m in a hurry to get home and Parker is chatty so I start my normal, polite conversation expedition but he’s not having it.

Know why?

Because he had a VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE for me.

I didn’t know it right then – I don’t think he did either.

But when Parker proceeded to tell me that he saw me walking downtown one day, and that I looked like I was in a bad mood with the weight on my shoulders, I honestly couldn’t correspond that to a particular time or mood because I probably ALWAYS LOOK LIKE THAT.

Which isn’t fun for anyone.

So I said something like “ahhhh you know – I work downtown – lots of stress – I was probably just thinking or mad about something someone said….”

and THEN he told me this:

“Budapest, don’t let anyone take your joy away.
Leave work at work and home at home.
Your happiness is your own – but it only gets stronger when you share it with others.”

We talked for another 15 minutes or so before going our separate ways in the grocery aisle….and I felt lighter. Happier.

And to round off the theme of this post/lesson/story with too many profanities, there was an email from Sloane Davidson in my inbox this morning about “Giving Tuesday.”

She wrote this manifesto about giving and is aiming to get 10k downloads with proceeds going to a non-profit that she’s passionate about.

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 6.13.32 AM

 

And I’ll end on this challenge:

Pay attention to what’s going on around you.
Do something nice for someone else today.
Just because.

xo

Megan

 

you can do anything but you can’t do everything

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Did you start writing your novel on November 1st as part of NaNoWriMo? Did you also give up 4 days later? Me too.

If you’re not familiar, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, which happens to fall in November. When most people are really busy. So I don’t really know why they picked that month, but I REALLY thought that I would be able to commit to writing 1,500 words per day towards my amazing novel about life growing up in Cajun country.

This month I also signed up for a one month course to learn Ruby on Rails, started reading books about SEO to expand my knowledge, visited family back home, joined the board of the LGBT Center of New Orleans, etc.

While I completely failed on NaNoWriMo and the Rails class, I’ve learned a lot about SEO, done quite a bit of business development, reconnected with old friends and family and am very excited about the opportunity to work with the LGBT Center.

So I keep going back to the old phrase “you can do ANYTHING, you just can’t do EVERYTHING.” This has always been a hard thing for me to accept but I’m working on it.

Re-prioritizing: putting yoga (and health in general) first

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The Plan: to integrate at least three yoga classes per week into my schedule

The Challenge: it’s REALLY hard to wake up early in the morning and with all the random events (especially with holidays coming up) it’s almost impossible to stick to an evening routine.

Target Solution: 2 parts: 1 – accountability via the buddy system. 2 – schedule classes the same way I schedule client meetings.

So here’s my goals for the rest of October through November:


Tuesday @ 6:30 a.m. – MYSORE Ashtanga @ Balance Yoga + Wellness in Mid City w/ Mykl

Mykl has agreed to pick me up on his way to the studio so I HAVE to get out of bed. He practices longer than I do because he’s very advanced, so once I’m done, I’ll walk back to my house. Double exercise points!


Thursday @ noon: Lunch Flow @ Life Yoga Studio Uptown w/ Margarita

Margarita and I have been trying to set a recurring weekly hangout, so we’ve agreed to do Thursday noon yoga followed by healthy lunch that we take turns preparing. I’ve got a standing uptown Thursday afternoon meeting so this works out well time wise.


Friday @ noon: Power Hour @ Reyn Studio in the CBD (solo)
Fridays I work from my office at Launch Pad in the CBD and Reyn studio is right next door. Bonus: Launch Pad has a shower/sauna situation so I can get fresh before any afternoon meetings I might have.

INTERESTED IN WORKING WITH ME? GIVE ME A SHOUT! CONTACT MEGAN