Tiffany Han is a business and branding coach who helps highly-creative women take bold, inspired action in their businesses . . . and their lives. She’s been called a Professional Yoda and helps her clients – ranging from bloggers, illustrators, and graphic designers to cubicle jailbirds who are tired of putting their creative dreams on hold – raise their hands and say yes: to those things they’ve always wanted to start, to those ideas that feel crazy, and to themselves. She is also the host of the weekly podcast Raise Your Hand Say Yes that is all about the creative adventures of (extra)ordinary people.
I realized I didn’t want it. I was ready to start applying for MBA programs, and all of the applications wanted me to answer the same question in essay-form: Why do you want to get an MBA? and I quickly realized that I didn’t! I wanted freedom and flexibility in my life and going to business school seemed like a “safe” way to put off making hard decisions. It was something that everyone in my life approved of and something that I could easily explain to people in my life, but it wasn’t what I wanted for myself.
I started out by letting people on the internet serve as my mentors. I found those blogs and newsletters of women who inspired me, and, instead of being intimidated by their success, I let myself be inspired by it. I would say, “Well. If she can make this work, you can too” and used my secret-mentors as motivation when I was feeling down and needed to pull myself back up and get to work.
And I still do this. I try not to pay attention to very many people in my industry online as it muddles up my own ideas and confidence, but I do have secret-mentors in other industries: women or brands that I look up to.
If you want to find a mentor of your own, I recommend starting out with a specific question or offer. It’s much easier for a busy person to say yes to a 15-minute phone call than a lunch to pick your brain. Also, think about what you have to offer this person. Mentoring can be very rewarding if you’re working with someone who is willing to take action on the advice you give. Make it a no-brainer for this person to be willing to help you.
Ooh, well, for one thing, it’s way more fun! For the most part, my favorite thing about my clients is how imaginative they can be – there are so many brilliant ideas in all of them just waiting to be recognized by the world. While this can feel paralyzing, it is so exciting for me to help them see things happen.
Time and energy. And overthinking. They all play into each other, so we tend to start by not outlining what needs to be done (because, let’s face it: no one needs more added to their to do lists!) but by looking at the why behind what they’re doing. By focusing on the end goal and the feelings behind that end goal, making intermediary decisions and taking action steps become much easier.
I think people are often surprised at how quickly they are able to get things done when they channel their creative energy. I had a client who came to me last summer because she wanted to get her business off the ground, and within weeks, she had launched her podcast and was working on her first e-book.
I love it when people have the moment of realizing that they knew it all along, that they can do things, and that success is possible. That is why I do what I do!
I do think that the internet has changed what’s possible for women regarding entrepreneurship and that there are many platforms that make starting a business much easier than it used to be. These days, the point of entry is very low. You can start a business with a Facebook page or an Instagram account and not much else. Of course, this low point of entry also means that it can feel like everyone in the world has an online-based business. (And — shameless plug alert! — that’s why having a business coach is so helpful!)
For me, I decided to ditch the MBA and work towards creative entrepreneurship because I knew that I wanted to have a family someday and have freedom and flexibility in my work life. I’m also super bossy and hate having to get approval from other people before making decisions or executing things. This can be both good and bad in running my own business!
This is tough to answer because there are so many!
Bookkeeping! Actually, that’s a lie because once I sit down, I don’t mind it that much. There is a lot of administrative work that is less fun than the creative work, and I tend to put this off the most. There is always too much email in this world, but I do my best to minimize the time it takes. Ironically, I find that by checking email less, I’m able to get through my inbox much quicker, leaving time for a (literal) walk in the park or more writing time.
I let most things go. I have very little extra time, so I’ve had to streamline most of my processes so that I’m only doing the Most Important Work. That meant letting go of saying yes to almost everything so that I can be sure that my business is my biggest priority.
The biggest challenge for me is prioritizing what needs to get done and letting that be my focus. There are distractions everywhere on the internet, so 30 lost minutes are 30 more minutes that I spend working after my girls go to bed (which is not my prime time for thinking!).
I wish I had a great solution to avoiding internet distraction, but the truth is that I do my best to minimize it as much as possible. I try to write in the mornings before I go online. I use apps like Self Control to block myself from social media sites. I break down my to-do lists into specific, actionable items. Most of these work pretty well, but honestly, it’s a daily battle against my procrastination.
I do my best, but it’s hard. Luckily, I have a separate studio in our backyard, so when I’m out there I’m working and when I’m inside the house, I’m mama. As I said before, this works for the most part and the thing that helps the most is giving myself the grace to be okay with for the most part and not trying to find a perfect system.
I do my best to only be mama when I’m watching the girls and not worry about my work stuff until I’m able to be fully present with it. If I have a big day, I delete social media apps from my phone to avoid the distraction. Nothing on social media is so important that it can’t wait until the kids go to bed. Really. Promise.
I am a writer, and writing is the primary way I market my business. I also started a podcast last summer (right after maternity leave!) and that’s been a wonderful creative outlet for me!
Ah! This shifted things for me in so many ways! There was such an ease to our time there that I realized I needed this in my life all the time. I came home with the sense that I would do everything I could to have more ease and less struggle and I am still working towards that goal.
I’m also trying to figure out how we can move to France for at least a couple of years when the girls get a little bigger!
I started this project when I was coming off of my maternity leave and knew that I needed to start taking more risks in my business.
Rejections still sting, but much less than they used to!
Currently, most of my creative pursuits pertain to my business, so I do my best to relax when I’m not working. I do have a daily inspirational post-it project going on instagram, and that is about as much as I can handle these days.
I’m currently gearing up to launch my 100 Rejection Letters program in the fall for creative entrepreneurs (or wannabe creative entrepreneurs!) who are ready to take fear out of their decision-making equation. I’m also working on a couple of book proposals and continuing my weekly podcast Raise Your Hand Say Yes.
In 5 or 10 years, I want to have an empire! (Ahh! It’s scary to say that out loud!) I want to speak and teach and inspire women to go after their dreams and make things happen, even when their dreams feel inconvenient. I want to be the Oprah for creative entrepreneurs!
Yes! The question I wished you’d asked was, “Do you have any specific advice for moms who want to someday have their own business?”
Ah! Yes! I do! Start. Start now. Even though you don’t have time, even though you’re tired, even though it doesn’t make sense.
And do it — you’re not just an average person and you’ve SO got this.