What is next season for me and my family?
This has been the question I’ve been asking myself a lot the last few months.
I feel like I’ve been in a caterpillar state. The old has felt comfortable. But itchy. And somehow, not right. I‘ve been leaning into God’s presence more and his voice has spoken so clearly that it’s hard to ignore.
He’s asked me to step away from being online in the way I was, especially in my instagram space. A place I’ve found a lot of fulfillment, purpose, influence, and relationships. A place I’ve loved to serve others. I’ve kept it open for so long because I love to help people and for potential business opportunity. But as Surf Girls Design has grown more successful, my personal instagram has just become a secondary job that I cannot justify in our season.
And honestly, as my children get older, my convictions about social media grow stronger. As people try and hand them phones at every turn, I see how easily it can infiltrate our lives and make reality feel off.
As the gatekeeper of my house, I want to teach my kids FIRST how to thrive offline before ever handing them technology. If that is truly my conviction, me following them around with a camera is sending mixed messages. They did not sign up to be mini versions of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Their memories deserve to be memories, not an Instagram strategy. Running a growing account that is completely built on the back of my family’s personal life is not where my heart is. It allows culture to infiltrate our home in a way I'm not comfortable with while my kids are little. I only have a few years of these formative ages and I want every moment of those to be intentional.
I've grown million dollar companies. And I love that they’ve always been an extension of my personal life, not dependent on my personal life. I continually find that when I let a business or a following ride on the back of my personal life, things feel yucky and off for me. The boundaries are necessary for me to live my conviction. And I want to raise children who live out their convictions fully too, even when it doesn’t make sense and runs counter cultural. We’ll teach them how to use social media when it’s appropriate and when they can use it to give back, and not consume. That time is not now.
SO! I’ll still be around, it’ll just be different. You’ll mostly find find me posting about our design and flips on Surf Girls Design! That will be my more active account. You can reach me there or via email. (email@example.com)
I'll probably post sometimes here on our blog. And my instagram personal account will stay up and I’ll share family updates every now and then. But it won’t be a play by play of my life. And that’s okay. I’m sad about it, because part of me loves sharing. But happy, because I know it’s the right and scary choice for us for our season. We will be moving on to 6 acres soon, and much of our time will be full with running a business and cultivating an intentional childhood and family life together on our little homestead.
I hope you will do scary things too and live out your convictions fully, no matter what they may be. It's ok to do new things in different seasons. Hug a real person more and like photos on here less. Get outside. Go for a walk. Find community. Show up in real life. There’s a whole lot of joy waiting there. And maybe you’ll run into me there too.
To my amazing followers who have followed me through many seasons and over many platforms, love you guys forever. ❤️❤️
You may know that I helped found a fair trade company when I was just 17 years old. If you didn't know, click here for more info. But today, I am feeling especially grateful because it's Giving Tuesday.....or what we like to call, 'Fair Trade Tuesday.' Today is a day, after all of the crazy consumerism of Black Friday, that we can take a second, reassess, and give back.
A day when we should remind ourselves that we vote with our dollars and our dollars can make a difference for the kind of world we want.
I have always been passionate about fair trade, one of the very reasons I started Trades of Hope eight years ago. But I love that we can stand with other companies today and remind the world what we are all about. People.
Trades of Hope is a member of the Fair Trade Federation, a trade association that promotes North American organizations fully committed to fair trade. We love working with them to promote fair wages, fair trade principles, and transparency. Below we’ve outlined the fair trade principles we abide by.
Putting people first is not common place in the business world. Working with different cultures is a challenge that typical business finds hard and expensive to keep up with. And yes, it requires sacrifice to promote people first. But by following this value, we see communities and cultures flourish in over 16 different countries, seeing over 13,000 individual artisans lives completely changed.
We work with these artisans to find creative solutions to some of our cultural differences, we help develop them as leaders, we work to understand and communicate better, and make sure that they win at the end of the day.
We meet our artisans where they're at and help them thrive in the way their culture and personality would love. (Because honestly, the goal should never be to make other cultures look like us).
Here's some examples of how we work to put people first.
We choose these differences.
Because we love people and we put our artisans first.
This is why shopping fair trade is important. We are not product first, but people first. And that will always come with challenges. But we choose this. We choose slow fashion. Because at the end of the day, it is the people that matter.
So, whatever you do today, support a business that is putting people first. Perhaps even my company, Trades of Hope!
(You can even join as a compassionate entrepreneur and make an income WHILE empowering other women to keep their babies. Check out how here>)
Join Amelia and me below as we talk about
our special United Ornament, marked at 50% off today!
I'm here with another podcast episode.....finally!
We took a month off to get us through the summer and some of the speaking engagements we had, and now we're back on track with a FRESH new name. So since most of our podcast is focused on family, we renamed it to Antos in Love. This was our wedding hashtag, and so we thought it'd be fun to refurbish it. Our podcasts will feature Ryan a whole lot more, our family, and our travels as we raise Amelia.
For this episode, I loved chatting with my brother Dillon. He is 22 and a man of many talents. He currently lives in a 400sf apartment in downtown San Francisco, and is freelancer in videography, photography, & audio engineering. He is a nomadic minimilist who's traveled extensively, loves meeting new people, and has a knack for the art of conversation. He's had some crazy experiences (one may or may not have been working for the government. ;)
Take a listen to hear us chat about being afraid and taking risks anyway, why being a good conversationalist is so important to loving people, and some inspiration from his travels! This episode was recorded a little wonky, so forgive some of the sound issues. We're hoping your ears have lots and lots of grace. ;) <3
Follow Dillon at www.instagram.com/dillonwehde
Check out my new podcast on Finding Balance below! Or, if you're more of a reader, read the blog post. :)
I’m so excited you’re here today because we’re chatting about something super important to me....and that thing is BALANCE.
In prior seasons, I had no idea how important balance really was. I thought because “I was juggling well,” it meant I was balancing well. But balancing and juggling are different.
Juggling is chaotic and stressful. You may be keeping the balls in the air, but you have to do a lot of external movement to get them up and off the ground. Balance is peaceful. The external movement is much less, and thus eliminates the chaos from your life.
Anyone else want less chaos in their life?? For sure!
If you’ve listened to my past podcasts, you know where that lifestyle led me. It led me to being a workaholic who was anxious and drowning in feelings and emotions that controlled me. NO THANKS.
Currently, I help run the operations of my company, Trades of Hope. I am home a couple days a week working WHILE taking care of my babe. I run my Instagram, photography, blog, and podcast for fun. I did much of the above mentioned while finishing school a few years ago. At this moment in my life, I am so fulfilled, mostly because I've learned the art of balance.
When I was dealing with some hard stuff, God kept bringing the word SHALOM to my mind. A word commonly used by the Jewish people, it is a thread that runs through the Bible in so many ways. And it is the core of how God operates...a peace that brings completion and wholeness.
That became my word for my life (I know it’s probably cliché, but it helps me). Because I want to be whole. When you’re whole, you don’t lean to extremes. You don’t rest TOO much that you lose your purpose and drive. And you don’t work too much where you lose your sense of community and balance. Whole. Nothing missing. Balancing each facet of life in a way that is not too much and not too little. Now, we’re never going to be perfect. But If I realize that God wants this SHALOM for me, I can walk in balance.
So in thinking about this topic, I identified 5 areas that really helped me shed the old mindset of juggling and adopt this mindset of BALANCE.
The first one was:
1. PRIORITIZE VALUES
I talk about this a lot, but values drive us as individuals. And we all have different ones. I could come here and tell you “do this or do that…” but if that THING does not bring you joy, it won’t work.
Before being balanced, you need to know what your values are. What are the FIVE things you have time for in your week? Unfortunately, it’s not everything. But you can do everything YOU value, because we make time for what we value.
We’re only on this earth for a short time, so I’m not going to waste it by doing something that sucks my soul dry. I’m going to spend my life doing things that make me come alive!
Just to give you an example – here are my priorities and the things I make time for each week:
Community & Friends
Work & Aspirational Goals
Spiritual Life & Downtime
Ryan & Amelia
You can’t do it all. But you have enough in your week to do the right things. Make them the things you love.
2. MAKE A PLAN. HAVE DISCIPLINE TO STICK TO IT.
I’ll be honest with you. In love, some of ya’ll just need more discipline in your life and some of your problems will be answered.
Making a plan for the week is ESSENTIAL to making sure I get the right amount of time with the 5 priorities in my life.
Some people will say to me ‘well I’m just spontaneous” or “I don’t like to be overly planned.” But when you're intentional in your day, you actually have TIME to be spontaneous.
Dream setting has its place, work has its place, rest has its place, and spontaneity has its placed.
So once a week, a sit down with my project management app and I plan my week. I use the app basecamp. I block out each day, and plan what I WANT to do at each time. It doesn’t always happen exactly that way, but it gets pretty close and I get to accomplish what I want, spend time with my baby and loved ones, and end the day on a restful note.
When you plan, you can compartmentalize. When you compartmentalize, you can work when you need to work. And then you can spend time with your family without stressing about other things.
Planning gives you the ability to compartmentalize.... which in turn gives you the freedom to live present again.
Making decisions for short term happiness leads to long term regret. Set your values and plan your days according to your values. The beginning will be painful and require a lot of discipline. But in the long term, you will realize that it gets easier and easier to balance, stay committed, and live the life you dreamed.
3. ELIMINATE TIME WASTERS
To make a plan and stick to it, you have to eliminate the things you’re doing that cause what I call ‘spill-over’ into other areas life.
Social media scrolling – anyone? Ever started scrolling through your insta feed and look up and see that an hour has gone by. Yeah, me too. It’s not a good feeling. That is a spillover activity.
Put a time limit on it. I block out a 20 minutes at the end and beginning of the day to scroll, post, and engage in my friend’s posts. Another thing that is a time waster is allowing others to dictate your day. Waiting for people to comment on your photos on social media, waiting for emails to come in, waiting for someone to come talk to you at the water cooler, chatting it up in the office with whoever can talk.
None of these are bad things, and we need relational time in our life, but too much leads to you meeting everyone else’s need, wants, or tasks, and not moving any of your tasks forward. You’ll end the day feeling like none of your goals progressed.
Don't work out of the pressure of whatever is right in front of you.
Work out of pressure = low capacity. If you work on everyone else’s time table, you will always be a low capacity person.
Stop freaking out about disappointing everyone & have grace for yourself
In order to eliminate time wasters, we need boundaries. To have boundaries, we have to disappoint some people. And then we have to have GRACE for ourselves.
I used to feel SO guilty when I would say, “I’m sorry, I can’t do that.” Or “Not this week” or “Can we schedule a meeting at 1pm instead of chatting now?”
But now that I see how it’s revolutionized my life, how much more intentional I am, how much I can get done WHILE still having time for people….I don’t feel guilty anymore.
You see, being intentional has actually given me MORE time with my family and friends.
But you have to be okay disappointing some of them up front. Explain kindly that you’re trying to be more disciplined with your time and that you’d like to have some time on X date (and then actually, intentionally set aside time for that person.)
And most of all – have grace for yourself! You can’t do it all. Honestly you cant. The people that seem like they can are making sacrifices not to do certain things. The difference between you and them is that they are probably sacrificing the things they don’t value to do the things they DO value.
And you may be saying YES to the things you don’t value and sacrificing what you DO value.
5. CHANGE YOUR LANGUAGE
I'm going to be honest for a second here. It's a pet peeve when people tell me that they are just ‘so stressed and so busy.’
Look, some people really are, especially in certain seasons. Seasons of illness, childbirth, overwhelm, etc. And that’s okay. But if you’re touting your busyness as a badge of honor because you’ll feel LESS than others if you don’t say you’re busy, that’s silly.
I find that busyness makes us feel good. But it’s empty. So stop using busyness as an excuse. People make time for the things they value. If you value watching endless amounts of Netflix on the couch, then do it. But if you don’t value it, don’t do it. And for goodness gracious, stop telling everyone you’re so busy doing things that don’t even make you happy!
What you speak, you become. If you speak juggling, stress, and chaos over your life, your life will feel like that. If you speak wholeness, peace, and intentionality over your life, that is the fruit you will produce.
Remember friends, we don’t have to juggle. Juggling is chaos. We can balance. Balance is not an extreme in either direction, rather it is a way to have a little bit of everything we love, allowing us to feel whole and complete.
When I was little, my favorite heroine was Joan of Arc. I'm not quite sure why, but I was fascinated by her. I felt like I heard God's voice clearly as a little girl and was also tad 'odd,' so I felt akin to girls that felt misplaced and different. Maybe you relate.
I adored that Joan honored her inner femininity, but never saw her femininity as something to hinder her from God's calling. And for her, his call was to lead an army and fight for what she believed was right. There is one point where someone asks her if she is afraid, and supposedly, she says,
"I am not afraid, for God is with me. I was born for this!"
To live with that kind of passion and belief in what you are doing is seemingly absurd and also wonderful. How much more confident would we be if we approached the scary situations in our life believing that really, truly God had created us for that very thing?
As I got older, I felt called to many things that scared me. Starting businesses as a teenager, trying to build a company growing at a crazy rate, fighting for women's rights worldwide, speaking, traveling, and now having a baby.
Now, none of these things have quite the craziness of becoming a military leader at age 17 like Joan of Arc, but they were scary none-the-less. There have been times (especially in the last year) where I have felt so under-qualified to do what I have felt called to do.
Funny enough, the biggest thing I've ever felt this about has been having a baby. Seems goofy, but I've always had this innate fear that I just wasn't made overly maternal. I'm not even sure why, but getting pregnant has brought out that worst fear in me. Can I still be the woman I want to be - world changer, business owner, traveler, speaker.....and a mom?
Early in my pregnancy, I had to bring this to God and wrestle with it. I felt as if I had to be a different person to be pregnant and become a mom. I know that all the moms out there probably think that it's silly....and of course you can do all of those things! But it was a real fear of mine.
Gently, God told me two very important things:
- Chelsie, how do you want your daughter to feel about herself? Because if you aren't confident in yourself and how God made you, will she be? I want her to love herself, no matter how she is made or what quirky things are a part of her. There are no mistakes, so I have to believe that about how God created me too.
- I made you the way I made you for a reason. Jeremiah 1:5 says that we are known and loved before we are even in the womb. And that from conception, we are set apart for something incredible and specific. How can I say I was not made for this when God carefully created my personality for ALL of the plans he had for me - entrepreneurship AND motherhood? I was made for this.
Maybe it's not motherhood for you. But maybe you are also living in a season that scares you. A calling you've felt since you were little, or a crazy new idea you had just last night, a big business idea, or a step that you need to take in healing. Maybe you are in a situation that you never asked for, something you feel so unqualified to handle. Something that is just plain scary. Know this - you were specifically made to walk through what are walking through and conquer it. You were especially made to do that one thing you've felt tugging on your heart.
No one else. You.
I keep this letterboard (pictured above) in my kitchen every morning.
As I'm making my nutella and toast and OJ, I read it and remind myself of what Joan of Arc said. If I can believe this about myself, I can do anything.
My business - I was made for it. Every piece of my personality, no matter how quirky I feel.
My calling - as scary and unknown as it sometimes feels, there is no one better equipped to do it than me.
My child - I was made for her, formed in MY mother's womb with the exact things God knew I would need to love her and raise her to be a world changer.
God is with us and has designed us for this very moment in history to make a difference and overcome.
You were made for this.
Trades of Hope started in 2010 by two mother and daughter teams in a little town on the coast of Florida. Our small beginnings didn't change the big dreams we had to empower women out of poverty all over the world. I was one of the daughters in this incredible partnership and had the opportunity to help develop this amazing business from age 17.
We organically grew and as most start ups do, we looked around to see who could help us in our mission to change the world. We found close friends and family that partnered arm and arm with us to do the unthinkable: work toward ending poverty and changing the lives of women worldwide. And a movement began.
As we’ve grown, we’ve hired an incredibly diverse group of people that make our mission even more real and achievable. But the simple fact remains that we never want to lose that close family feel that can be seemingly lost in corporate America today. “Corporate” is the word we’ve banned in our office. Not that it’s bad, but for us, we want it to feel like home and like family. We even call our staff the "home team."
We believe that, if you’re going to spend 40 hours a week somewhere, you should love that place. And that place should love you back.
As a fair trade company, we are very focused on doing this also with the 13,000+ artisans we partner with all over the world. Work was not supposed to be a cold, clock in and clock out mentality. Work is meant to be your passion, your life’s work, your calling. And for every single person that works with us, whether vendor, artisan, or employee, we want to add to their life in some way.
How can you be passionate about work if your workplace isn’t passionate about you? We decided early on that we are passionately people first and will always champion that.
In 2017, we were so proud to offer medical benefits to our Florida home team for the first time. Knowing how hard it is secure the right benefits, especially with children, is an overwhelming part of this world. We were honored that we got to give this gift to our home team to help ease that burden and take care of their families.
Did you know that the U.S. is one of only two countries in the first world that offers no federal paid maternity leave? At Trades of Hope, we are a company that supports and honors women and all they choose to be. Because of this, we offer paid maternity leave with an additional 6 weeks of leave time for births and adoptions for our home team. On top of that, we love that we can also offer paternity leave as well, because we know that a new child is a transition for the mother and father and we want to make that transition as easy as possible.
We also LOVE that our Compassionate Entrepreneurs are their OWN business owners and can help others, bring in a paycheck, AND have families they stay home with if they so choose. We have many layers to our business and love the empowerment we can bring to them all.
In addition to this, so many of our artisan groups support their artisans by providing healthcare, childcare, schooling, and family programs. And in 2017, we were directly part of starting two schools for our artisan groups. We truly believe that education is one of the main keys to ending poverty at its root. To see the smiling faces of our artisans in India and Haiti who can now learn to read, write, and dream for their future, is one of our greatest hopes come true!
We believe in the power of women and all they choose to be. Because of this, we love that women can lead project meetings at Trades of Hope, be a part of a successful career, while also raising a healthy family.
We love that an artisan mom can create products in her workshop while knowing her child is being safely taken care of in daycare. We love that our Compassionate Entrepreneurs can work from home AND empower women worldwide. We love being a part of providing incomes that allow families to buy homes for the first time and reinvest into others. To champion people first is our passion.
We also focus on programs through out the year to create a culture of fun in our home office workplace. During the fall months, you could show up and find our staff dressed up as favorite movie characters, strong females from history, or sci-fi costumes. We host leadership teachings every Monday to pour into our staff, because we believe everyone who works for us is a leader with great power to change the world.
We love to throw parties and during the year we host parties with prizes, games, and moments of reflection. You can even find a few of our goofy staff videos online. Dancing and singing is involved as much as possible! Our work can be heavy, but we believe that we truly are in the business of hope and want to create an atmosphere that brings that to every person working with us.
At our Thanksgiving party, all our staff brings a dish to share. We sit around a table (which we keep having to add to every year as we grow!) and we each give thanks for one thing that happened at work that year. It’s often a time where tears, laughter, and hugs happen, as each person remembers the memories they’ve had, the growth gained, and the new friends made.
This Thanksgiving party is exactly how we want our business to look. We will continue to grow and have grown – hugely so! God has blessed us, and we believe that we in turn get to bless others. Our dream is to empower others to be all they can be. We are proud to create a place that feels like home for everyone. The little things we can do, like supporting working families, benefits, leadership investment, parties, and fun events, may sometimes cost a few extra dollars, sure. But the pay off is astronomical and crucial for the great work we’ve been called to. People first.
We’ve created a place of wholeness, where employees feel loved and accepted and work hard for their passion and our passion – ending poverty and changing lives all over the world.
And in turn, we’re able to pour this passion into partnering with over 5,000 American women AND 13,000 artisans.....who can now send their babies to school, buy a home for the first time, work in a place of love and respect, and see their lives completely change.
Sustainable, people first business truly changes things for everyone.
Check out more about us and how you can get involved at www.tradesofhope.com
Morning (and night) routines are one of the most important things in my life. I was really struggling emotionally during a certain period of my life and I found that by setting healthy boundaries and routines (even in the midst of crazy traveling), my well being and joy increased dramatically.
I don't prescribe anything as being a fix-it-all solution. But I do think that we have trained ourselves to stop listening to our bodies. Learning to shut off social media and distractions to really listen to what we need will tell us so much. God designed our bodies to have boundaries, and if we are not respecting how we were created, we will be trapped by the broken emotions that come with being out of touch with this fleshly vessel we call home.
Here's just a few things that have worked for me in my morning routine:
1. Phone = OFF and OUT OF SITE
At night, I put my phone in the kitchen and turn it off. When I wake up, it is not near my bed and is not the first thing I go on.
I used to 'use' my phone as an alarm (alarms are $12 at Target, people). So everytime it dinged, flashed, or vibrated, I'd roll over and check to see who was liking, emailing, commenting, etc. As soon as I woke up, I'd convince myself I needed to 'relax' for a few minutes before getting up. Even when I turned my notifications off, the constant awareness that it was always there was too tempting.
I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping too and when I'd have nights of restlessness, I enjoyed having my phone to keep me company. You know though, as soon as I put my phone away, my brain started realizing that I didn't have to be "on" all the time, I actually learned how to sleep so much better!
I was also convinced that I needed to be accessible. I ran a growing company and if something happened, I needed to be available. I have loads of siblings I adore. What if something happened and they needed me?
All of these feelings naturally put in us a state of anxiety, because there is an expectation of what's to come. And we wonder why anxiety seems to constantly haunt us.
We also wonder why we feel feelings of worthlessness, comparison, or jealousy so often. Perhaps it's because before the hour of 8am, we've already read three news articles, looked at hundreds of curated photos, and read every new detail about our friend's lives. We can't blame social media for this. We have the power within us to put social media away. There's nothing wrong with others for wanting to post pretty photos, create art, and share their life's details. It's that you weren't meant to see it 24/7, late in the night, early in the morning, and at your most vulnerable times.
People will be okay without you being 'on' every second. You can buy an alarm and wake up the old fashioned way. And your brain will learn, over time, to rest and not feel that anxious expectation of missing out. Leave your phone for AFTER you've completed your morning routine.
2. Make your bed & some sort of breakfast
I admit, I still struggle with this. But making my bed (and/or breakfast) has this weirdly glorious effect on me. It gives me this internal idea that, from the very beginning of the day, my life is in order. A simple task completed well that no one else sees helps me feel ready. And it sets me up to be well disciplined through out the day.
Also, it feels so good to get home and see a made bed, just beckoning for me to open the comforter and snuggle inside. It helps with my nightly routine too, as it lends to a sense of calm and peace right before bed.
As for breakfast, I really mean just make something and/or anything. Even drinking a smoothie, sipping a cup of coffee, or chopping up some fruit helps me feel more prepared. It has nothing to do with the food, but that little act of willpower changes my mindset. (especially when I could easily run out the door with my bed a mess, an empty tummy, and the feeling that I'm already behind.)
3. Pray, Journal, Meditate...
Before I pick up my phone, or hop on my computer, I take time to do something for me to mentally prepare for the day. As someone of faith, I pray every morning. Usually while in bed still. As soon as I wake up, I thank God for all he's given me. I pray about how I'd like the day to look and ask for joy and determination. I always pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to move in me that day and give me power over my own desires and struggles. I've found that praying for this has helped me through some of the darkest things. It's essential that I set my heart on heaven every morning with gratitude and put in the guardrails during the day my heart will abide by.
Sometimes I'll get up and stretch while I pray. Sometimes I sit on a blanket and face the sun, feeling it on my face and thanking him for his goodness. Often times I pair reading my Bible with this or I journal.
It doesn't have to look the same everyday, but a routine that allows you to take a moment and readjust your focus on what is most important to you will help your brain be able to handle all that you will need to do and see that day. And, I find that if I'm doing this everyday, when I hop on social media I'm not confronted with comparisons or the overwhelming anxiety of the news. My heart has been checked and put in it's place and I feel peace.
4. Make a list of what to accomplish that day
This is my fourth and final thing. It's easy for me to finish the above and then immediately hop on my computer and start answering emails. But then I start to live life by REACTION. I want to move with intention and not react to things. So before I start my work day, I make a list of the top things to accomplish that day. I use an online list maker and move things around in my day/week until I feel that I have a clear vision of how to get each thing done. Then and only then do I dive into my work/social media.
These are just a few things I do, but they have helped me get through many challenging periods of life. Little acts of discipline can seem fruitless sometimes, but discipline done over and over can have such positive long term effects. So try some of these things out (even as simple as they seem) for 30 days and see how you feel!
Not many people know what I actually do, so I always get a ton of questions about my job. You work at Trades of Hope? What do you do there? What is Trades of Hope? What's a home party? How did you start working there?
Do you have a second for me to share a little more, friend? Yes? Okay, sweet.
When I was 17, I co-founded Trades of Hope with 3 other incredible women. We empower women out of poverty all over the world. We work with over 13,000 artisans to create handcrafted, fair trade products. Many of these artisans are survivors of abuse, sex trafficking, and severe poverty. Sustainable business is a way for them to grab hold of their destiny and make change for their families and communities.
Once here in the United States, these products are sold through Compassionate Entrepreneurs. These Compassionate Entrepreneurs make a percentage of what they sell, helping them feed their family while giving them the opportunity to create sustainable work for artisans worldwide.
I've been so privileged to watch this small idea grow from a tiny storage unit to growing over 300% into a national movement. With thousands of artisans and thousands of American women partnering together, we have truly made change for women all over the world.
For a good part of the last 7 years, I have served as the V.P. of Operations, along with being a founder. My passion is in helping women become all they were created to be....and I love that systems and processes can be the place that ideas like this fully come alive. I've spoken at colleges all over the United States to young people who ask me the same question - how did you take an idea and make it a reality?
There are many answers to that question. Most of that answer is 'with help,' because none of us do anything great alone. But there are a few effective strategies that I had to learn the hard way that have helped me.
So, you, yes I'm talking to you! The entrepreneur, you teenager/twenty something with an idea, you dreamer, you party starter and movement maker.....the question I'll answer is
how do we truly start a lasting movement?
Here are 5 things I believe a movement is built on:
1. How do you meet a need?
All great movements are because the world is not how it ought to be. If the world was alright, we would have no need to change it. But alas, this can be a crazy place and we need change makers. Business ideas are so much easier when you care so passionately about that subject. Ask yourself....would you represent your idea even if you hadn't come up with it?
If you don't care about your idea enough to sell it, no one else will. If it doesn't solve a need for you and for others, it isn't necessary. You should be the best salesperson for your idea before you expect anyone else to be. And when I say salesperson, I don't mean the beating-people-over-the-head kind. I mean the overflowing-with-joy-and-passion-about-what-you-believe-in kind. Don't expect others to care if all it's about is money. It's gotta be more than that to you.
Got this one down? Okay, check! Let's move on.
2. Lasting movements are built on the back of discipline
If you are consistently coming up with hundreds of new ideas and forgetting your old ones, nothing will ever be accomplished. If you are going to build a following, a team, or an influence, you've got to stick with something. No one can follow a scattered leader or idea. If you wake up every day with no plan or idea on where you're going, no one else will get there with you.
The idea of being an entrepreneur is glamorous. Most of the time, it's you sitting for 15 hours on a computer or in a storage unit packing boxes. But even in the i-haven't-showered-for-days-and-wanna-throw-my-computer-at-a-wall moments, will you stick with it? Can you have the discipline to stick with one idea and not one hundred? Have the strength to wake up in the morning and stay with your plan. If you're all ideas, you are just a dreamer. If you can pair ideas with willpower, you are a true entrepreneur.
If you aren't passionate enough about your movement to stick to a plan, show up on time to meetings, go to work everyday, and not quit when it gets hard, you probably don't care enough about it. Sacrifice is always involved, so we have to get used to it and embrace it. It'll make us better.
3. You don't have to know all the answers, but you have to know where to find all the answers
We have a phrase at Trades of Hope that I coined for us. It's called scrappy determination.
Urban Dictionary defines scrappy as "a person who is little but can really kick some butt." (Ahem, I substituted butt instead of the original word, you're welcome.) But it's true. Scrappy determination is the kind of attitude that says "I know I'm the little guy/girl and don't have all the answers, but I'm not gonna quit until I figure this out."
We live in an age with so much knowledge and information. We just need to learn how to utilize it. Within the first year of starting Trades of Hope, I had learned how to make a website, create photoshop graphics, market on facebook, basic software programming, how to write business plans, do basic accounting, and write training material for those that sell our product. Am I genius? Nope. I don't even want to tell you my SAT scores quite honestly.
But I know where to get answers. And I'm scrappy. I don't quit. You want to create a movement? Don't quit. Google. Watch youtube videos. Call a buddy who knows how to do that hard thing. Read books. If you consistently know how to get the answers you need, you'll be the little person who can really kick some butt.
And you need some butt kickin' powers to start a movement.
4. Start ASAP
Stop with excuses. Stop with the 'I'll start when I get my degree, when I study enough, when I develop the perfect business plan, when the wording is perfect.'
I was the girl in college who had to get a perfect grade. My husband and I got married before we finished school and he revolutionized my student life when we married. He was a pretty good student too, but he finally told me "CHELSIE, YOU ARE TRYING WAY TOO HARD." I was exhausting myself to get a 100% and was neglecting the other exciting things I could be doing. So I stopped being a perfectionist and I started getting 90s instead of 100s. I enjoyed my life way more and had way more time to spend on my business.
Give 80% effort and stop being a perfectionist. Just start. Don't wait until you're ready. Just go. Be efficient with your time and give up dotting the i's and crossing the t's all the time. That just leads to paralysis.
Also, many share with me that they could never do what I do because they deal with way more fear. To be honest, fear and anxiety is normal when stepping out. I deal with fear on an almost daily basis. Everyday I am doing something new and scary. Whether it's speaking at the University of San Francisco in front of professors and academics to traveling to remote areas in developing countries, I am consistently very AFRAID. My personality doesn't like change and I'm a worrier. Truthfully, I almost-throw up every time before I speak. I'm an average person. What makes me different and this movement work? I do things even though I am terrified.
Stop waiting to be perfect, prepared, and unafraid. It won't ever happen.
Do it anyway.
5. Find your community, tribe, family, and those who have your back
As stated above, starting anything is terrifying. I'm a Jesus follower, and so I do believe that whenever you are do something great, Satan will attempt to attack you at every turn. Though I'm young and don't always share intimate parts of my life online, I've had to walk some hard journeys the last 5 years especially.
When you do anything great, the process is hard, refining, and will try to break you. Stay kind. Stay gracious. And find friends.
Nothing great is done alone. Nothing. All of us have pieces to our personality that need a little help and others can stand in that gap for us. Without incredible partners in business, I wouldn't have been able to pull Trades of Hope off on my own. Without team members that believed in the vision, it would have stayed a dream.
So if you want to go anywhere, recognize that you aren't a one-woman-show. You need others. So don't belittle them, make them feel dumb, or isolate yourself. Successful movements are created by a bunch of people linking their arms together and saying "we believe in this and can make this world better."
So find your people that will walk with you through hardships, call you out when you need a good slap upside the head, pray with you, proof-read your crazy ideas, help you execute your dreams, and pretty much love you even when you stink. (Holly, Gretchen, Elisabeth, & Home team....shout out and I love you ;)
I love what I do at Trades of Hope. Truly, it is my dream job. But I believe a dream lives within all of us and I'm passionate about helping other young people live the dreams God has put in their hearts. Have a question about business, entrepreneurship, or living in your calling? Subscribe to this blog or shoot me a question at my contact button above. <3
As many of you know, I was one of those homeschooled kiddos. I grew up being asked if I had any friends and people scratching their heads at my outgoing personality. (Homeschoolers generally can be pretty social. :) I'm now in my 20s, have my degree in Business, am married to the love of my life, and co-founded and help run the company Trades of Hope. I've traveled the country in a renovated camper, hiked mountains in Costa Rica, sailed on boats through Thailand, and work to partner with incredible artisans in countries all over the world to help end poverty. In 2016, we helped employ over 13,000 artisans globally.
I'm sometimes asked what things I was taught in my homeschooled younger years that helped me on my road in life. While learning the normal things like Math and English, my parents also taught lessons that I believe have been the key to the success in my life.
So, in thinking about this question, I came up with 10 lessons I learned from my parents, though there are certainly more. We are never by-products of our own, but comprised of the incredible people that have poured into us. My parents are the kindest, craziest, most full of love people I know and I am honored to be their daughter. These below lessons are things my parents were faithful in teaching me and living out for me, and I truly believe they can bring so much joy to your life.
1. Honor God & others, especially those in your authority
This is a lesson I'm still learning. Honor is putting others first and respecting their thoughts, ideas, and contribution to your life. As a strong willed person, honoring those who paved the way before me can be difficult. Bucking authority can be trendy. But I do think, in instances, we're called to honor and serve someone else's vision before we can be entrusted with our own.
Mostly because humility is learned in the submitting.
Not speaking ill of others, not putting them down in front of others, always giving credit when sharing another's idea, not calling people out or making them look bad, always thanking those who gifted you or allowed you to have a platform.
For me, honoring my creator is also so important to this. I do this through honoring the sacrifice he made for me on the cross and the life he has called me to live. When I honor God, honoring people is much easier.
2. Don't burn bridges
Don't cut off relationships. There will be those that wrong you and hurt you. Don't intentionally hurt them back. If we are consistently making poor decisions, angering others, and being vindictive, we will have no more bridges to walk over. Apologize often. If you could have ended a relationship better, do it. Don't wait. Life is full of endings. But we don't need to end things with drama, ill intent, and anger.
Learn how to end things well.
3. Stay physically & mentally disciplined for long term joy
This is something I hid from for a couple of years. I was tired of being disciplined, of saving money, of taking care of my body, my stress level, my actions. And though shirking discipline doesn't always show short term affects, two years later, I was a mess.
I learned that peace is actually found through the discipline to make choices for long term joy.
By doing my work on time and respecting my authority, I decide that my short term desire of wanting my own way is not more important than the long term joy of loving my job and having it love me back.
By being careful about the movies, books, and music I let my mind engage in, I decide that my short term desire for gratification is not more important than a mind that is at peace and free of violence, anger, and morbid thoughts.
By controlling how much I am online, I decide that my short term desire to engage and gain a following is not more important than sharing space and time with my husband, family, and those dearest to my heart.
Choosing discipline can be frowned upon, many mistaking this for not living in grace and not giving yourself a break. And while there will be moments of time we need to break routine and we will always need grace, choosing to control our thoughts, bodies, and minds can lead to happier and more peaceful lives.
4. Before making decisions & assumptions, especially out of anger, put yourself in another's shoes
It's easy to react to other people. But the key of leading anything is to become good at controlling your reaction and understanding that, though your emotions may be valid, the other person's feelings are probably very valid too. We don't live in a world of polar opposites. There is gray and being able to control our decisions and assumptions.... and then filter the perspective of another into them, gives us an incredible way to live in peace with others.
5. Choose to believe that your grass is beautifully green and that there is no other side
Positivity is the key to so much. I went through a very dark period in my life where I hated when people would tell me to "choose" joy. And I get that perspective, I really do. After trauma and pain, there is no real immediate solution in choosing. But what I found in dealing with trauma is that choosing is a slow thing and it hurts a lot more than we thought it would. I would go months without knowing if the choosing was working. Something that helped was eliminating social media for a while. I did this so I would stop focusing on what I had lost that others still had, and so I would instead focus on what I actually still did have. I wrote encouragement on my mirrors, on note cards all over my house, I repeated affirmations to myself, and I only put into my mind what would make me feel grateful. And over days, and weeks, and months, step by step, a little light dawned in my heart again.
There is always someone that will seem to have a better life. But choosing to live YOUR life in the best possible way YOU can will physically and mentally change your life. Your body will become healthier, because light thoughts produce health. Your relationships will get better, because light attracts people. And you will feel that maybe, just maybe, your life is wonderful even when it's hard. And that those two things don't have to be at odds.
6. Be involved in community
Ryan and I traveled for almost a whole year in a camper, never staying in one place longer than 3 days. It was an exciting time, exploring the entire US, speaking for Trades of Hope, and getting to meet new people. But by the end of our trip, I was drowning in sorrow and grief from things going on in my life and in family. And I was so lonely.
I was also confused. Isn't it everyone's dream to travel and see the world? Maybe it is, but it doesn't always feel like a dream. What I realized was that moving every 3 days for almost a year produced in me no real roots or attachments to people. And we are created by God to be in relationship with others. It wasn't until we settled in one area and began intentionally involving ourselves with our friends that I began to heal.
God has gifted others with the balm needed to heal your wounds. You simply don't have it within yourself and I promise that you'll need them to teach you to hope and laugh again.
7. Be generous with your time, money, and knowledge
Every thing we have is a blessing. Every piece of wisdom and joy, every dollar, every possession. But I believe that these things are not truly ours and that we've been given them to help others. Be generous in everything you do. Give of your time. Give of your encouragement. If you are blessed financially, help others with it. If you are given something, start dreaming of how you can use this gift to help other people. This is one of the greatest lessons my parents lived out for me and it brings such fullness of life. Instead of guarding our 'stuff' and our knowledge, giving away freely also brings freedom to our minds and hearts.
8. Be creatively passionate in whatever you do, doing it with integrity and excellence
There's 4 words in this statement that mean something important:
9. Be a safe and balanced place for those around you
Balance asks us to lie within the tension of two thoughts. It asks us to guard our thoughts and conversations against extremism. That is not easy and requires constant conflict. The middle ground will always have this tension. But if we are to love all people, we must bridge the gaps in thinking and perspective and help heal divisiveness. This is not just about politics, but in relationships, in work, in groups of people. Don't be quick to take a side, but consider how you can instead stand in the middle to love and heal a divide.
10. Through empathetic learning, act and speak with boldness.
In a world where empathy and gentleness are so important, we can fear the power of boldness. We tend to lack the ability to be bold because we foolishly forget empathy and speak without asking for perspective. If we are to be bold in this way, we will certainly look like fools.
But IF we hold on to the responsibility of being empathetic, we will be gifted with the ability to speak with power and courage. In fact, not much difference can be done in the world if we turn down the moment to speak and act with confidence. Let your compassion and empathy for others motivate you to speak with boldness and conviction.
And choose to do it even when you're afraid.
Hey, friend! I'm Chelsie!
Stay a while and get comfy. <3