How to Get out of your Own Way: How I doubled my business in two months

Do what you love and you won’t work a day in your life

I’m on Cloud Nine this week for a multitude of reasons – not the least of which is that we are pushing our first production under The Story Studio Network banner into production. 

Story Studio Network is a dream project of mine – to the point where I don’t want to call it a project anymore. It’s a legitimate arm of my business. (But we can talk about why women choose to minimize achievements another day). 

It’s essentially a network – think like CBC or NBC or HGTV – with a mandate to produce shows that generate conversations seeking to enhance the common good, social justice and elevate conversation.  And we are focused on audio formats for now, though I suspect that we will be offering video components within the year. (You can read one of my previous entries about why I know audio is flipping back into the power position in terms of marketing). 

You see, I operate my business and help clients with four key pillars. 

  • Finding their Story
  • Telling their Story 

(These two pillars are what we cover for the most part in my self-serve programs) 

  • Growing their biz through Story
  • Amplifying the biz and message through Story 

(This is where my 1:1 and group consulting and Story Studio Network fits in)

It’s not always a straight line. 

The above really should be seen as a wheel that is constantly flowing from one to the next; find, tell, grow, amplify. 

I often find myself tumbling through the pillars because, well, stepping into and leveraging Story is not a science. It’s messy and human and requires fortitude and commitment. No one does it perfectly.

However, once I decided to focus my energy and get clear on what I did, it was quite simple to create programs and products that help clients find, tell and grow with their Stories. I mean, that is why I have Stories for a Year and my Group Programs. 

But finding something to match up with my skills for amplifying – that was not easy. I toiled for years with feeling like I could and should be back in the hosting and producing chair. 

I had given in to this thought that ‘I had left the newsroom behind’ and I need to ‘be in a new world’ and completely cut myself off from old ways. 

If I’m being perfectly transparent, I felt like I was failing every time I sat down to ‘get full body excited’ about a business model that didn’t include my news and editorial skills. 

I felt guilty for wanting back a piece of what I’d left when I quit the news. I thought I needed to own the strategy space only – and I was running my business like every other coach and strategist on the internet. I wasn’t leveraging my full story. I was stuck on my own wheel, somewhere between Grow and Amplify.

I had buried my brilliance beneath a pile of ‘shoulds’. 

While it seemed those closest to me, my few dear friends and some trusted business advisors, saw the writing on the wall that I needed to be producing and doing some of the ‘telling’ myself – I refused to admit it. 

But here’s the thing – you can deny your life’s work for as long as you think is possible. But the Universe is always – always – going to find a way to keep bringing it back to you. 

And when you finally say yes – that thing that’s meant for you will arrive at your doorstep in record speed. 

Some people would call this the act of manifesting. I prefer to call it the act of finally getting the f**k out of your own way.

And that’s what happened with Story Studio Network. 

Whether by design or by accident, I signalled to the Universe that I was ready to step out and speak out about my gifts and my dreams.

The stars aligned, as they say. And when that happened, the world and the business rose to meet me.

The key to notice here is that before anything actually happened in the outside world – I did two things myself. 

I listened to the cues, recognizing when the opportunity was knocking and I acted

Here’s how we took the network from ‘just talking about it over coffee in April’ to a legitimate six-figure arm of my business by June: 

  • My Dad called me sometime in April that he ‘needed help structuring a sales package’. (Spoiler: that package became our first show that pushes to production this week)
  • I had just wrapped a launch on my test group program to collect data and insights on how to tweak it for future groups. (So I had nothing huge on the horizon).
  • My team had just started building Stories for a Year and we’d hired a contract funnel manager and a Pinterest manager to help us promote it. (So this project was ready to be offloaded to my team almost entirely).
  • All of my 1:1 clients from the first half of the year were wrapping up their time. 

I had created space to grow. 

(Oh, there’s that concept again! Funny how this keeps coming up. You can read one of my previous posts about the entrepreneur’s aversion to space here). 

When we set out to build the network, we started with a MVP plan – Minimum Viable Product. 

This meant we decided to sign just one show to test the concept and processes for production and as that was happening, seek to sign two more shows. 

Once we had three, we knew we’d have a fully-fledged ‘business’ that we could essentially take to market and grow. 

Here’s where we went from thinking and deciding to ACTING.

As soon as we had the notion that this could be something – we sent emails THAT DAY to our prospective clients. 

We called our lawyer to have changes made to our intellectual property contracts anticipating being successful with signing them. 

We made a huge list of people we’d want to work with on the Network and started reaching out and making connections. 

For heaven’s sake, we started showing up DAILY on our tiny, but growing, Facebook Page and my personal LinkedIn profile to talk about what we are doing and why it’s so different. 

It was a combination of me finally listening to my own truth and then ACTING in a way that it was possible for that truth to manifest. 

Well, happy to say that my final email on Friday of last week was to our new production coordinator to double her hours – because we are in the ‘real business’ territory now.  

And the gorgeous thing about this? It doesn’t feel like work. 

Giving in and surrendering to your Higher Good and deepest desires is terrifying and you can absolutely get stuck in the muck for a long time on your way. 

But once you’re there, once you’ve trudged through the muck, gnashed your teeth and faced the naysayers in your mind, your wheel WILL START turning and it will do it with very little effort. 

So here I find myself, a bit bruised and tired from the journey, but now in a spot where I’m doing what I love and none of it feels like work. 

The Rest of the Story is a project of love and commitment to showing up on this site every day for 90 days; sharing honest opinions, thoughts and observations. Comments are welcome.

Erin Trafford Incorporated is located on sacred land that has been the site of human activity for over 12,000 years. We are in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People, and we acknowledge them as the past, present, and future caretakers of this  land.

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