mom entrepreneur

Are you dreaming the dream or doing the dream?

It's Friday, and that means I am breaking a rule by breaking out of my writing bubble, but I trust that it's ok to give myself permission to do that.

My current work in progress describes how the Celtic Sovereignty Goddess guides women through the transitions of modern life. Why write a book about crowning the queen within if you can't rewrite a few rules along the way? Especially when I'm taking these moments to write to you and the rest of my beloved community of healers, writers, and creatives.

Right now, I have a candle burning on one side of the laptop and my open journal on the other. I just got up from the meditation cushion and the beautiful clutter of sacred stones and tarot cards that surround it. Before I shut my eyes to dream into the work, I had scribbled several pages of notes that just might make it to the typed page.

My little one is home with me today, and it might make more sense to hit the grocery store and put away all that laundry so I can empty the baskets and start the whole process again. But, instead, I'm giving myself permission to let her watch Moana for the twelfth time and I am using this stolen hour to do the dream.This is new for me. Until just a few weeks ago, I'd never allow myself to sit down and work on my creative projects before the kids' bedtime. It seems the Sovereignty Goddess is whispering: it's time.

Dreaming Time and Doing Time

This life I lead, as a mother and a creative entrepreneur, it offers ample time for dreaming.

Driving the kids around, throwing together yet another soup, dealing with all that laundry... When the girls amuse one another and when I remind myself that it's ok to turn off NPR (the madness in Washington will go on whether I listen to every news report or not), I find new vast new territories within my own mind.

Yes, this life with small children may give me time to dream, but it often leaves very little time to do. I have time for my clients, of course. I have time to co-create the podcast. But time to actually do my own writing? That has often seemed impossible...

But then, this book project awoke within me. Re-awoke, I might say, but I am not 100% sure that's a word.

With the spring rains, with the rising tides of my own life, and the churning waters of these tumultuous times in the collective, the Sovereignty Goddess rose out of the earth, out of the past, and out of my own past studies and told me it was time. (Get a taste of her magic here.)

And so, the S.G. gets my creative doing time every Friday, and she gets lots of dreamtime in between. And I feel more alive than I have in long, long time.

Out of the Barren Territory of "Just a Dream"

I'm realizing how much effort I have put into dreaming the dream, and how little I devoted to doing the dream. This long time habit has left me feeling barren and lost... I was terribly accustomed to the bitter cycle of feeling inspired and then feeling disappointed as all those ideas just faded into the ethers.

What about you... are you able to dream the dream but just don't have the time and space to do the dream?

I'd love to talk with you about how I can help you capture that creative energy and turn it into words on a page that touch the hearts of your readers and potential clients.

Book a 15 minute session and we'll talk about how writing coaching can support your creative practice and transform your professional practice.

Permission to Read Signs Sent By a Friendly Universe, #365StrongStories 54

Permission to Read Signs Sent by a Friendly Universe, #365StrongStories by Marisa GoudyThe morning was shorter than it was supposed to be. Our little one was awake half the night asking to use the potty and singing every song she knew, so we needed that extra hour of sleep. We missed the bus and I was crazy late for playgroup drop off, but this was my one, precious day alone in the house and I was going to do amazing things even if I'd lost 90 minutes already.

And then, on my solitary drive home, the school sent a text about early dismissal due to hypothetical snow. The afternoon just got a whole lot short too.

So I did what every brilliant American mom entrepreneur does when the going gets tough - I called husband to commiserate and think through how rescheduling my clients would impact the kid yoga/ decent dinner/ bath night juggle.

We were shifting gears from strategizing to complaining when I saw the birds. “Honey, I just need to shut up and drive,” I said. “I’ve seen a deer, a hawk, and a pair of cardinals in the last two minutes. I need to pay attention to something.”

As much as I may lament being married to one of those spectacularly practical engineer types, I love this man who says "I love you" and accepts animal totem sightings without question.

For a few minutes, I was one with the curves in the country lane. The protective swell of the Shawangunk Ridge and its mighty Mohonk Mountain House promised me that I am in just the right place at just the right moment.

But when I hit a stop sign, I find my fingers fussing at the phone screen. I'm seeking solace or maybe just a podcast. For once I feel guided rather than addicted as I seek out a series I haven’t listened to in months - Tara Brach’s weekly teachings on Buddhism.

Without taking you on a tour of my most recent spiritual awakening, let it suffice to say that an episode called “Trusting Ourselves, Trusting Life” was like a love letter written to my spinning soul.

And when Tara offered up this sweeping prompt from Albert Einstein, it was like the arrow through my laid bare heart:

“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”

The weather isn’t out to get me. The animals who come out to greet me might really be there to wish me well. I’m choosing to believe that this is a friendly world… how else could I push my little girls into it every day?

Your turn: what happened today that proved we live in a friendly universe? And if it felt like a hostile world, the #365StrongStories community will hold you through that too.

Nutella on a Spoon (Or, Why Entrepreneurship Can Leave You Starving)

Sovereign Standard, Issue 15 MG_Header_w_biline_hires Every Thursday afternoon, I found myself at my kitchen island, trying not to get peanut butter and Nutella on my laptop. Mindlessly, I’d swallow spoonfuls of creamy fat as I massaged my weekly newsletter and blog post into a form I deem worthy of the creative entrepreneur.

Why Entrepreneurship Can Leave You Starving. Freelancing. Writing.By the time my daughter woke up from her nap in her carseat (I was writing and snacking with half an ear for the thin wail that would come through the propped door to the garage), I would have the post 85% written.

I would also feel 105% awful based on the crap in my stomach. Everything was curdled by the fear that I had wasted another perfectly good naptime on a piece of writing that was derivative or fraudulent. Though I still trust the quality and usefulness of what I produced, something was “off,” but I didn't dare name what it was.

(Yes, I was being hard on myself and yes, I would be incensed if any of my dear readers with their own business writing goals treated themselves so poorly.)

But I pushed on through indigestion and negativity and managed to click send on that email so it reached the Sovereign Standard audience by 11:35 AM ET on Friday.

I did this fourteen times. (Ok, so I published fourteen newsletters… my jeans still fit, so some weeks I must’ve satisfied myself with a cup of tea while I typed.)

I am pretty darn sure I am not going to do it anymore.

Why Entrepreneurship Is the Wrong Shaped Container

It’s spring. Our food, even if it’s imported from way too far away, seems to have a new vibrancy to it.

I want to be eating out of wide salad bowls. It’s time to start drinking from one of those smoothie cups that fall out of the cabinet every damn time I open it. I’m sick of sneaking into the pantry and stretching to reach the jar of goo that I stash behind the tarnished champagne bucket.

Yes, I’m done with palm oil and I am done with contorting myself into the shape of an entrepreneur just because it’s what I declared I would do when I quit my job five years ago.

Here’s the quick history of my entrepreneurship:

When I returned to work after my first daughter’s birth, I knew I had to get out of the windowless office where I spent my 9 - 5. Seven months later, my mom died of a totally unexpected heart attack. I gave my notice and declared I was starting my own business.

Five years on and now a mama to two, I am still straining to find the joy as a mother, a lover, a creative, AND the president Marisa Goudy Inc. (What is that, even?)

“An Entrepreneur Can Sell Anything” (Oh, Crap!)

This discomfort with “I’m an entrepreneur” has been around since the moment I took up the title, but it finally crystallized thanks to a conversation I had with Molly Morrissey, Traditional Astrologer and Vision Consultant.

As she put it, there are some people who are able to sell anything.

They’re not necessary unethical. They’re just able to see a need in the marketplace and craft the exact solution to make those people happy to pay them. (She mentioned something about a guy who sharpens pencils for a living.)

Molly inspired me to reconnect to what I already knew about myself:

I am a writer first. And a salesperson… never. At least not in a way that made me feel nourished and content.

Even as I’ve celebrated and explored creative entrepreneurship on this blog and with my clients, I’ve been haunted by my own late night kitchen breakdowns about never being enough. Most of the time, it has been impossible to be the mother, lover, and creative I wanted to be… not when my belly was full of leaden entrepreneurial dreams.

There’s so much about life that is bloody perfect, and for that I am grateful, but I just can’t keep relying on a sugar high to fuel my professional body of work.

I am no longer an entrepreneur So what they heck am I? So much moreTwo key things I just realized about my entrepreneurial journey:

  • I’m intensely grateful that the silver lining to the worst event in my life was leaving a job I hated
  • I’m intensely crazy to think that I need to stick with a decision that was made in the midst of soul shattering grief

I think entrepreneurs are the awesome engines of our economy and I love ‘em. There so much I get about them. I still want to support them and work with them.

I'm just not so sure I'm supposed to be one.

Entrepreneur Versus Freelancer (Eek, does it have to be so divisive?)

Somebody once told me that it’d take as much effort to build a $50K hours-for-money business as it would to build a $500K+ firm. Armed with that “wisdom” (though really, let’s call it BS), as an overachiever who’d declared her destiny, I was obligated to create something bigger than myself.

After five years, I finally know that I have been feeding myself from the wrong source.  And I am bound to starve eventually.

Not only is entrepreneurship about building something bigger than yourself, it’s about devising ways to make money while you sleep, building something investable and scaleable and sellable, and supporting a staff.

I’m able to pull that definition straight from memory, but a good writer researches (or starts Googling stuff she already knows as an act of procrastination) and I found this seven year old blog post from Seth Godin:

The goal of a freelancer is to have a steady job with no boss, to do great work, to gradually increase demand so that the hourly wage goes up and the quality of gigs goes up too.

The goal of the entrepreneur is to sell out for a lot of money, or to build a long-term profit machine that is steady, stable and not particularly risky to run.

In my heart, all I was ever aiming for was that life of a freelancer… I wanted freedom, steadiness, greatness, and quality. “Selling out for a lot of money” sounds nice... for other people.

The Courage to “Just” Be Free to Work in the Sweet Spot

There are a million people who’ve left the soul crushing job, whether it’s rat race corporate or ho-hum non-profit, to chase that entrepreneurial dream. What’s true for me - and for you? - is that the entrepreneurial container can be just as cruelly and impractically shaped as the salaried shlep.

Another part of that powerful conversation with Molly (she does this stuff for a living by the way, so do check her out) was to sit with my assertion:

“If I stopped doing my business as it is right now, I would be a failure.”

Molly handled my feelings around this with such mastery, it was abundantly clear that I’m not the only who believes something so damaging - and so stupid.

For me, to change course after five years would be a declaration of defeat… and failure. I had planted the pole of entrepreneurship and claimed my little patch of land, dammit. Who cares if it offered a meager harvest and the only greens that sprang up came from the poison envy plant?

She threw herself into the fire of entrepreneurship so many timesI threw myself into the fire of entrepreneurship so many times that I stopped feeling the burns. I convinced myself that I was a phoenix rather than a woman who had been charred to a crisp by a work life I didn’t want.

Rejecting “Entrepreneur” Isn’t Just Semantics

I have been misusing the “e” word, even though, deep down, I knew better.

Shame on me as a writer for being imprecise, but I think there’s a collective fog around the term.

“Mom entrepreneur,” for example. Surely that ubiquitous phrase contributes to the confusion since many in that club are freelancers or multi-level marketers or crafters selling their own wares.

Like so many, I started to throw that word around as if it just meant “earning a living & being your own boss” rather than “building an enterprise that can be scaled and sold.”

Everything felt true as I wrote it - I still stand by pieces like this one and this one. Apparently, as I talked about "entrepreneurship" I was thinking about the adventure of creating one’s own livelihood, not about the reality of venture capital.

But this is what I know to be true, and it goes beyond word choice:

When every day you spend as an entrepreneur is measured against some dream of growing beyond yourself when all you really want to do is be who you are, you’re poisoning yourself.

When you buy into that grand entrepreneurial mission and realize that it takes too much and still doesn’t feed your passions (or your family) but still push on anyway you are setting yourself up for failure.

Blah, Blah, Blah Personal Epiphany… Now What?

I am writing this post to explore this new self-knowledge. I am publishing it because I can’t seem to sit on this revelation because everything suddenly looks so different.

And I’m sharing it because I don't think I’m alone in this.

Right now, I am full of more questions than answers and more possibilities than anything else as I consider trading the “e” word for the “f” word.

No, Really, If Not Entrepreneurship, Then What?

If freelancing soothes the soul and fills the piggy bank (if not the corporate coffers), bring it on. I’m seeking “enough” right now. I’m seeking a way to bring in an income and exert my creativity.

Thing is, it may be time for me to stop trying so hard to tangle up the two. "Creative Entrepreneurship" sounds like such a delicious combination, but in practice, it's a dodgy mash up.

Freelancing. Finding a work-from-home J-O-B. Some other way to use my writing to pay the bills that I can’t even dare imagine yet... I’m staying open.

If I can take the money stress out of each day and if I can stop trying to leverage my creative output into something bigger than myself... that seems like how I need to nourish myself right now.

This Thursday afternoon I went straight for my emergency stash of kombucha. I knew I deserved the life enhancing nectar of that tea, something that resonated with hope and promise of self care - not nasty comfort calories.

Tell me I'm not alone in this.

I  want to know if you’ve been starving parts of yourself thanks to the seductive soul crush of entrepreneurship - and whether it has been pushing you to your own unhealthy coping mechanisms, like Nutella on a spoon.

Is it time for you to feed yourself and the people you love from a just-the-right-sized container? I want to hear your stories… I think many bellies are rumbling with this truth. Is yours?

Why Writing Means So Much to the Creative Entrepreneur

Why Writing Means So Much to creative entrepreneursWhat becomes possible when you own “creative”? Use it as a noun or an adjective. Use it as a title. Use it as a source of inspiration. Let it express your very reason for being.

What happens to your work, your process, and your own view of yourself when you dare to declare yourself a source of new stories and solutions?

Not that you asked, but I can tell you that claiming “creative” changed everything for me.

If You Want to Be a Writer, Write. If You Want to Be Creative, Create.

The secret to owning “creative” is in the act of creating, of course. (If only it were that simple!)

My husband nearly threw himself into the Atlantic the morning of our wedding because he found writing his vows so frustrating. (We blame fear of writing, not cold feet!) He’s the last guy to give writing advice. But it’s the non-writer who can put it most plainly: If you want to write, write!

He suggested that when I was a bored hourly employee and when I was stifled at my salaried management job.

Later, he might have said something about “just write” when I was forcing myself through various marketing and website design biz ventures, but I couldn’t hear him over the pounding of my scared, success-starved heart.

How “Just Do It” Really Works for Creatives

“Just do it” fits nicely on a tee shirt, but it’s not advice that will change your life until you’re ready to hear it. And do it.

When my second child arrived, I saw how ragged my dreams and my reality had become thanks to a four-year-long entrepreneurial experiment. I’d learned too much to force myself into momtrepreneurship times two kids without making fundamental changes to my approach.

That’s when I realized I had to source my entrepreneurship in something other than “I have to make money for my family and be available to them at the same time” (the fundamental drive of the mom entrepreneur).

I had to devote myself to work that satisfied more than my need to be the super mom who makes the dinner and pays for it too (even though both those things still had to happen).

And so, even as my mothering responsibilities increased, I traded the identity of mom entrepreneur for “creative entrepreneur.”

Suddenly the professional title I gave myself didn’t indicate that I was an over-scheduled, under-rested woman who negotiated contracts during diaper changes. What I called myself was inspiring and invigorating rather than draining.

How Will You Connect the “Entrepreneur” and “Creative” Dots?

Yes, my daughter's birth made me realize that I wanted to leave the mom entreprepreneurs’ playground and find a place in the creatives’ studio, but realizing and doing are two different things.

Finally, I was able to listen to that wise husband of mine.

I wanted to write, I always had. I was going to write my way into the creatives’ circle. Enough with thinking they'd never admit a fraud like me who had the hopes but not the word count to prove she wanted to be Diana Gabaldon someday.

But what about you?

Writing isn’t the only way to step into the “I create things” arena, but it’s the way that is most immediately useful to the entrepreneur.

We know that creating content is essential for marketing your business and that words and stories are still the most important way to do that.

By learning how to write your book - even if it’s not the sort of trade non-fiction aimed directly at your current clients - you’re gaining skills related to story architecture, idea sculpting, and platform building that are indispensable for the entrepreneur.

Enter Sovereign Reality, Enter Tracking Wonder

Last summer when I was juggling client work and trips to the beach with the kids (it was supposed to be a vacation), I somehow stole an hour for a webinar for anyone writing & publishing a book led by Jeffrey Davis of Tracking Wonder. I'd known Jeffrey as an esteemed colleague and as a dad from the preschool and knew I loved his work, but this experience was somehow different.

Marisa Goudy Jeffrey Davis Your Brave New Story Authors Intensive

I still felt like a fraud as I tuned in, there amongst the "real" creatives doing the work to become "real" authors. But over the next hour, I was filling my journal not only with Jeffrey's practical advice, but with scraps of plot and character names and ideas about the bigger themes that my novel needed to explore.

Sovereign Reality, the trilogy of novels, became real to me. And the entire concept of “sovereignty” began to take shape as the backbone of my professional work.

On that summer afternoon, I stepped on to the path. I had a work in progress. I was going to be an author. I had a new perspective on my dreams and what I had to offer to my business.

 I really was a creative entrepreneur.

Making the Commitment to Creativity, Story, and the Book that Matters

By October of 2014,  I found myself surrounded by a select tribe of Jeffrey’s dedicated writers at the Your Brave New Story Authors’ Intensive at Mohonk Mountain House. Immersed in my story and the importance of my compatriots’ books, I felt every bit as alive and fearless as I did in those blissful moments after childbirth - even though I was only at the very beginning of my fiction writing journey. 

That's the thing - writing a book is a journey and you need a tribe and you need a guide to support you. Jeffrey offers that all year long through various programs and consultancy options, but especially with the Your Captivating Book mentoring program.

If this really intrigues you, email me - act by April 30 and I can get you a special discount and maybe even a free initial consult with The Book Papa himself.

One final reason to think about writing that book that has been holed up inside you and to do it with Jeffrey's help: he's about more than just books and authors... He is distinguishing himself as a major voice for doing business as UNusual and speaks directly to the needs of the business artist, AKA, the creative entrepreneur.


The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Honoring Writing Deadlines - Even During Spring Break

The Sovereign Standard, Issue 9MG_newsletter400x86

Sometimes you have the luxury of staring at a blank page. An endless desert of time stretches before you but you can’t think of a single useful thing to say.

For the creative entrepreneur, the opposite is often true: so many ideas, so little time.

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Honoring writing deadlines even during spring break

Business owning parents in particular know this uncomfortable phenomenon during school breaks - those trying periods when life stops for the kids but everyone else in the professional world is still pushing full speed ahead.

I’m writing this on a coffee table on Cape Cod, relying on the patience of grandparents who’ll play one more game of Candy Land while mama just finishes another paragraph.

The Entrepreneur’s Survival Tools: Writing. Balance. Reciprocity. Self Care.

The Entrepreneur’s Survival Tools Writing. Balance. Reciprocity. Self Care.

It’s in the mix of these powerful, sustaining habits that I’ve found my way through this week of delightful disruption and business as unusual.

Writing, balance, reciprocity, and self care overlap and feed one another. I believe that if you honor each in their turn, you have a fighting chance of meeting the end of each day with a sense of “I am enough.”


Remember, your writing practice is meant to give back to you.

You’ll only sustain the practice and imbue your words with meaning if you’re motivated by something deeper than the dictates of the editorial calendar and the need to churn out one more blog post.

Writing is an opportunity for personal and professional growth. The practice will support you when the world seems to be falling apart due to personal crisis - or simply because the children are hanging about, using the dreaded “b” word. (Is “bored” a four letter word to you too?)

For me, writing is a refuge.

If  I didn’t have my writing deadlines, would I carve out any time for myself? Between the great processions to the beach (dressing for the wind takes more time than we actually spend by the water) and the endless task of keeping the toys off my folks’ stairs, it seems impossible even on "vacation."

Truth is, I almost always need “work” as an excuse to step away from my parenting responsibilities. I value self care, but often as an unattainable grail.

Self Care

The goal is to practice self care rather than just celebrate it. I'm still a work in progress in the implementation, but I am great at the research. That’s why I’ve been immersing myself in Koren Motekaitis’s series of podcasts with Jen Louden. I highly recommended a binge listen if you’ve got some long distance driving coming up!

For a quick dose of Jen’s medicine, watch this video on the self care paradox. I love how she describes the need to cultivate a relationship between “savoring and service.”

Because really, as important as the writing and all the other work commitments are, this is a special moment in your family’s life - or it could be. And taking care of work at the cost of your happiness as a mom means you're breaking a fundamental rule of self care.

We still reminisce about that April vacation in Washington DC in 1987. There’s no way my daughter will remember “the spring break mom sat at the computer” since that looks a lot like every other week of her life.

Whenever you feel most stressed and overextended, you’re likely giving more than you’re receiving.

Balance & Reciprocity

Many say that work-life balance is a myth. If your expectation is that you’ll give exactly the same amount of time and energy to business and family and that this will keep everyone happy, it is a myth.

But the goal isn’t making everything 50/50 all the time. The goal is to give and receive in equal measure across the entire continuum of your life.

Lany Sullivan and I explore what reciprocity can really mean in your life and work in a recent Reach Connec Uplift Women interview. So much more than “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” transactions, it is about relationships and self care and connecting based on mutual recognition of worth. 

During that conversation we also refer to “ayni,” the Andean concept of sacred reciprocity. Eleanora Amendolara describes ayni in depth so you can embody this profound sense of equilibrium - internally, in relationships, and with the earth itself.

Good Medicine: Writing, Self Care, Reciprocity... and Support

My stepmom kindly recommended I take off my coat and get some work done while she took the kids for a walk.

Clearly I was exuding deadline stress, and I risked infecting everyone around me.

How could I be surprised that I couldn't get clear on my writing and I felt choked with "bad mom" guilt? I wasn't asking for the dedicated creative time I needed and so I was spreading myself too thin as I tried (and failed) to dot it all. 

I felt like a fraud, offering advice from and “I’ve got this” pulpit when I was actually just being a terrible, distracted house guest with a couple of needy dependents.

Gratefully, I took that gift of thirty minutes free of mom responsibilities to check back in with my real message, my lived experience, my own imbalance.

I think I found a story worth telling and I drafted a new container to tell it. And then I discovered the space to walk to the beach with my girls - twice.

3 Ways to Honor Your Writing Commitments & Other Deadlines During Times of Delightful Disruption (The Practical Guide) 

  1. Take the pressure off by featuring a guest post on your blog 3 Ways to Honor Your Writing Commitments & Other Deadlines During Times of Delightful Disruption The Practical Guide I’m honored to feature Karen Brody’s Exhaustion: It’s Time to Tell a New Story this week.
  2. Go back to the well: rework and repurpose past posts Because I’ve written posts on reciprocity and self care recently, I worried about insulting you with rehashes of the same topics. Thing is, I didn’t remember exactly what I had written, so how could you? In writing this today I realized how writing, balance, reciprocity, and self care are my signature topics and these explorations are just the beginning. What can you learn about your own work by examining and amplifying material from your archives?
  3. Keep it simple: think in lists, not in prose This is “do as I say, not as I do” advice today. What was meant to be a quick list of how to keep writing even with kids underfoot ended up becoming much more personal and involved than I had expected. But, if you can enter your next disrupted work week with a perspective on how you’ll integrate writing, self care, balance, and reciprocity, maybe you’ll be able to give yourself permission to write something quick, dirty, and helpful to your readers. After all - if you’re busy with kids underfoot, isn’t there a good chance they’re in the same boat and are also short on reading time?

Bonus Tip for Honoring Your Writing Commitments

Call on your writing coach for extra support. As a writing coach, I’m not a ghost writer who’ll put together a post for you, but I can help you plan your editorial calendar so you’re not working during your vacation. I can also help you implement the ideas in this post so you can develop a writing practice that truly serves you and your business.

Learn more about my writing coaching services.