What is a Productive Life? (TPL 001)

Welcome to the first episode of The Productive Life podcast! In this episode, we're getting personal! I'm sharing my story, how I started my business, and what I've been up to the past year. We're also talking about what productivity really means and what you can expect from The Productive Life Podcast.Read the full blog post here: https://meganminns.com/blog/what-is-a-productive-life

Welcome to the first episode of The Productive Life podcast!

In this episode, we're getting personal…

I'm sharing my story, how I started my business, and what I've been up to the past year.

We're also talking about what productivity really means and what you can expect from The Productive Life Podcast.  

My story…

Before we jump into what leading a productive life means to me, and my intentions for this podcast, let me go ahead and take just a quick minute to introduce myself so that we can start out as friends, like I want us to.

My name is Megan Minns, and I live in Houston, Texas, with my husband Johnny, and our two dogs, Honey and Peaches.

I have two older sisters, and I moved a ton growing up.

I'm actually about to turn 29 in just a few weeks, and I have lived in 27 different houses or apartments.

I actually have a note on my phone that lists out everywhere I've lived because I often forget the order, and when it all happened.

A lot of it was when I was younger, but I also love change, and have moved a lot as an adult, as well. So, 27 different places to live in 29 years is quite a lot.

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I graduated from Texas A&M University, in 2012, with a degree in psychology, and started working in human resources and recruiting, right after college.

I even got my master's degree in organizational and human resource development in 2014, because I definitely thought I was going to climb the corporate ladder.

That was the vision I had for my life.

I never grew up thinking I was entrepreneurial, never had a lemonade stand, never tried to sell anything, really was totally complacent, and excited, to just climb the corporate ladder, and maybe one day, be the COO of a company.

Growing up and learning to design websites

Even though I may not have been entrepreneurial, let me tell you one thing I definitely was, a nerd, a geek, whatever word resonates with you, I was definitely one of those.

Because I learned to create websites back in elementary school, in the Neopets days.

Now I have no idea if anyone will even remember what Neopets is, it might actually still exist, now that I think about it, but it's not even worth really explaining.

Basically it was an online game, where you had Neopets, these little creatures that you got to do things with, and, for whatever reason, I started creating websites and learned from scratch.

I remember going to this website called Funky Chickens, to learn HTML, and I was so excited when I figured out how to make text scroll across the page.

This is how cool I was, you guys.

And so not only did I start making websites really young, I also started playing The Sims.

So, I am very much a computer nerd.

I started playing The Sims when it came out, and total confession, I actually still play The Sims.

I don't play it very often, but I actually own all of them, and all of the expansion packs, and follow along, and watch YouTube videos of other people playing them, because I am still a nerd and a geek, at heart.

Not only was I really into computers and technology growing up, I also loved to create binders, and organize, and clean.

But the key here, was that I didn't like to organize or clean anything of my own.

In fact, what I loved doing was going into my teenage sisters' bathroom, and taking everything out of their drawers, and cleaning the drawers, and then organizing all of their makeup.

It was just so much fun, and I don't know if they liked it, or annoyed them, or whatever. They were always busy with their social plans, because they were much older than me, but I never wanted to clean my own things, I just loved cleaning and organizing other people's things.

Which is really funny, because this will make more sense in my career path later.

College years and Organized Meg

Then in college, I was in a sorority. I ended up being in leadership within that sorority, and often took on the role of someone who initiated change.

I developed systems, I started new traditions, and again, I created a lot of binders.

This became a theme in my life.

I love school supplies, so I think any excuse to create a binder, I'm down for it.

Even now, behind me, I have five binders in my bookshelf, probably more than that in other places too.

I just love binders.

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And I actually created a website, in college, called Organized Meg, where you guessed it, I gave people printables, designed to go in binders.

So, there we go, I helped people get organized, and I definitely spent more time designing my own blog than I spent actually creating anything, but you know, again that's not too surprising with my love of web design.

But I was all about the organization, and the systems, and that, actually, played into my career.

Working in Human Resources

In human resources, I loved the organizational and process side of HR.

There were rules to keep, parties to plan, binders to make, and I loved just that interaction with people.

I loved working with the team members of the company.

I loved taking care of them, it was really a lot of fun.

But what I started to realize, even though I liked the organizational and people side of human resources, I just, ultimately, wasn't super happy being in a corporate situation.

I wanted to be more creative.

I wasn't totally sure, at this time, that I wanted to break out and do my own thing, but I knew that I needed a creative outlet in my life if I was gonna stay in human resources.

The beginning of Megan Minns Designs

So I started offering some design services. Again, I love web design. I had often been playing with web design throughout the years, on the back end.

And so I started offering some web design services, branding, logos, and even hand-writing services.

And I started seeing my work in the real world, which was incredible. I had clients who were featured in magazines, who would send me a magazine in the mail.

I have clients who have my logo, that I designed, with my handwriting, on their physical storefront.

I have friends who had wedding signs, that were my handwriting. I did the signs at their wedding, and in their wedding photos.

And that was an amazing experience.

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And I was doing all of this while still working full-time.

Again, not really thinking if I wanted it to be my full-time job or not. But ultimately, the subjectivity of design, and designing for someone else, became less fun.

I found that I really enjoyed being creative for myself, but when it came to designing for other people, and trying to please clients, it was a little trickier.

And if you're listening to this, and you're a designer, I feel like this is a common theme with a lot of designers, where there's always that tension between your vision and what you wanna see, versus the client's expectations.

And I just started to realize it wasn't the right realm for me.

So I ended 2014 (that's where we are in this story). I ended 2014 not really sure where to go next.

Pivoting to be a Virtual Assistant

I was talking to a mentor of mine, and started to realize that there was this whole world, or this whole role, called virtual assistance.

And it sounded perfect for me. I got to do all of the organizational systems things, that I loved doing in human resources, for other entrepreneurs, and loop in design.

I had a really nice offering as a virtual assistant, because not only was I very organized, I knew all of the tech systems, so I could help them update their website.

I knew all of the tech, because again, I'd been kind of building my own business behind all of this.

So I knew how to use MailChimp, and Squarespace, and all the different tech platforms that were popular in 2014.

And I knew how to do design, so I could create social media graphics for them.

I could schedule social media, handle customer service. Because of my HR training, and my leadership in college, I knew how to communicate well with people, in writing, and it just seemed like the perfect culmination of all of my talents and skills that had led up to that point.

So, at the beginning of 2015, I started officially offering virtual assistant services, and just engaged in different Facebook groups, answered questions that were out there, and very quickly got booked out.

Now keep in mind, I was side-hustling, so my definition of being booked out, here, is different than someone who is trying to do it full-time.

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Quitting my full-time job

By November of 2015, I was actually able to quit my full-time job in human resources, and be fully self-employed.

I had realized, that once I was doing VA work, that I loved it, and did want this to be full-time.

And I am recording this in the Spring of 2019, so since then, I have specialized in online business management, project management, systems, and productivity.

I started a YouTube channel, launched courses, and digital products of my own, offered services, and so much more.

Becoming a COO

It was actually one year ago, a little over one year ago, that one of my clients offered me an opportunity to be her full-time employee, as her Chief Operations Officer.

And it's funny, because if you remember earlier, when I was in HR, that was the dream that I was working towards, that I thought I wouldn't hit until much, much later in life.

And it felt ironic, in a beautiful way, that I was suddenly the COO now, and for a completely different type of company, all virtual team, and that's what I've been doing for the past year.

So my business, MeganMinns.com, became a side-hustle again.

And that's been kind of what I've been going through the past year, is finding that balance of having a full-time job with a business on the side, that I am still really passionate about.

My passions and interests

And I've always had a passion for productivity, organization, personal development, and I'm usually always looking to learn something new, take another course, read another book, tweak my morning routine, or implement some other new strategy to help me grow as a person.

I am definitely a life-long learner.

So all of that has led me to where I am now.

I am passionate about entrepreneurs building a business, and a life, that fulfills their dreams.

I get really passionate when I can sense that someone is settling for less than they deserve, or desire.

Trust me, if you talk to any of my friends, anytime they tell me they're not happy with their corporate job, I tend to go on a little bit of a passionate rant, about all the ideas I have for them, that they could do, besides a traditional job.

And I have to usually try to tone it down sometimes, but I'm definitely the person who comes up with a ton of ideas for someone, when they're in that situation, of how they could take their natural gifts, and strengths, and passions, and interests, and turn it into something that can make money online.

I do this to my husband all the time.

He is a spreadsheet whiz, and I never say the word whiz, but he is just amazing with spreadsheets, and does it for a living in his job in real estate and finance, and he just really knows how to do anything and everything in a spreadsheet, and makes really great spreadsheets to help manage our personal wealth, to manage his fitness, and his goals, nutritionally, and I'm sure there's other spreadsheets I don't even know about.

But, I'm always trying to tell him he could sell those spreadsheets for money online, or he could do voiceover work and sell those services online. Or wow, you're so great at guitar and song-writing, you could teach that online, but you know, sometimes people don't wanna do that, and they just wanna have a hobby.

So I have to learn to respect that.

But that's the role I play a lot, in my social circle, and with my siblings, when we talk about their dreams, or really anyone I get a chance to talk to.

I am the cheerleader who really wants to help them build the life they want, and usually, what business could help them achieve that bigger picture goal.

And I believe, wholeheartedly, that in today's day and age, there is no reason to be settling for less than what you want.

We live in a really unique time, where just even a generation before us, or gosh, more recent than that too, if you weren't happy with your job, you kinda were just expected to suck it up, because you had to have a job that paid money, and you didn't really have any non-traditional options to consider.

And now, we can just create a website and sell services, and create products and sell them, and there's just so many avenues now to really create a livelihood doing what you enjoy.

And maybe it won't be easy, or it's perfect, but it's definitely worth it.

So that is kind of some core foundational things I want you to know about me.

And now that you know about me, and we're best friends, let's talk about what productivity means, and how that plays into having a productive life.

What does productivity mean?

So when you think of productivity, you might think that it means getting more done, in less time, or being really efficient while you're working.

And those aren't wrong.

To me though, productivity, and what we're talking about, in this podcast, when we talk about productivity, it's not just getting things done, to get them done.

It's about getting the right things done.

It's about getting the important things done, and getting them done consistently.

Becoming that person that really, consistently, accomplishes what they want to, that does what they say they're gonna do, and feels like they follow through on those commitments.

Because getting a lot of things done is great, but if none of them are actually important, then you haven't moved the needle toward any of your goals or projects, and you're just doing that form of productivity that feels good, and feels easy, but really you're sitting in the same place.

And I can say all this from experience, because I have totally been there, and often still find myself stuck in that moment sometimes.

And so that's part of what I wanna be talking about on this podcast, too, is not that I have it perfectly figured out, but I wanna be sharing my struggles with you, and how I'm overcoming them, lessons I'm learning.

I want to bring other people into this space, who maybe have a different perspective, or a different experience, or do something completely different with their life, and get us all in a well-rounded place, where we can really strive towards accomplishing our goals, and getting the important things done, instead of getting stuck in just the wheel of getting the tiny, little things done.

So when it comes to leading a productive life, I am not talking about getting all the things done.

What does a productive life mean?

I'm not talking about working really hard.

I don't really like the whole philosophy that if you just work hard enough, you can get it done. You can achieve everything, if you just work hard enough.

That's not what we're doing here.

And it's not about being super efficient all of the time.

You really can't just go a hundred miles per hour all of the time.

It's just not the way our bodies work, especially if you're a woman.

What I am talking about, with a productive life, is leading a life where you accomplish your big goals, and all of your big goals.

Not just your business goals, not just your career goals, and really all of them.

Because if you're really honest with yourself, you have goals outside of just your job, and I want us to accomplish the big ones across all areas of your life.

A productive life, is a life where you nurture the things, and the relationships, that are most important to you.

It's a life where you go to bed at night feeling fulfilled, and satisfied.

And again, we're not perfect.

Every day won't feel like you were productive, and fulfilled, and satisfied, but we're striving there.

We're getting better.

More and more nights and days do feel this way.

We're making progress over time.

Leading a productive life is about designing a life, and a business, that work together, because I believe, that as entrepreneurs, your business, and your personal life, are connected.

So often I see business owners try to ignore this truth, and they just wanna go 100% all-in on their business, and they wanna neglect their health, they wanna neglect their relationships, they neglect their happiness, or they just try to pretend it's all okay, and they're not doing those things.

And really, they're struggling.

Their personal life, or their business, is struggling because they're trying to separate these two things that rely on each other.

Because as an entrepreneur, you are your business.

You've probably heard that before, but it's certainly true. And if I knew who originally phrased it that way, I would quote them.

But when things are hard in one area of life, like your business, it affects your personal life.

And when something is hard in your personal life, it affects your business life.

We are human. That is just the way we are built.

And the same things goes when things are good too.

If something's going really well in your personal life, your business can often feel a little easier. It can flow a little bit better.

And if your business is going really well, your personal life feels easier, and better.

And that may not always match up like that, but they certainly have an influence on one another.

And we need to acknowledge that influence, and take advantage of this truth, to have a more fulfilling life.

Whatever is important to you, we should start figuring out how to take care of it now, and not waiting to take care of it later.

And we're gonna have to make adjustments to do that. We're going to have to change our expectations, and we're gonna be talking about how to do those.

What expectations need to be changed.

How do you do this?

It's not about balance, because we can't really be well-balanced, but as my friend Beverly Bean says, it's about trade offs.

It's about figuring out what trade offs are worth each other, and making that decision very intentionally.

What you can expect from The Productive Life podcast

So, whether you're a full-time entrepreneur, a side-hustler, you're just starting your business, somewhere in-between, this podcast is for you…

Because my goal for this podcast, is to help you create, and intentionally create, a personal life and a business life, that can not only coexist, but thrive together.

Things won't always be perfect or smooth.

That is just not reality, that is not life.

We're not gonna be perfect. We're going to constantly be reminding ourselves we don't need to be perfect.

But by leading a productive life, a life where you look at your whole life cohesively, you can lead a fulfilling life.

I believe you can have a business without sacrificing your personal life.

Let me say that again:

I believe that you can have a business without sacrificing your personal life.

I believe that you can build a life that supports all of your dreams.

And I wanna really dial this in, because if this doesn't resonate with you, then this may not be the podcast for you.

I am not talking to the people who don't want a personal life.

I did a survey, recently, to my email list, and my Instagram community, to understand a little bit more about what everyone was working towards, and I asked, "What do you struggle with the most in your personal life?"

And, most people said that they are struggling with not even having one, and that they want one.

Which I totally get.

I have been there.

And then, a good amount of people also said that they don't have a personal life, but they're okay with it.

And, no judgment. Everyone here should live the life they want to. So I'm not judging anyone.

I just wanna be super clear upfront, that I am talking to the people who do want a personal life, because I'm not talking to the people who just want to work 24/7, and not have anything else going on.

Again, there's nothing wrong with that. I want you to do that. But I am definitely gonna be talking a lot about how to have a personal life, and being productive in business is for the purpose of having a life outside of business.

And so, that's the lens that we're gonna be talking through a lot of things.

We're also gonna be talking about a lot of different ways to lead a productive life.

So we're gonna talk about productivity and time management, so that you can get the important work done on a daily basis.

We're gonna talk about organization so that you can have a home, an office, a digital space, that brings calm to your day.

We're gonna talk about wellness, and self-care, so that you can learn how to take care of yourself, your mind, and your body, while building your business.

We'll talk about personal development, so that you can keep learning and growing.

And we'll talk about running a business. So tips, tricks, strategies, the ups and downs, lessons I've learned, and lessons other people have learned.

Sometimes we'll be talking, just the two of us, you and me, and other times, I'll bring on a friend of mine, or another expert, who can help teach both of us, how we can lead a more fulfilled and productive life.

And this is just the beginning.

I am always taking your questions, and your requests, as well. So, if you want to submit a question, or request a guest to join me on the podcast, please do that!

And I can't wait to be on this journey with you, and leading a productive life together.

We are definitely on this journey together. I don't have a perfect life.

I am still learning, and growing, and striving for this goal as well.

So I can't wait to be on this journey with you, and share the whole experience with you.

And since this is the first episode, I'm so thankful that you listened, that you joined, and it would really mean so much to me, since we're just getting started, if you could just take a minute to go ahead and subscribe to this podcast, and leave a rating and a review on iTunes, or wherever you're listening.

Because that way, we can start to spread this message to other people!

And I hope you are excited to lead a productive life with me, and I will see you on the next episode.

Thank you for listening!

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Megan Minns

Business Strategist for Side Hustlers