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Last Updated on September 14, 2022
Start feeling less overwhelmed, busy, sick, or tired–all while creating more time, ease, and energy to pursue what matters most to you–when you learn how to become a minimalist in your business and in your life.
your business… and your life?
Let’s be real: our modern, hectic lifestyles are overwhelming, exhausting, and downright unhealthy.
We are often on a quest for more; we give in to pressure every day to work more, own more, and do more. But why? To what end?
Does having more Instagram followers really make you feel fulfilled and joyful? Do you really need a huge business, strict deadlines, and other external measures of supposed worthiness to make you feel like you’re deserving of success and happiness?
When you push so hard, it inevitably leads to burnout. You simply can’t produce great work when you’re burned out, nor can you take care of yourself and be truly present to what matters most like your relationships, health, and overall well-being.
The truth is, if you’re always keeping score of how you’re doing based on anything outside of yourself (like if you checked enough items off of your to-do list that day), then it’s time to question your motives for WHY you’re doing what you’re doing.
When you embrace more of a minimalist approach to your life and business, you’ll counterintuitively discover that you can create MORE with less–all while being happier and more free!
When you put your body and health first and your business second, you’ll be shocked at how much easier it becomes to successfully run your business while feeling more fulfilled in your daily life. After all, the beauty of being an entrepreneur is how you can create a business that works FOR you–not against you.
If you’re currently in the hustlin’ hamster wheel trap of feeling like you need to do everything under the sun in order to one day reach your elusive goal of being ‘successful’ and happy, it’s time to start imagining what it would feel like to breathe a little easier and feel lighter moving through your day, your home, and your life.
This episode is for you if you feel like you’re someone who never has enough, does enough, or that you never ARE enough. (Hint: none of that is true!)
My guest today is Courtney Carver, a well-known simplicity and minimalist expert. Courtney is the author of Soulful Simplicity and the blog Be More With Less. Courtney moved from a devastating multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 2006 to feeling the best she’s felt in decades, from being deep in debt and clutter to living debt and clutter-free.
She realized after years of decluttering and letting go that happiness isn’t waiting for us, it’s within us. Courtney also writes about dressing with less in her book Project 333, The Minimalist Fashion Challenge That Proves Less Really is So Much More. Some of her concepts have truly changed my life, and I can’t wait to share her wisdom with you today!
Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!
If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.
Also, please leave an honest review for The Success with Soul Podcast on Apple Podcasts so we can improve and better serve you in the future. Plus, you could be featured on a future episode during our listener spotlights. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.
And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts to get automatic updates. My goal for this podcast is to inspire those who seek flexibility and freedom in their lives by making something happen with holistic, soulful, step-by-step strategies from me and other experts.
Kate Kordsmeier 0:00
urWell, hey there, it's Kate Kordsmeier host of the Success with Soul podcast and this is episode 17. And oh man, is it a good one? I just finished recording the interview with Courtney Carver. And it's got to be one of my favorites. She is full of so much wisdom. I can't wait to have you guys listen to the episode. If you're not familiar, Courtney is the woman behind the blog be more with less calm, and she also has a new book project 333 which was inspired by her minimalist fashion challenge that proves that les really is so much more. She has been such a light and source of just inspiration and sanity over the last five years for me when I first found her blog, we get into all of the nitty gritty in the episode, so I'm not going to spoil anything yet. But I just want to say that this episode is For you, if you are somebody who feels like you never have enough, you never are enough, you never do enough. We talk a lot about this enough and how we should stop pushing and forcing things because we all know where this leads pent burnout. And then what you should do instead, like, come back, check in with your body and pay attention to the physical manifestations that it's giving you keep asking yourself, do you really do you really need to do that? Do you really need that? Is this really important? What is the worst that could happen if you didn't do this? So Courtney now is in a place where she no longer measures herself based on what she does in a day she has stopped keeping score. She has this amazing minimalist perspective that is just full of soulful simplicity. And I cannot wait for her to share all of this wisdom with you. So without further ado, let's get into it. You're listening to the Success with Soul podcast with Kate Kordsmeier x journalists turned CEO of a multi six figure blog in online business. But it wasn't that long ago that Kate was a struggling entrepreneur who lacked confidence, clarity and let's be honest money. But all those failures, experiments and lessons learned helped Kate create a thriving business that impacts thousands and brings freedom, flexibility and fulfillment to her life. If you're ready to do the same and make something happen with holistic, soulful, step by step strategies from Kaden, other experts, you're in the right place. here's your host, writer, educator, Mom, recovering perfectionist, bookworm and sushi connoisseur Kate Kordsmeier. Before we jump into today's episode, I'd love to share another listener spotlight with y'all. This one comes from Stacy Karen who says Listening to Kate is like listening to a good friend. She tells you the truth about herself and her business and is incredibly generous with tips and actionable suggestions. I love the first episode can't wait to hear more. This show is like having a business buddy and butt kicking mentor all in one. Wow. Thank you so much, Stacy. Karen. The fact that you took the time to leave your honest feedback means the world to me. In fact, if you're listening now please send me a DM on Instagram at Kate Kordsmeier. As I've got a special surprise gift I'd like to share with you as a thank you. And if you'd like to be featured in a future listener spotlight, head on over to iTunes Apple podcasts to leave a review. Your reviews are super helpful and motivating to me personally. But beyond that the reviews help with rankings, which helps others find the show and allows me to keep providing you with free content every single week. I hope to feature you on a listener spotlight soon
Courtney, what an honor it is to have you on the show today. Thank you so much. Okay.
Courtney Carver 4:08
Kate Kordsmeier 4:11
Yeah, I am so excited. I have been following your work for many, many years. And you're probably I'm sure you hear this a lot. But you're one of those people that you have had such a profound influence on my life. And you probably don't even know it, because we don't really know each other that well. And so I just want to say thank you for what you've put out into the world because it has been just insanely helpful to me.
Courtney Carver 4:39
That means a lot. Thank you.
Kate Kordsmeier 4:41
Yeah, I mean it so. Okay, well, let's introduce everybody to you. I'd love to start just kind of with your story. We pulled this quote from your website that I just loved so much, and so it says I've worked too hard, spent too much and slept too little. I've moved from a devastating Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis into 2006 to feeling the best I felt in decades from being deep in debt and clutter to living debt and clutter free. And that is so powerful. So I would love to know more about how did you get here and where did you start?
Courtney Carver 5:14
Yeah, that really is the story of my life lately. Except it didn't happen in one paragraph. It happened over more than a decade. And sometimes it seems like it happened overnight. I'm sure for people who are listening or maybe get onto my blog. It seems like it really happened fast, but it was a slow and steady process of, you know, really building my life in a way that I thought was the normal way to build a life which was, be deep in debt, do work. I didn't really love to pay the bills, treat myself because I thought I deserved nice things for working so hard at a job that I didn't really enjoy. Never recognizing it. That is was kind of a vicious circle, like just I was just fueling the very thing that I didn't want to fuel which was more debt, which required more work, earning more money, and always feeling really kind of unsatisfied and not knowing why. And eventually, you know, even pushing myself harder and harder and harder, sleeping less, you know, doing all the things that I thought I was supposed to do, only to result in total burnout and exhaustion and illness. So when I was diagnosed with MS in 2006, it was really my opportunity to put my foot on the brake and pull back and start to question all of those thoughts that I had about what I was supposed to do, and what I really needed to do to live well with MS and beyond.
Kate Kordsmeier 6:53
So, did you change your career first, or what was kind of the first change that you made?
Courtney Carver 7:00
Yeah, so the career change really didn't come for many years after the diagnosis. At first it was diet, like really changing what I was eating, thinking about food that because my whole goal was not to simplify my life. I didn't know what minimalism was, I didn't really understand the bigger picture of simplicity. All I wanted to do was reduce stress because I had read so much about the impact of stress on MS and other autoimmune conditions and really, on all of us anytime, and my life was stressful, and I think most lives are stressful. And some of that stress comes from the outside. We have no control over it. A lot of it comes from what we put on our lives, bringing our lives letting our minds and I wanted to look at that stuff, the stuff I had some control over. So the food, inflammation, stress inside the body, you know, what could I eliminate that might eliminate Have that inflammation. And this is not I'm not a doctor or a scientist or a nutritionist. So this was all based on just experimenting and what felt best in my body. And for me, that meant eliminating animal meat and most animal products. And then over the years, I've kind of changed that app where I'm now certainly focused on mostly fruits and vegetables. I do eat some seafood now, way less in terms of processed foods, because, I mean, 14 years ago, for me, it was okay, get rid of the meat. But I wasn't really thinking about all the processed food and pastas and things like that, that I was eating. I still eat some of that. There's nothing aside from me that I'm like, 100% No, I'm not going to eat that. But for the most part, I gravitate towards food that I know is going to make me feel good.
Kate Kordsmeier 8:53
Yeah, I think that's such an important distinction that you make to that. It's so individual and that it takes Some testing to figure out what are the things that make you feel good and you feel bad? You feel satisfied versus deprived, and that it's going to be different for everybody. There's no one size fits all.
Courtney Carver 9:13
Yeah, there isn't. And I don't even think there's a one size fits all for us as we change and as our bodies change, our needs change and what we so I think of as, like a kind of a moving target, and you have to be willing to adjust. I mean, 10 years ago, I could eat an amazing meal, like really spicy Indian food before I went to bed, and sleep great. If I did that today, I would be up all night long with heartburn or so just that's just like a simple example of how powerful food is in our body and how our bodies are always changing. So I try to look at it from a place of what makes me feel good, and not where I was even before this diagnosis. Which is what's gonna make me the smallest? When I What can I eat so that I lose a lot of weight? Or like I just couldn't care less about any of that anymore because I realized what a ridiculous path that was to be on for so many years. And when I started eating for health instead of weight loss, it it just really resonated with me and I dropped so much stress around that. Although it took me another many, many years in fact, until this year, last time that I find this time last year that I stopped weighing myself because even though I was eating for health, I was still weighing myself every day, or every week because I thought, isn't that what you're supposed to do to be healthy? Right and instead what I was doing is weighing myself and then being mad at myself if I gained two pounds or really happy I lost two pounds. What has anybody
Kate Kordsmeier 10:53
ever felt better after weighing themselves?
Courtney Carver 10:58
doing that, like what what was it In my head that I thought that had to happen.
Kate Kordsmeier 11:03
Yeah, I love that so much. I'm so glad that you stopped. I'm pregnant right now. So some of it is, well, I say it's unavoidable. It isn't. I could say, Don't tell me, I don't need to know. Just let me know if there's a problem, you know, to my doctors and not weigh myself, but I have gotten back into the habit of weighing myself being pregnant. And yeah, I'm, I'm hoping that when I have the baby, and then I am like, I don't want to go when after I had my first child, I was had a lot of body image issues and thoughts around my worth based on my way and what I looked like and you know, it's the culture we live in that that's what women are told where our value lies. So it's not surprising, but I'm like, I'm not going down that path. Again, that did not serve me at all, getting rid of my scale, gonna focus on some different things that actually matter. And I love that you You're doing the same.
Courtney Carver 12:01
I can't. I'll be interested to hear what you think. Because the first month, there were some times where I was like, I wonder what's happening like, Am I yeah, I was still thinking about it. And I never think about it anymore. Like, if, if I should be weighing myself or if I've gained any weight, or if I've lost any weight, like, don't care.
Kate Kordsmeier 12:18
Yeah, who cares? And there's so many other you know, even not that this is necessarily healthier. But there's other ways to know, like you said, Oh, I wonder what's happening. It's like, well, do your clothes still fit? You know, how do you feel? What do you think you look like and that kind of thing where it's like, you don't need an actual number on the scale, which, I mean, for me, like My weight could vary by five pounds in the same day.
Courtney Carver 12:43
I think most people on us yeah.
Kate Kordsmeier 12:46
So why are we going to beat ourselves up over Oh, I'm two pounds heavier. It's like, well, then when? After dinner or you know, so yeah, I love that. Okay, so you started with the food and then I know you you're very well known for your minimalist fashion challenge and kind of this capsule wardrobe type philosophy when did that come into play.
Courtney Carver 13:10
So just a quick order of events, it went food and then money. So we were telling 10s of thousands of dollars in debt that was super stressful. While we were working on paying down our debt, we started focusing on the clutter and the stuff in our home that we didn't use or enjoy or even need at all. And because we weren't shopping and spending extra money, that was a great time to be able to make some real progress, you know, nothing was coming in so we could really move some stuff out and make some space. And then in 2010, is when I started minimalist fashion challenge Project 333. And I also started my blog that year, so I was still working on the debt and the clutter and a lot of other changes. When I started I wasn't I hadn't figured it all out. Still haven't figured it all out, I don't think that day will ever come there always seems to be something new to work on and be curious about. But it was 2010 that I started, you know, really sharing my story online, and then another year and about a year and a half that I left my job and started doing this work full time.
Kate Kordsmeier 14:22
Okay. And when you left your job, what was that transition? Like? Did you leave before this business was making enough money? or How did you get into a place What was that like?
Courtney Carver 14:32
So I had an exit strategy for leaving my job. And for me that looks like like I wanted to be debt free completely before I left my job. And I wanted to have a certain amount of savings. I think it was like two or three months of income. Aside from emergency fund, or any family savings, I wanted to have this set aside so that if My new work didn't produce any income for the first couple of months, I didn't feel desperate to do work that I didn't want to do work with people I didn't want to work with, or really make big compromises. You know, I wanted this to be something where I could go into this new line of work feeling really good about the projects that I was working on.
Kate Kordsmeier 15:20
Yeah, which was the whole point of leaving your previous job, I could
Courtney Carver 15:25
feel that way in that career for a long time. Right, not being happy with it, but certainly generating income. And so it was, I needed to have some things in place before I left, I didn't want to leave without a little bit of a net. And then I also really considered that if things didn't work out, of course, I would go and get another job. And luckily, things did work out and I haven't had to get another job. And now it's been, I mean, 10 years, and I don't know if anybody would want me to work for them. Now. I don't know if I'd be a good employee. I would be a horrible.
Kate Kordsmeier 16:02
Yeah, I always like once you start working for yourself and working from home and you have the freedom flexibility, like, I could never go back. And I don't think anybody would want me to
Courtney Carver 16:13
work. I'm just paid in so many different ways. Like whenever I thought about my work before it was I get paid with a paycheck. And now I get paid in, you know, yes, of course, money, but also in time and flexibility, in connection in being able to do work that really supports my health and my relationships. It's something that I never thought I could have. I never considered it until well, until I did. But for many, many years, I thought I would always be doing things differently.
Kate Kordsmeier 16:49
Yeah, that's so beautiful. I love the idea of being paid in different ways and then just money. But to bring it back to money for a minute. I'm curious. So how did you monetize this new business of yours. Was it all through the blog? or What was your business model?
Courtney Carver 17:05
Yeah, at first, it was a combination of working with clients helping them to because my previous career was in marketing advertising. And so it was helping people shift from traditional media to new media, meaning, you know, magazines, newspapers, TV, to social media, and communicating and connecting online. And it was just that's something we're doing in your previous job. In my previous job, it was more of the traditional media. Okay, gotcha. And so in the very beginning of doing my online work before I had grown community, it was working one on one with people. And then also, I started doing some like very inexpensive ebooks and courses. And then it kind of grew from there.
Kate Kordsmeier 18:03
Okay, gotcha. And then we started talking about this and I don't think we ever actually finished getting to it you were going through sort of the order of events so and when did the minimalist fashion challenge and Project 333 come about?
Courtney Carver 18:16
So that started in the idea started in the summer of 2010. Shortly after I'd started the blog, and I was, had been simplifying my life for years, but didn't really work on my closet because I was still shopping for things like I thought I needed new clothes for events for just for life, to be honest, like, I didn't think that there was a reason to not shop for new clothes, even though I was reducing stuff and other areas of my life. My closet, not as much and the simpler life got outside of my closet, the more glaringly obvious it was that there was a problem inside my closet. So I knew that like just trying to do it slowly, like I had done everything else wasn't going to work. And I decided just to make some rules and create a challenge. And for three months, dress with only 33 items or less, including clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories. And no shopping for those three months. I didn't have I didn't count things like there's good news guys. I didn't count things like underwear, sleepwear, loungewear or workout clothes, as long as my workout clothes were working out. So if I was only just wearing them day to day but not going to yoga or to work out, then I counted them and like today, so 10 years ago athleisure wear wasn't what it is today. They have more athleisure wear in my actual 33 items and they go to yoga as well. I love the
Kate Kordsmeier 19:52
idea that you're working. You're working out clothes actually needing to work out. Yeah.
Courtney Carver 19:58
Yeah, that's great. So So what happened? You did this experiment. And so I did the experiment. And I thought, okay, I'll do this for three months, and then I'll see what's next. But what happened was surprisingly, people really gravitated towards the challenge. And they started blogging about it and sharing on social media. And within that very first three months, I got a email from a reporter at the Associated Press wanting to interview me about the challenge. And I was like, this cannot be real, like, What are they talking about? Is it a slow new debt news day, what's going on? But we ended up talking about it. And then the story hit, like just newspapers and websites and media all across the country and beyond. And it just continued to grow and grow and grow. And now I mean, it's been 10 years almost, I'm still doing the challenge myself every three months. And every three months, you start over Pick through 33 new items, or I just shift into the next season. So a lot of the items stay the same, but a few change for seasonal things I've ever been to four seasons state. So in the winter, I've got gloves, the hat, two coats in the summer, I don't need that. So I have more room for an extra pair of shoes. And yeah, it just makes my life simpler to do it that way I shop way less. I don't have to make a zillion decisions about what I'm going to wear. And what's so interesting is that most people even with a big wardrobe find that they're always wearing the same few things anyway, but they still have to like see all that extra stuff every day and think about their bad purchase decisions. The clothes that don't fit them clothes with tags still hanging. Like that makes you feel a little bad every day and you don't even know I think it's normal. So it was really great for me to be able to Clear all that out. And when I go to get dressed, it's not an ordeal anymore.
Kate Kordsmeier 22:06
Right? And Okay, a couple questions on this one is I love this concept I have not fully embraced it myself, admittedly, but I've been slowly working my way towards it and doing things more like Rent the Runway instead of buying new stuff so that I think there is something for me at least like I like the excitement of a new piece as long as I wear it, but then it's nice like, okay, I can wear it a couple times and then back it goes. I don't know if that actually fits in with the your philosophy here, but I will say that when I got pregnant the first time, you know, I was forced to basically do a capsule wardrobe because I could only wear maternity clothes for a lot of it. And I just remember thinking especially in my first pregnancy, like this is so nice. I wear the same 10 shirts, basically. Every other week, and I just don't have to think about it, and I like everything and everything fits and it's comfortable and yeah, it made me really want to do it post post pregnancy but then of course, I don't know what happened. away and I went back to my old days.
Courtney Carver 23:20
Kate Kordsmeier 23:21
Yes, yeah, maybe after this one. I’ve got a secret to share with you about something that nearly tanked my business last year. Here’s the story: after I figured out the formula on how to create a profitable blog and business doing what I loved, I knew I wanted to teach others how to do the same in what is now my course, the Six-Figure Blog Academy. After all, not only do I love teaching and helping people, but I knew it’d be a lucrative way to monetize my blog beyond ads, sponsors, and affiliate marketing. After my first soft launch was successful and brought in over $17,000, I naively went on a few months later to officially launch to my list... and here’s the kicker: once I accounted for Facebook ad spend, I actually LOST money and was in the red for the first time in my life. GULP! That was a tough pill to swallow and honestly, pretty terrifying. At first I didn’t know what I did wrong. It wasn’t until I learned how to launch from the queen of digital courses herself, Amy Porterfield, that I realized it takes a ton of intentional planning to launch the right way, and I’m so glad I took her advice. In my second official launch, I increased my revenue by 7.5 times and had my first ever six-figure launch! If you are thinking about launching a course someday, do yourself a favor and save some major headaches and expensive trial and errors by taking Amy’s free quiz to discover your personal path to creating a profitable digital course at https://successwithsoul.co/coursequiz. You might as well make sure that EVERY action step along the way is your next best move so you don’t waste valuable time and resources. In less than 2 minutes, you’ll figure out action by action what steps YOU should take based on YOUR goals, audience, and business level. Again, that’s https://successwithsoul.co/coursequiz
Okay, so from the from a business perspective, the fashion challenge How did you originally set it up? Like Was it something that people opted in for? Was it an email challenge or you just post a blog?
Courtney Carver 24:17
So when I started it, I didn't ever really think of it as part of the business or even the potential. I just thought it was going to be a fun experiment. And so no, you don't have to sign up. You still don't you can go online and Google Project 333, or go to be more with less calm and search it and find everything you need to know to do the challenge. I did end up creating a small course around it. And since then, have now written a book and done a larger scale video course all about doing the challenge. And other things to consider now that I've learned so much about what's really important when you are doing the challenge and what lessons to watch For and what kind of potential, I guess, traps to watch out for, though it's really evolved really slowly, but in a really fun way, because it's been so organic and resonates with so many people because they can see the benefits immediately. They know it's only temporary so that they don't have to think, you know, this is this big, huge permanent change. And it's really helped me in other areas of my life framing things with more curiosity. And like, what would Wouldn't it be crazy if I tried ABC, just to see what would happen? And it takes the pressure off, and it allows me to be more open to new things and new ideas.
Kate Kordsmeier 25:43
Yeah, that is so cool. So do you feel like the especially with the news interest in this and that it just took off? so well? do you attribute a lot of this success in your business to this challenge? Or was it more just something Going alongside what you were already doing?
Courtney Carver 26:02
Well, I do definitely attribute a lot of the success of my business to the challenge only because it's how a lot of people find my website. So if they search for Project 333, or a fashion challenge or cleaning out your closet, chances are you're going to find your way to my site, and then decide if you want to go deeper, because it's a small part of what I talk about, and what has been meaningful in my life and what I enjoy sharing. But it is often the starting point for people. So I'm grateful for that. And I didn't recognize that for a long time. In fact, maybe five years ago, I was going to shut I did I had a site called Project 333 calm I shut it down and shut down the project 333 Facebook page and decided it was just time to move on. And good friend of mine who we used to work together A long time ago, and now, you know, we brainstorm on our businesses today. And she said to me when I told her what I was doing and was kind of not really griping about it, but just thinking, I'm all done with this, I'm going to still do it as a challenge for myself. But I'm not going to talk about it much anymore. And she said, You have to stop complaining about this. This is how people find you. This is their first step into simplicity in many ways, and then they change their entire lives like what are you doing stop and, and I it just clicked for me when we had that conversation. And so now even though I have haven't reopened those sites, I everything is on my one website. I think about that conversation a lot and really try to encourage people to think about it and give it a try because it has opened so many doors for people in terms of better health, better relationships. It's not about you know that they've created these amazing capsule wardrobes even though some people have. That's not really the the primary goal. Yeah.
Kate Kordsmeier 28:07
Yeah, I think that is so important. You must have great SEO on your site that you know, and people like that, that they're finding you. And I'm curious what you do then too. So if I let's just say I google capsule wardrobe, or even something as specific as Project 333, then what do you do for those people to then get them to take the next step with you? Do you have email opt ins or a nurture series or what comes next for them?
Courtney Carver 28:36
So it took me a long time to even think that any of those things were necessary. And even today, like if you asked me what was going on in Google Analytics, I would have no idea. But I really I sometimes I'll think kind of in my old frame of thinking, like you're really supposed to be monitoring these things and doing these things and doing these things. And then I think, but When I get all wrapped up in them, then I'm not doing what I really love and enjoy in my job. And even when I'm looking at them and noticing them, I'm not doing anything as a result, like, just because this thing is down or this thing is up. Usually it has nothing to do with me and one, and I'll come back to your question, but one really good example is Facebook, the over the past probably month, month and a half. I haven't spent a lot of time on my Facebook page. There's a lot going on right now. Like I don't have the capacity to keep doing the things I was doing a month ago. Right now. There's other things I have to focus on. Not in my business, even just in my day to day life. And I just kind of let it slide. And the other day, I thought, Oh my gosh, my Facebook Insights, all the stats must just be tanked right now. Oh, well. I'm going to figure it out and I go to the insight page. Everything was up and I haven't done anything. To make that happen, so I kind of really let go of the fact that I need to really tap into all those analytics and things like that. However, when I started my blog, I used an email service called Feedburner. I don't know if you'll remember that. But it's Google like, not supported, not great email program. So I really had no idea what was going on. And I think about five years and I moved to ConvertKit for email, so I have a better sense of what's resonating with people what people are opening. And with that I started doing some email opt ins. So for Project 333, for instance, there is a guide to help you create your capsule wardrobe, a free guide. And then once you opt in, there's a short welcome sequence that allows you to then at the end of that decide, like what path you want to go down. Do you want to focus on health Do you want to focus on decluttering for On wardrobe. And then there's short sequences for those things.
Kate Kordsmeier 31:05
And are people just clicking a link that says, Yeah, I want to focus on health now. And then they get added to the health sequence.
Courtney Carver 31:14
Right? Correct. Okay, great.
Kate Kordsmeier 31:16
Yeah, that mean I think that's super smart to nurture people in a way that they want to be nurtured. So you're asking them where do you want to go from here and not just sending them health stuff where they may be like, that's, I'm not interested in that. I'm gonna just unsubscribe now.
Courtney Carver 31:34
Yeah, and look, they're there. I'm still sending them a weekly everyone who signs up a weekly newsletter, and I might write about about health in that newsletter. And people might decide to unsubscribe at that point. But I've come to understand that I don't have a lot of control over that either. And that people should come and go as they as they will like, I would rather They unsubscribe, then just not open anything ever or not find any value in what I'm doing. Because I mean, it would be really weird if my message resonated with the whole world. Right?
Kate Kordsmeier 32:12
Well, and that's such a good point to make, too. I mean, I've even I have a friend who she and I were collaborating on something. We use Active Campaign for our emails, and I went into to see something in her account, and it showed her as unsubscribed. And sometimes we have people get autumn, you know, automatically on subscribers and Aaron because I knew her, like no worries if you did unsubscribe, but I just want to confirm, and she was like, Oh, yeah, you know what I did, because I was going through a stage in my life where my inbox was insane. And I just unsubscribe from everything. And she's like, I'll come back, you know, eventually, and I'll do those things. But it was such a good reminder that it's rarely about you, that is usually about what's happening in their life and where they're at in in their journey.
Courtney Carver 32:57
And even when it's about you, it's not about you Because even if they're thinking something about you that makes them unsubscribe, or about your work, it's how it's how they're thinking about it from their point of view. So how, how it affects their experience and through the lens of their experience that they are making those decisions and Project 333 actually really shined a light on that for me that once I started dressing with 33 items or less, while I was working full time, nobody noticed. And so all of that time that I thought people were thinking about me they weren't. So that was part one. And part two was, you know, any kind of email feedback I get positive or negative. I realize it's really not about me, it's about them and what they're thinking about themselves. And that's how we all interact with each other. I mean, we we can genuinely care about each other and have feelings about each other, but my feelings about you can only be really about Me.
Kate Kordsmeier 34:00
Yeah, it's all perspective. And that's just reminded me of, I'm a big fan of Brooke Castillo's Life Coach School and her podcast and she talks about, like, you, you can't hurt somebody else's feelings or somebody else can't hurt your feelings, you know, they can say something and your reaction to it is whether or not you allow, you know that feeling to become true for you, but it's not about them. It's all about your perception and your own reality of it. So I love that.
Courtney Carver 34:35
And the same goes with happiness. Like we can't make other people happy either. They have to do that for themselves. And once you really connect with that, like for a minute, it feels like you really have no control. But then the next minute, I think, Wow, like, so I can choose how I like I can choose to be happy, even when someone's mad at me or both. Regardless, like I do have that agency,
Kate Kordsmeier 35:03
right? It's definitely something that I think takes a lot of practice and it's not just like, Oh, I'm just not gonna let that bother me and and then it just doesn't magically but it is very empowering. I think when we realize that it is a choice on our part and that you can choose to be happy or not. And yeah, that's really powerful. So okay, let's see, I like that you call your business to your so your be more with less blog, which is one of my favorite reads. You call it your soul centered business, which obviously resonates with me very much as podcasts is Success with Soul and I really try to tap into that. So what does a soul centered business mean to you?
Courtney Carver 35:49
Well, I mean, I think a lot of our conversation kind of focused on that and that I am I have a strong why behind why I do what I do. I'm not just doing it for a paycheck. And I'm really connected with what will work best based on, you know, tapping into myself. So if I get an opportunity, or I'm trying to make a decision, it's not about the numbers. It's about is this the right thing? And if my heart reacts in a negative way, then it's a no. And if it's in a positive way, it's a yes. And after lots and lots of practice, I can get to that place pretty quickly that yes or no, but I also watch for the signs. So if I if it's a no, I like I can feel it in my body, like my hands will make my clench up. I might feel like I can't breathe as well. I might make a face like there's always this physical manifestation of what I'm feeling. And now that I'm paying attention To that, I know. So I really watch for that, and I don't have a lot of trouble making big decisions as a result. So they are soul centered decisions for my business. And it's again, something that I really enjoy doing and something that fuels you know, not only my community but fuels me and my life instead of, you know, just working for a living like I love getting to work. Right.
Kate Kordsmeier 37:32
I that's such an important thing to note too. I've been reading a lot more about embodiment and how we can really tap in more to I think, as so I'm an I don't know if you're familiar with Myers Briggs, but I'm an INTJ I have a hard time sometimes like, what am I feeling right now when people ask me I, I don't know. I'm not very good at identifying my own feelings and emotions. And, you know, if you're meditating and somebody says, Where do you feel it in your body. I have a hard time
this is it. But I've been reading more about this and practicing this more and I love that, that that physical manifestation and in body you know, checking in with your body is one way that you're able to figure out. Should I do this or not in my business? That's really powerful. Yeah, and I don't know what my Myers Briggs is. Is it my Myers Briggs? Right? Yeah. Yeah, no, I've never done it, but I just have never done it. Oh, you should. There's a free 116 personalities calm and you can just take the test in like 10 minutes. It'll tell you But yeah, I have gotten much more into I was very into the enneagram for a while, which I still am, but then I've gotten more into Myers Briggs lately, too. And I just I really love you know, digging into like understanding myself and then other people too. I have like all my friends and family take them so I can go. Oh, okay. So you're doing this Because you're coming from this place, and it makes me I think a much more empathetic person instead of getting like angry at people for acting a certain way. Oh, okay. Let me take a step back. I see this is why you're doing this.
Courtney Carver 39:13
The enneagram helped me with that as well.
Kate Kordsmeier 39:17
What are you on the enneagram?
Courtney Carver 39:20
So I'm an eight. Okay, yeah, I don't know if I would have guessed an eight. Most people don't most people don't guess an eight. But I'd like to say I'm a well integrated eight.
Kate Kordsmeier 39:30
Yeah, I think so. That's awesome. Yeah, I'm a three on the enneagram. And, but I think threes and eights have a few things in common for sure. Yeah, very cool.
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So, you mentioned obviously checking in with your body. How else do you apply minimalism to your business? Like how do you decide what to do or not do what to create or not how to spend your time or your money? I mean, I just find and part of this is probably because of my type three coming out, but it's like there's always something new to try. I mean, it's hard not to have that shiny object syndrome. Oh, I should be doing this. How do you apply that to your business?
Courtney Carver 41:59
Well, for starters, I don't measure who I am or how successful my day is by what I accomplish. And that was a really big shift for me because I did that for a long time. And if my to do list wasn't finished, if my husband did more than I did after a day at work, whatever it was, I would measure myself on that. And I don't do that anymore. Because I know that I can't accomplish the same amount every single day. There's some days where I'm higher energy, there's some days when I'm lower energy. And I try to consider that when I am scheduling things. I try to consider that when I'm taking projects on so that I don't have to do a lot of juggling that I was never really a good juggler before. And I'm even worse now I do much better when I have a couple things to work on versus 10 things to work on. And then I also really watch myself when I say oh, that's not going to take a lot of time. So I'll just add that to the list. Because that is like the biggest lie, I tell myself, whether it's you know, it's not going to take me a lot of time to check email right before I go to bed. or it won't take a lot of time for me to design these for graphics on my own. I don't need to have anybody helped me with that. Whatever it is, as soon as I hear myself saying that's not you might as well just do it. It's not going to take a lot of time. I know it's going to take a lot of time. And then I also because my health is the reason that this all started. My health is a priority. And so I consider that when I'm scheduling my days every single day. I consider that when I'm scheduling travel, like sure I could fit in a couple more cities, but I'm there you just can't pay me to get on a red eye flight for work. I'm not going to compromise a whole night of sleep, because I have this great opportunity if it's not going to work out where I can take a reasonably timed flight and not have travel, just destroy my body, then I'll do it. But otherwise, it's sorry. It's a hard path. So it's kind of weighing those things like, yeah, I could do 10 times the amount of work I'm doing right now for my business, probably. And it would probably grow more, and I would make more. And then I would be totally burned out and exactly where I was when I started. And so I am doing things differently now and prioritizing my health right or prioritizing time with my husband, especially right now, where I'm home all the time, and he is outside of the house working so when he gets home, I'm not working even though I could, like I could just keep going and going and going there's plenty to do. Mm hmm. But I just refuse to to operate that way anymore.
Kate Kordsmeier 44:55
I assume that was a hard transition for you to make that It came more naturally to you to just keep doing more and more and
Courtney Carver 45:03
more. Yeah. And of course, in the beginning and even occasionally now, like, I'll have to remind myself like, pull back. This pushing forcing, like, this path is not you know where it goes, it's not going to result in anything good. It's much easier for me now that I've been at it for so long. But I remember the first, like the first Monday that I didn't have to go to a sales meeting, because I had left my job and going for a walk instead of getting to work. And I felt weird about it. Like it felt good, but it also felt weird. But since then, I've just come to realize that it takes work to be good at work outward, and to and to work. So for instance, like writing a book. If I have a year to write a book, I'm not going to spend the entire year actually writing the book. or creating a course or even writing a weekly email I'm going to spend for the weekly email, I might spend half the day like taking a walk, doing yoga, taking really good care of myself so that I'm in that place where I can write with less effort.
Kate Kordsmeier 46:19
Yeah, that's huge. I think when we do stop trying to, as you said, pushing and forcing things that we realize, wow, I can get actually a lot more accomplished when I'm coming from this place of rejuvenation and rest and not this burnout and like craze, like, okay, I just finished that. What's next? What's next and Ryan, your work suffers? There's a law of diminishing returns.
Courtney Carver 46:44
And I think people see that too. Like if, like if you have a great night of sleep, how your day goes the next day versus a really crappy night of sleep. That's kind of how it is. I think on a smaller scale. When you're really pushing and forcing all day long. You're exhausted like How can you produce great work? When you're exhausted? It's hard. It's much harder.
Kate Kordsmeier 47:07
So and this is a very genuine ask, When you said that you don't measure yourself anymore based on what you do. How do you measure yourself or whether a day was good or bad? If not, based on what you did?
Courtney Carver 47:21
Yeah. Well, I like to think instead of measuring by what's on my list, I measure by what's on my heart. The truth is that these days, I just don't really measure that much. Because if I'm always keeping score, then I questioned my motives for why I'm doing what I'm doing. So I find it much easier not to keep score.
Kate Kordsmeier 47:49
Yeah, I love that. Now, the other thing you mentioned that brought up a question for me was that Yeah, there's always more and you could make more if you worked more and more and more and more How do you know when enough is enough?
Courtney Carver 48:03
I've really challenged this notion of enough for a long time. Because prior to all of this, it was never enough. I never felt like I had enough in any area of my life like I was always overextended. And because I never felt like I had enough, I never felt like I could offer enough and I never felt like I was enough. And that goes back to that place of measuring. And so while I don't have the perfect definition, although and I wish I could remember who said this, someone said enough is not an amount. It's a decision. I can't remember who said it, but I think that's a beautiful way to frame it. I know for me, I refuse to live in fear of not having enough because it's in that place that we are scared, are worried that we're not measuring up, are striving for more and more and more and more And we lose ourselves in that place. So I have found enough, in my closet, I have learned to find enough like just in my home in the amount of time and energy that I expend. And I mean with money too, like, I was always, especially when I was in debt, of course, because I had less than enough. But at the same time, it seemed like this never ending resource that I could always tap into that doesn't really seem fair on a bigger scale. But now that I live within my means, and do work that can generate enough income for me to not only live on, save some money, and give money I give more than I ever have before. I mean, even when it's like a time right now where things feel really uncertain. I know that if I start pulling in and like hoarding and feeling fearful of not having enough, that that's going to affect my health and life in ways that I don't know if I can recover from. So I just want to always be aware of that I refuse to live in fear of not having enough.
Kate Kordsmeier 50:28
And how, how do you do that? I'm always like, Okay, give me now the practical tip. Yeah. Did you do to really convince yourself of that it was what was the work you had to do to
Courtney Carver 50:41
flow? I think it's work that I am still doing just like all of this, but it's really questioning my thoughts, knowing that everything I think isn't necessarily true. Probably most. I don't
Kate Kordsmeier 50:54
believe everything you think,
Courtney Carver 50:56
right. That's what gets us in trouble. And then I can also look at You know, my personal history and not having enough has never been my problem. I had that fear. But it was never a reality. So I can't say that that's where I am like I wasn't there. And I'm not there now. And I think that's one thing that we can always do is really come back to right now like, yeah, there's a lot of fear around what's going to happen tomorrow and next month, and next year. Where am I right now? Like, what is the actual situation? What's the reality of my situation right now? Is what all of this going on going to impact me financially? Of course, everyone is going to feel it and some much more desperately than others. And so if I'm in a position to help, then why wouldn't I do that? I guess it's again, it's just like a day by day kind of thing. There wasn't like a book that I've read. Read or awakening to the idea I think it was very slow and just really by, by seeing everything that I had that I didn't even use and by letting go of it all, and not missing any of it hardly remembering any of it. I realized that excess was my problem. It wasn't laughs
Kate Kordsmeier 52:21
Oh, wow. Yeah, I think that is going to ring true for so many people and I love that you said just about that your reality has never been about not having enough. And episode seven. One of my guest I just finished this interview with her and she said Christie, Dr. Christie wick she says everything I need I already have. And I just thought that was so true too and very much goes along with this of just like yeah, very so many of us feel this. Never enough I need more this fear this scarcity. And then when we actually look at our realities. That's not what's happening. Access is the
Courtney Carver 53:03
problem, right? And when we're in that place of that, that what do I need to keep me safe? What do I need to make me successful? What do I need to be happy? We can't or don't have the capacity to be grateful for what we have and enjoy what we have, because we're over here in the fear by recognizing that you do have enough and that you are okay, right now. You get to really appreciate what you have in your life, which is pretty phenomenal. Yeah.
Kate Kordsmeier 53:38
So we're coming up to the end here, but I couldn't not bring this up. Because I think this may be one of the most powerful things that I have ever read. And it was something that you wrote probably years ago, but it was this concept of there's no such thing as being caught up and I'll post the blog post in the show. notes or we'll link the blog post in the show notes for this blog that you wrote about it, but it particularly caught me with email because I live, like many of us in my inbox. I always feel behind I always feel like if I could just take like three hours and then get caught up, then I would be better. But of course, even when I do that, then more emails come in and you were in your posts you say, the more emails you send the more emails and it's so logical when you break it down like that, but I still run into this this problem and I still often I read this, gosh, it was at least four years ago, and I still like I'll go read it again. Whenever I start feeling that Oh, I just need a couple hours to get caught up.
Courtney Carver 54:51
Yeah, being okay with not being caught up is a pretty great place to be. I'm just looking around right now and I know I've got some wash In the washer, I've got clean dishes in the dishwasher. And I've got some fruit to wash. This is not my business, right? Just my life just kind of looking around seeing the things that I have to do. If I was worried about getting caught up with those things, I would never have been able to be present for this conversation. Because I would have been thinking about, oh my gosh, I'm falling behind, and I have to get this done. And same with email, like, yeah, some days are heavier than others. Some days, I do a pretty good job on email. Some days, I just completely lose the plot on email. And, and, oddly, there's been no emergencies as a result, like everyone's saying, okay, so yeah, say that 90% of email is not time sensitive, maybe more than 90%. So, there are a couple of ways you could approach it. If you're interested in this. This is kind of how I do email is that I'll look at it Not first thing in the morning for sure. The last thing I want is everyone else's to do list on my plate before I know what I'm doing for the day. But when I get into it, I do like this email triage and I just kind of do a scan through the inbox and delete as much as possible without opening that I know is not doesn't need my attention at all. There's that's probably 25% of it gone. Yeah, right. It's either something that's kind of, I don't know, just a request for something that I can't grant. It doesn't have my name on it. So I know it's like going through a lot of people. It doesn't all need my attention. So I delete all of those. And then I kind of scan through again and see Is there anything time sensitive that I need to address right now like, you know, us getting ready for today's call or something like that. And then the rest of it. I'll take another pass through in the afternoon and deal with it. But that's it. It doesn't just sit in the inbox like my inbox is not my to do list. So right. I mean, I, I don't know what's in there right now. But I would say there's probably not more than 20 emails in the my inbox. And so I tried to do that every day but not on the weekends Of course. And yeah, it's it's kind of a day by day thing. And the same goes for all the social media stuff like yeah, it'd be great to be all caught up on DNS or posting your Facebook quotes or whatever you want to do. But in the end, it's okay if it's slips and slides like it all has to be able to slip and slide a little bit because there might be something more important than that you need to focus on that day.
Kate Kordsmeier 57:42
Absolutely. And I think what you said it just it applies to everything where it's not just email or business but it's things in our home like dishes and laundry and things like that. Because guess what, the second you do laundry then you wear something else and more laundry piles, you know It's like I loved. It was almost this permission of giving myself like, Oh, I will never be caught up as long as I continue living because it's just the cycle and that I just like, Okay, well now I just have to be okay with that there's a cycle and I'm always going to be somewhere in the cycle and being at the top of zero doesn't really mean anything. Because as soon as I start moving again,
Courtney Carver 58:26
more things are gonna happen. Exactly. It's, I mean, just I think just kind of letting go of the notion that being caught up as important, is even more helpful than thinking I'll never be caught up because then you're still in that place of like, I wish I could be, but I'm never going to be, but why do we even need to be like, What's so special about it? I mean, I don't call all my friends and be like, all the laundry is done. All my dishes are put away.
Yeah, they would just hang up on me, of course. Right.
Kate Kordsmeier 58:57
Yeah, but I mean, I think you applying it, like you said to social media, or sometimes I'll have Oh, I have a stack of magazines that I haven't read. I know I need to go through these. And it's like, do you? Do you need to go through them? If you want to, you should. But I don't need to I loved in the beginning, you talking a lot about the supposed tos and I'm supposed to do it this way. Or I should do this, or I need to do that and really questioning, do you?
Courtney Carver 59:28
Yeah, we have to constantly ask ourselves that question. And that goes back to the not believing everything you think like, Why? Why do I need to do that? Why can't I just toss those, that stack of magazines. Now if you were to say, I'm so looking forward to sitting in the tub and reading this magazine? That's different than I need to get through? I should get through those magazines or I need to get through those magazines. So I need to get this drawer organized. Why? Mm hmm. Why do yeah, I mean, maybe you could open the drawer and just get rid of half of that stuff and then you don't have to be bored. organized,
Kate Kordsmeier 1:00:01
right? Yeah, exactly. Yeah, my therapist is always calling me on this because I still struggle with it all the time. And we were talking before we hit record about, you know, oh, I'm prepping for maternity leave right now because I have to have all this stuff done so I can take a break. And she always says, What if you didn't you know what if you went on maternity leave, and your people knew you were you had just had a baby. And so they just didn't expect you to keep producing content at the same rate that you were when you didn't just have a baby? What would be the worst that can happen and kind of hate it when she calls me on that? Because I'm like, Damn, you're right. I have this story that I've been telling myself of No, no, I have to stick to the schedule. And people are counting on me and she's like, you're not that important. I'm sorry.
Courtney Carver 1:00:49
I know so interesting. And so one thing right now I'm thinking about doing that I'm still maybe caught up on a little bit of the story is closing my business for a couple of weeks. So, not letting anything happen, as you know, I'd have the website open, but you wouldn't be able to contact me you wouldn't be able to buy anything you wouldn't. You know, just it was closed and my social media was silent for a month or two weeks or a week, whatever it is, because that hasn't happened in 10 years. Now, granted, I have people that helped me and I've been able to take long breaks, but I'm still a little bit connected. So what if I was just completely disconnected? I think everything would be just fine. And like we were talking about earlier, my numbers will probably go up like it's so strange how we think we're in the just like control of every little bit and piece of our work and maybe it just needs a break. So I'll let you know. That happens.
Kate Kordsmeier 1:01:52
Yeah, keep me posted. That would be very interesting. Yeah, I've had a couple times not that I've taken huge breaks other than a maternity Leave, which I didn't just close everything. And it was, you know, still a little bit of work but where I've even had friends that I call I'm so stressed I have this deadline, I have to get this done by this point in time. And one time I one of my friends said, again this like, do you do you have to and what would happen? She said I was around the holidays, and I was prepping to go on a week long European vacation, which I was so excited about with my husband and I had this smoothie ebook that I was trying to launch and I had all these posts that I just had to get done before. And she's like, you know, these are self imposed deadlines and nobody else besides you knows them. Like, what if you just said okay, instead of posting four times before Christmas, I just posted once and you know, she's like, and it's the holidays are people even really looking at stuff like this right now. And when she gave me that permission, and then you know, of course what No, I did it and nobody noticed and things continued on and my business didn't completely fall apart. And
Courtney Carver 1:03:07
yeah, sometimes I think we have to remind ourselves that you and you were able to get back to what you do like we we worry about that too a little bit like, oh, if I get out of this rhythm or this pattern, I'm not going to be able to do it again.
Kate Kordsmeier 1:03:19
Yeah. always going to like worst case scenario. And it's like, but you know, what's most likely is that you miss a couple weeks, and then you come back and you get back on. Yeah, yeah. And honestly, a lot of people most of your following probably won't even notice you're gone. I think that's probably our egos like trying to protect us and telling us No, everybody would notice everybody you know, hangs on my every word, waiting for my come out and this blog post to hit and, you know, makes us feel better to think that but it also puts a lot of pressure on herself when none of it is actually true. Yeah.
Courtney Carver 1:03:54
And also, if they really love your work, they're going to be excited when you come back. I know. I've had Like podcasts that go on a break, and that I listened to regularly and when they come back. I'm so excited to that they're back.
Yeah. So yeah, exactly.
Kate Kordsmeier 1:04:09
Well, this has been such a pleasure chatting with you, Courtney, we have a couple like quick lightning round questions that I want to ask you to finish up here. And then we will let you get on with your day. So don't overthink it. Just first thing that comes to your mind. What's your favorite way to make time for self care while running your own business?
Courtney Carver 1:04:28
self care comes before my business. So that's yet yeah, I make time for it before I make time for working.
Kate Kordsmeier 1:04:38
I love it. What's one tool or strategy that you use to help you with time management?
Courtney Carver 1:04:44
have a great team. That's probably my biggest benefit is that I work with people who care about my business, and me and by community as much as I do.
Kate Kordsmeier 1:04:58
Yeah. And you Have part time employees contractors or full time all
Courtney Carver 1:05:03
Kate Kordsmeier 1:05:05
all freelance. Okay, great. What is one of the most powerful business or mindset books that you've ever read just one you reference again and again.
Courtney Carver 1:05:14
Oh, I'm really bad at recalling things like that. I would say not a business book, but just a book in general that really helps me is Eckhart Tolle ease Power of Now, it really helps me just stay present. And that serves my business for sure. Yeah, okay, great. I'm
Kate Kordsmeier 1:05:37
gonna have to write that one down. Okay, and last one we have we usually ask what Success with Soul means to you, but we've really already talked so much about this and your soul centered business. So I'm gonna skip that one. And we'll finish up with if you have a favorite quote or a mantra or affirmation are something that you tell yourself and we did already share. Actually a couple of these So,
Courtney Carver 1:06:01
yeah, I definitely have a few of these but I think probably the simplest one that I remind myself of daily is come back. So if I'm working on something that I don't need to be working on or if I'm My mind is spinning about something, it doesn't need to be spinning on as soon as I notice that I'm lost, I just simply say to myself, just come back, come back. And then I do. I love that. Where can everybody find you, Courtney, they can find me on my website be more with less.com or on Instagram at the more with less.
Kate Kordsmeier 1:06:38
Awesome, thank you so much for coming on today.
Courtney Carver 1:06:40
Oh, fun. Thanks, Kate.
Kate Kordsmeier 1:06:47
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We are an LGBTQIA-affirming, interfaith-oriented, diverse organization. We are committed to social and environmental justice, including civil rights, dismantling systems of oppression like the Patriarchy, White Supremacy and Diet Culture. We believe Black Lives Matter.