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The Shrewd Truth About Making Smart Decisions

Megan Martin


Usually, I like to keep it light and around these parts, but every once in awhile we just have to get real. Am I right? Well, when it comes to making smart decisions for your business there is just no way around getting to the brass tacks. I could sugar coat you with sweet words, but the truth about making decisions like a boss is just a bit shrewd. And as we kick off a new year, I want 2018 to be the year you start seeing real growth in your business. Let’s talk about the shrewd truth about making smart decisions! 


The word shrewd is one of those English words that has multiple perfect meanings for what we are talking about. Shrewd can have the contextual meaning of severe, hard, sharp or piercing. And sometimes the truth can be downright sharp!


But shrewd also carries the meaning of having or showing sharp powers of judgment; astute. And making smart decisions in your business takes a keen sense of awareness and sharp judgment.


The Shrewd Truth about Making Smart Decisions in Business on Megan Martin Creative, business growth, business strategy, business goals, collaborations, creative entrepreneur


So today I am going to tell you the shrewd truth I have adopted from Derek Sivers in my business when it comes to making decisions. Literally, every decision is weighed with this simple yet sharp measurement:


“If it’s not a Hell Yes, It’s a No.”


I use the word Heck, though. 😉


Told you it was gonna be a little sharp and piercing! 


But seriously, think about it.


Entrepreneurs are bombarded on every corner of the internet with flashy ideas and the latest and greatest tool, course, membership site, opinion, method and trendy activity. So how do we sift through alllllll the noise and focus on what actually matters?


We make sharp judgments based on our brand mission, our target market, our capacity to produce and the things of life we care about most.


If you waver here, you risk losing control and stepping into a reality of overwhelm. And you will most likely not produce work you are actually proud of. That isn’t good for your psyche or your bottom line.


When I am presented with a collaboration, a project idea or a potential commitment, I quickly assess how I feel about the idea. Am I filled with jitters and jumping with excitement because it perfectly aligns with my heart, mission, customer needs and goals? That’s called a Heck Yes! If I have a twinge of doubt, that’s called a no. Harsh, I know, but if you aren’t fully IN you are going to wish you were out when the going gets tough. Because it will ALWAYS get tough.


When I am in a project or walking down a path that has gone south or starts taking over my life, that is a big NO. I know, I know… But if you commit to something you have to do it for all time and eternity, right? No. You don’t. You can quit things. Your life, your family, your people and your health and sanity are more important than a business deal.


There is a way to quit well, and I would advise you do that over tossing someone to the curb without care or concern, but quitting well is very much okay.


All those things you think you have to do in your business? You can say no, friend. You don’t HAVE to be on Pinterest and Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and Snapchat and Google Plus and Blog and run ad campaigns and do in-person expos and speak and offer more services and sell mugs and incorporate passive profit and work five days a week and build an empire and and AND. You don’t have to do anything that doesn’t feel 100% right. You will never do it well enough to make an actual impact if it doesn’t fire you up anyways!


the shrewd truth to making smart decisions in business, how to grow your creative business, how to beat overwhelm in business on Megan Martin Creative

Captured by Sarahdipity Photos


So what should you do if you are in a serious state of overwhelm?


You need to stop. Right now. Stop it all and give yourself space. Not just like an hour of space, girl. Like days or even weeks of space. Absolutely do the actual productive work that directly makes you money. Example: If you are a photographer you continue to shoot to pay the bills, but hit pause on every other non-income producing activity.


You might think I am crazy, but you can’t gain perspective if you are covered in duty, duty, and more blazing duty.


You need space to think and process. Make a few lists. Here are the exact lists I go through in my business to determine what I actually need to do.


  1. What activities directly produce income that only I can do?
  2. What activities bring me joy? These can include the above! But they can also be indirect activities that you enjoy in running your biz. For example, designing templates and organizing educational opportunities directly produce income in my business. But activities like writing and styling props for images bring me joy in my business. So I don’t want to let go of those!
  3. What activities do I HATE? You know. Right off the bat, I bet you even thought of that task that sucks the soul right out of you. Write it and all the others down.


From list 1, I can literally think of only 2-3 main activities that directly produce income that I want to have the control in. Think about that! Out of the 8743983749387 things you think you have to do in business, only a small handful are things YOU actually have to do.


From list 2, I find the things that continue the passion for my business. Some people hate writing. I happen to love it. So much so that I am sitting here sick in bed writing this because writing has an uncanny way of calming me down and making me happy. These activities are the FUN of business. If you have the capacity to continue doing them, then hell yes!


From list 3, I find the things I either need to automate, outsource or just plain say NO and eliminate. Does submitting blog posts for publication suck the joy right out of you? There’s a VA just around the corner! Does posting on Instagram make you excited but you would rather cut off your arm than post anywhere else? GIRL just post on Instagram. It is OKAY. I promise you social media does not equal comprehensive marketing. Social is a way to market but not the only way. You do you. Do you keep getting the same emails over and over and over? Friend, there is a thing called canned responses. Automate that answer and go have a glass of wine.


The shrewd truth about smart decisions is that you have to be shrewd. You don’t have to be callous or rude to be shrewd. You just have to know yourself, your limits, and your mission so well that you can make astute judgments.


Save your yesses for the best girlfriend and don’t you feel bad about that!

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  1. Emily says:

    Thank you for posting, Megan! I am in the early stages of blogging and entrepreneurship and was getting a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of having to be on three-five social media networks plus take care of the essentials of blogging. Now I don’t feel so pressured to do everything!

  2. Margaret says:

    Totally needed to hear this today! I just sent a kind “no” email. It was no where near a hell yes, but I was struggling with that decision. I’m putting that quote somewhere prominent 🙂

  3. Stefania says:

    This is really interesting! I’m that person that does thousands of things in the business and then I think : I have to stop right now!
    Have a nice day!