Focus on Five – a system for living a more balanced, happy life

You’ve probably seen at least one version of this advice floating around the internet:

3hobbies

“Three Hobbies” has always bothered me, for two reasons.

The first is that for those of us running our own businesses, the distinction between a hobby and a business is super important. If you want to write off your business expenses on your tax return, for instance, you’d better make sure the tax authorities don’t deem your business a hobby! (I’m not going to cover this in any more detail here, but do check out the link above for more details on the critical difference between a hobby and a business.)

The second issue is that “Three Hobbies” is INCOMPLETE, almost to the point of irresponsibility, when it comes to business owners. We know how common burnout, anxiety, and depression are among entrepreneurs. While running businesses, we might also be exercising and creating obsessively… all while totally disconnected from other human beings, or a sense of connection to what is driving all this activity in the first place.

And so I’m proposing a slightly different system for cultivating a sense of balance. Continue reading “Focus on Five – a system for living a more balanced, happy life”

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#DeleteFacebook: How to permanently delete your Facebook account (while saving as much of it as you can for posterity)

I spent an absurd amount of time over the 4-day Easter weekend bumbling my way through the process of permanently deleting my Facebook account while saving as much of it as I could for posterity. This second part was important to me, and it’s really not as straightforward as it could be – as far as I can tell there are 6 things you need to do BEFORE requesting that Facebook permanently delete your account to ensure that your data is as protected as it can be, and to make sure you still have access to as much as you can reasonably collect from Facebook before saying goodbye.

I consulted a bunch of different How To articles and videos, went down several dead ends, screwed up (and had to cancel/restart the deletion process) multiple times, etc etc just to get to a place where I genuinely believe I did as much as I was willing to do without running some random script.

To add to the body of knowledge around this topic I decided to write up everything I’ve figured out so far. I sincerely hope this will save you some time and stress! I may be geeky but I’m no Facebook expert, so please please please let me know if I’ve misunderstood or misrepresented anything so I can update this article accordingly.

Good luck! This was a pain in the ass, but if I could do it, so you can you 🙂

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Step 1: Download a copy of your Facebook data (and be amazed / disappointed with what you get)

You can read Facebook’s own instructions on how to do this here (Settings > Download a copy of your Facebook data). I’m suggesting you do this before Steps 2 and 3 so that you’ll have a record of all the Apps etc that used to be connected in case this list becomes useful at some point in the future…

So you have an idea what to expect when you download a copy of your Facebook data, here are some of the things that I noticed: Continue reading “#DeleteFacebook: How to permanently delete your Facebook account (while saving as much of it as you can for posterity)”

How to move to NZ from the US

Sometimes, when people in positions of power do things I find absurd and infuriating, I get depressed, cranky, angry, and/or despondent. Other times, I’m more productive, getting all academic, or trying to draw personal connections so people might understand how these decisions will affect real people.

Last Friday, I channelled my frustration into making this video guide to various visa options for Americans wanting to live and work New Zealand:

Here’s one: apply for a job at one of Xero’s New Zealand offices! There are offices in Wellington, Auckland (where I work), and a brand new one in Hawke’s Bay. Last I checked there were openings in Design, IT, Customer Experience, Education, Marketing, Quality Assurance, Sales, and more. Send me an email if there’s a position you’re interested in and I can forward a special internal referral link. Continue reading “How to move to NZ from the US”

4 questions that will lead you to work you’ll love (or: How I ended up at Xero)

Don’t want to read my whole TL;DR story? No worries, here are my four critical questions I recommend to anyone looking for work you’ll love:

  1. What’s the ultimate impact you want to have?
  2. What industry do you want to be a part of?
  3. What type of work you want to do?
  4. What kind of people you want to work with, in what kind of environment?

Read on if you want to hear how I worked through these before landing my job at Xero. Better yet, get your own dream job (or freelance work that you’ll love) by answering these questions for yourself!

***

After happily working for myself for over four years, some nagging voices started bugging me. “You’re not using all your gifts,” they said. And, “where is your team? Why do you insist on working alone?” And there was a lot of, “there’s something much bigger waiting for you, but you have to look for it.”

I knew I was ready for something different. And I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wanted a full-time job where someone else would be responsible for hustling my paycheck, and I could focus on doing My Work. But other voices tried to justify the status quo: “The way things are now, you can go hiking or surfing whenever you want!” Or, “what about your weird sleeping patterns? You’ll never be able to work regular hours.” Or the worst, “do you really want to commute over an hour a day EACH WAY from gorgeous Bolinas to an office in San Francisco?!” Continue reading “4 questions that will lead you to work you’ll love (or: How I ended up at Xero)”

The Women’s March, Sheryl Sandberg’s silence, and Leaning the F*** Away

Someone at work recently posted the article Lean Out: the deafening post-November silence of Sheryl Sandberg on our internal social network, posing the question, “Do you do what you think is right, or do you do what is right by your company?”

Here are some excerpts of the article to get you up to speed, or scroll down to jump ahead to my response (hint: it’s about privilege).

Sandberg must be well positioned to be a leader in this precise moment of feminist consciousness, right?

Uh, wrong.

Since November, I’ve heard one phrase uttered over and over by senior women in the Valley: “Why isn’t Sheryl saying anything about this?” To be specific, it started right around November 9, when Hillary Clinton conceded the Presidency to Donald Trump.

sherylsandbergShe defended Peter Thiel staying on Facebook’s board. She defended her boss’s dismissal of the idea that fake news impacted the election. She– not Zuckerberg– went to that meeting and sat behind the Trump water. And most surprising of all: Sheryl Sandberg had absolutely nothing public to say about last weekend’s women’s march, the largest feminist event in our lifetimes. The largest American protest. The time we actually saw footage on every major network and newspaper of what she has been saying for years women need to do: Linking arms and standing together.

and Continue reading “The Women’s March, Sheryl Sandberg’s silence, and Leaning the F*** Away”

Accounting 101 with Liz Mason

When you’re a startup, you only have about a billion things to think about. So it’s understandable if accounting isn’t top of mind. That’s why I worked with Liz Mason from High Rock Accounting to produce this 37 minute online course, designed to provide the accounting basics you need to know to become a successful small business. It covers:

  • Why accounting is better in the cloud
  • Basic accounting definitions
  • Track what’s important (ie, enough to glean meaningful insights, and not so much that you get bogged down in unnecessary detail)
  • Payroll concepts
  • Integrations with other small business software

Small Food Business podcast interview

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It’s always a pleasure to serve as a guest on other people’s podcasts. Back in November, Jennifer Lewis interviewed me for the Small Food Business podcast series. They released the episode today, saying:

Many of us start our small businesses with a broader mission or vision for what we’re hoping to achieve beyond just dollars and cents. In today’s podcast, we talk with sustainable small business expert and author Elizabeth Ü about how mission driven businesses can raise the capital they need in an environment that seemingly values the bottom line above all else.

But my favorite part about this podcast is the end, when I had the opportunity to describe how my passion for supporting small business owners ultimately led me to take a job with an accounting software company: Continue reading “Small Food Business podcast interview”