Real Talk Tuesday: How to Become Wildly Successful (the Definitive Guide)

Spoiler alert! Nobody really becomes successful following the rules.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a mega fan of templates. I think certain business ‘scripts’ – a launch plan, a pre-determined sales page structure – work because humans are inherently wired the same.

But you know what the most successful people do? They flip those scripts. They take those templates and they do something wacky or totally unexpected with them.

They don’t let themselves feel inhibited by all the “rules” out there. Instead, they use what other people have already created – the stilleto-steps the others have already walked – as a starting point. And then they bend the “rules” like the badasses they are to fit their own personality/work style/creativity. They know they’ll never get where they wanna be by following a path somebody else has already created, because that well-worn path was somebody else’s destiny, not their own.

This applies to every part of your business you might use a “template” for – including blogs + other content you create.

The true movers + shakers don’t soak up + then regurgitate information from some (or a few) gurus – over + over + over again. (Srsly though, aren’t we all sooooo sick of reading the same type of shit in the business world, and really every other industry, too? I am!)

True movers + shakers look inside first, and ask themselves what really needs to be shared – and then share only that.

So if you want to achieve the sky-high level of success of your fave online girlcrush? You gotta’ do what they do – and I don’t mean shelling out fistfuls of cash for their latest blueprint + robotically going through the motions, crossing your fingers that this particular course/book/thingy is IT. That’s a surefire way you’ll always be one. step. behind.

Instead, you need to create from the same place the successful people create from – a place of love, spontaneity, originality and fuck the rules-ness – and that’s when the success will come.

For the love of all things sparkly, it’s time to start creating + sharing the stuff that matters.

You in?


10 Unique & Wonderful Ways to Treat Yourself & Your Biz This Holiday Season (PLUS a FREE Worksheet!)

Okay, lady. Let’s talk.

I’ve been working really hard behind the scenes here, and I have an inkling you have, too. December for me is always a classic mixture of magic & mayhem, to say the least. Although I make it a priority to spend a gracious amount of time reflecting on the past year & projecting for the new one – I also sometimes fall prey to running-around-like-a-chicken-with-its-head-cut-off-itis.

It feels like my To Do list is never done, and my “To Buy” list keeps expanding. It can get overwhelming when you’re trying to manage both your business & personal lives with flair, amiright?

That said, I’ve put together a fun list of 10 ways you can treat yourself AND your business this holiday season, ’cause lord knows they both need a little bit o’ lovin.

[Disclaimer: A few (but not all) of these links are affiliate links. That said, I only recommend & become an affiliate of products & services I personally own & use & appreciate. I’d never suggest something to you I wasn’t 100% a fan of.]

Now, without further ado…

1. Organize the hell outta your space.

 I don’t know about you, but clutter really throws me off. I think the week right before the new year is a vunderful time to get your (physical) shiz together. I love scoping out sites like Hobby Lobby, and (I’m seriously obsessed with their “Work Hard & Be Nice to People” print!)

Personally, I plan to pick up this adorb Kate Spade journal set – one says “Live It” and one says “Love It.” I’m going to use one as my paper To-Do List & the other as my gratitude journal.

I’ve also been eye-balling “The Day Designer” which is dubbed “a yearly strategic planner and daily agenda for creative entrepreneurs, business women, and working mommas everywhere” for, like ever. I’m excited to commit to getting it this year & using it to plan all my new adventures in 2014. And for realsies, isn’t that black and gold just to die for?

2. Dig Deep.

Not only is the new year a great time to get your physical space together, it’s also a good time to get your head space together.

One of my favorite ways to uncover what I’m really thinking & feeling is to use something Tara Wagner at the Organic Sister created called the Digging Deep process. In a nutshell: It’s an ebook & collection of brilliant worksheets that force you to uncover & deal with your limiting beliefs, once & for all. It’s down right magical how much you can learn about yourself when you actually sit down & put pen to paper & ask yourself the hard questions.

You know how people say you won’t see results in your personal development unless you do the work? Tara’s system is a fabulous guide to get “the work” done.

3. Plot & plan.

I’ve always been really into end-of-year rituals. I love looking back on the year I just had & creating all sorts of delicious plans for the new one.

Sound like something you’re into, too? Then Leonie Dawson’s Amazing Life & Biz Planners are a must-have. (Yes, that is an affiliate link!) I’ve used them the last two years and THIS year, they’re available in a PRINT VERSION, which makes me super happy since I never seem to have enough printer ink around. (New Year’s Resolution? Go to fucking Office Max, ya lazy goober.) Really though, there’s nothing quite like writing your goals out in longhand, you know?

I also plan on picking up moneymaking expert Ellen Ercolini’s “Get A Grip!” bundle which features two wildly unique digital workshops: Reflect, Remix, Remaster (for a massive dose of reflection) & January Jumpstart (for plotting your best year yet). Ellen just recently had her first 5-figure month, so let’s just say girl knows what she’s talking about.

And I can’t forget about Amber McCue’s Fresh Start workbook which is chock full of practical worksheets that’ll help you jump into 2014 with a clear head. Did you know businesses that plan outperform the competition by 60%? Oh yeah, baby. Now that’s a treat!

4. Work ON your biz, not IN your biz.

Every entrepreneur knows how easy it is to get swept up in doing all the day-to-day managing of your business (including client work, as fabulous as it may be) so much so that you completely neglect your own biz. (In fact, I wrote a lot about that in a post right over this way: Are You Begin Codependent In Your Biz?)

Are you guilty of letting your own business collect dust? Well, you’re in luck. One of my fave business mentors Shenee Howard is running a short-but-sweet 5-day challenge called, “It’s ON!” which, of course, is all about working ON your biz, not IN it. You’ll receive an actionable step to take each day to shine up some aspect of your business – be it updating your autoresponders, deleting that service from your shop page or just updating your Twitter bio. Best part? It’s totally FREE. Make sure to sign up ASAP so you don’t miss any of the fun!

A few ways I’m workin’ ON my business this holiday season:
♥ 1. Collaborating with my web designer for a full re-design.
♥ 2. Re-writing all my site copy & upgrading my services like whoa
♥ 3. Outsourcing for the first time evah

How ’bout you, darling?

5. Make some extra cheddar.

I’ve been doing a lot of money work lately. And I don’t mean that I’ve been hustling my butt off (although I have), I mean I’ve been really exploring my mindset around money. I think every entrepreneur should consistently work on her money-making mojo, and what better time to start than right before a new year?

Tools of the trade? Kate Northrup’s Money: A Love Story and Denise Duffield-Thomas’ Get Rich, Lucky Bitch. Guys, I can’t tell you how powerful & transformative this work has been. Like, WHOA. I landed two new clients within hours of doing some forgiveness work around my past money memories. (This was an exercise I procrastinated on for weeks. Turns out if you feel mega resistance to something, the payoff on the other side will be that much sweeter.)

A few of my other fave tips & tricks for manifesting mucho dinero Kate Northrup suggests writing down 3 things you value about yourself everyday. Denise suggests tracking every piece of money that comes into your life to the cent (even the pennies you find in the street!). Both of these have made me appreciate myself – & my life – that much more.

If you need something a little more practical, funky & fun financial planner Leah Manderson is offering 50% off her Done-for-You Debt Savings Plan. (And yes, I just put ‘funky’ and ‘fun’ and ‘financial planner’ together in the same sentence!) You’ll get a personalized action plan, budget & all kinds of tools to manage your financial life in the new year. Can I get a ‘hell yes’ for responsible spending? (…No? Maybe?)

6. Love up your bod.

I know, I know. Everybody tells you one of the easiest ways to feel better about yourself is to go get a manicure & pedicure. But you know why? ‘Cause it works, yo!

If all the end-of-the-year hullabaloo has got you feeling a little rundown, do yourself a favor & step away from the computer & take some time out for YOU.

Whether your nails have run ragged, your roots are down to your shoulders or you haven’t hit the treadmill in weeks – I challenge you to do the one beauty treatment that you’ve been putting off because you don’t “need” it. I guarantee you’ll feel 100 times more confident with a sexy blowout, even if it is a little “unnecessary.”

If you’d rather stay in & decompress, I recommend grabbing a bottle of OPI polish, your fanciest (and tallest) champagne flute and your fave holiday-esque soundtrack and treating yourself to a DIY mani.

Another one of my ultra-fave ways to give my body a little lovin’ is my monthly subscription to They have the most amazing & comprehensive collection of yoga workouts I have ever seen. You can literally search for anything – if you’ve got a sore neck, search for yoga routines proven to help. If you’re looking for something that’s fast-paced & guaranteed to make you sweat, there’s an option for that. Only got 15 minutes to spare but wanna sneak in some asanas? No problemo – just search for it! It’s genius, I tell you! (And all for less than $20 a month!)

7. Dress up your digital goods.

Now that you’ve got a perfectly blown out ‘do & pristine cuticles, why not extend the beautify-ing to your digital tools, too? I’m talking shopping for all new covers for your iPhone, iPad & laptop. I love searching Amazon and Etsy for “sequin iPhone covers.” I’ve uncovered quite a few gems – pun intended – that way.

Let’s be honest: You use your techno-shit a lot. Might as well make ’em fun to look at (and something you can feel proud of when you have to whip ’em out in public!)

8. Have a Brandgasm!

You & your tools all sexed up, but don’t forget about adding some glam to your business! Brandgasm 101 is a fabulous course for the DIY-type looking to pick up a few essential copywriting and design skills to refresh your online presence in 2014. Always wanted know how to design a delicious “Buy Now” button? How about a tasty Twitter background? Or maybe you’d just love to know how to craft a hot headline? Brandgasm’s got you covered.

BONUS: Brandgasm is currently having a holiday sale so it’s 50% off, yo . Grab that shizz while you can. (Yes that is an affiliate link which you are under no obligation to use, but I’d be super happy if you did!)

SECOND BONUS: Don’t forget to give yourself a real orgasm, too. *wink*

9. Give your message a makeover.

Another way to add some sex appeal to your business? I’m currently offering a FLASH SALE on my Mini Message Makeovers. What’s that, you ask? Essentially it’s a package designed to add a little styling to your syntax.

If your business message needs some (serious) definition, or your cocktail pitch is drier than the white wine you inevitably slurp down at all your networking events, a Mini Message Makeover could be just what your brand needs. Read more about it here & get it while it’s haute!

10. Upgrade one other area of your life.

This is another one of my favorite tips from Denise’s Get Rich, Lucky Bitch. Often we get overzealous & want to change everythingallatonce. The problem with that is that 1.) it puts a strain on us (either financially or mentally) and 2.) when you try to make multiple changes at a time, they’re less likely to stick.

So why not commit to focusing on ONE area of your life that you can upgrade incrementally, and go from there? For example, my boyfriend & I have decided to buy all new luxurious bedding – sheets, pillows & a new comforter/duvet – for the new year. It’s the only present we’re giving each other. But we’re doing it, damn it. (Because let’s face it – we spend a LOT of time in bed).

What or where in your life can you upgrade? Maybe you can buy a designer pair of jeans & throw out the old skinnies from college you can barely button anymore? Maybe you can buy the “deluxe’ manicure instead of “back to basics”?

Have fun with it, girl. You deserve it!


Are you thinking about rolling out a new service in 2014, but not sure what the hell to offer? I can help! I’m currently putting the final touches on a shiny new worksheet called Pop, Fizz, Clink!: Launch a Sparkly New Service in 2014 that’ll help you get clear on WHAT you should offer, WHO you should offer it to & WHAT language to use to get your dream clients vying to buy.

Want in? Enter your email in the box below to grab your FREE worksheet, plus the chance to have me personally review & tweak your copy. ‘Cause it’s the holidays, and I’m giving like that.

4 Ways Your Personal Development Is Messing Up Your Business (And Life)

the elusive vision board via WeHeartIt

As a copywriter who spends her days making sure women entrepreneurs are presenting their best, sassiest selves online – I’m a huge fan of personal development. I know how hard it can be to be an entrepreneur, and I know it takes a shizz ton of inside work to make things look so damn easy on the outside. (They’re not.) (Don’t let anybody fool you.)

That said, I’ve fallen prey to misunderstanding personal development advice once or ten times – and it’s not been pretty. Here’s a quick look at a few ways all your leveling-up might be holding you down:

1. The Law of Attraction is Making You Lazy.

Not gonna lie: When I first heard about LOA, I was pretty convinced all I had to do was make a vision board & in a few months I’d be sittin’ pretty in a brand new Bentley & makin’ it rain in my mansion house.

Not. True.

You must meet the universe (more than) half way. You’ve got to do the work if you want the universe to do its part.

Translation? Quit wishing & start doing.

2. You Have (Really) High Expectations of Others.

When I first started doing things to improve myself – namely, reading loads of self help material about weeding the negative energy, people & situations from my life – I took it one step too far.

I started to look down on the people around me who “didn’t get it.” I started to doubt all my relationships & friendships & um, EVERYTHING ELSE EVER.

I think a lot of this stemmed from the fact that I was the only one I knew doing any “growth” work. Surround yourself with others who are going through the same things, yes, but don’t be so damn hard on everybody else. We are all on our own journeys, and just because your BFF’s doesn’t look just like yours doesn’t mean she isn’t worth the friendship.

You can be spiritual and want to grab a damn beer & pizza sometimes.
You can be spiritual and still find yourself annoyed at the morning commute.
You can even be spiritual and get angry at your mom. No. Really. (Warning: I do not recommend this last one.)

3. You’re Trying So Hard to Be Grateful for What You Have that You’re Ignoring Things that Really DO Need to Change.

When things got really bad in my relationship last year (as in financially, emotionally & spiritually), I tried to will it away by practicing gratitude for everything I did have.

There’s nothing wrong with gratitude. Please, don’t get me wrong.

The problem was that I was turning a blind eye to the real ish going on in my life because I had heard SO many times I needed to just be grateful and accepting and yadda yadda.

Yes. You do. There’s no point in complaining about something unless your’e going to change it.


Sometimes things just SUCK. Sometimes you DO need to wallow in your sadness & cry & acknowledge that not everything is perfect.

Please, allow yourself that gift.

4. You’re Overspending in the Name of Self Care.

Oh em gee. This may be the worst thing I ever did. I remember around this time last year (when I was first starting to work in my business full-time), I decided I absolutely HAD to buy a monthly massage & facial package.

And monthly manicures.
And of course I “deserved” the new clothes & shoes & OH-PLEASE-JUST-ONE-MORE-ECOURSE.

I’m allllll about self care. Truly. I know how fucking important it is & I would never try to convince you otherwise.

But going into debt in the name of self care is like fighting for peace or fucking for virginity or eating fast food to stay alive.

It’s dumb. It’s counterintuitive. It just doesn’t make sense.

Take a cue from fellow biz lady Kate Northup, who explains in her book Money: A Love Story, that saving your dough is actually a way to show yourself you care. NOT having to scrounge your last pennies to pay for food or borrow moolah when your car breaks down shows you that you care about you.

Missing out on a mani won’t kill you. Having to walk to the grocery store in sub-zero weather might. (Just sayin’)

Your Turn! //

Have you ever taken personal development too far? What’s your least favorite piece of personal development advice – you know, the one that makes you scoff and get really angry inside ‘cause it’s such a load of bull? Share it in the comments!

Mind Candy Monday: Can’t Run With the Big Dogs? :: Enjoy Life on the Porch


It’s Mind Candy Monday – except it’s Tuesday!
Better late than never, right? Enjoy sweets!

Everybody’s talking about charging premium prices. Growing bigger. Larger. Faster. Stronger. (Oh, wait. That last part’s a Daft Punk song. But you get the idea.)

Honestly – if you’re a newbie to business like most of my clients are – all this talk about leveling-up and charging what you’re worth and all that can feel terrifying. It puts a lot of pressure on somebody who is only trying to learn the ropes.

That’s why I was super stoked to hear Daily Whipstress + the second business coach I ever encountered Erika Lyremark say on a call recently, “Enjoy the slow grow.”

Ah, the slow grow.
Slow is not a word we hear everyday in business, now is it?
But yet taking time to slowwww down & revel in the moment is essential.

Think about it:
This is just the beginning, sweetcheeks. And it’s the beginning of something beautiful. Just like the first few weeks of a new romantic relationship are both exhilarating and slightly OMG-I-may-pee-my-pants terrifying, so are the first few months (or even years) of business-building. It’s something new. It’s something different.

And – don’t you dare forget – it’s something not a lot of people are so lucky to experience.

So this is your permission to take it easy, sugar.

If you can’t run with the big dogs, you CAN enjoy life on the porch.

You do NOT have to go crazy & “upgrade” your products/websites/prices every few months.
You do NOT have to make six figures this year (especially if you can’t even steadily make five).
You do NOT have to quit your job if you need it to feel safe & cared for (not to mention sane).
You do NOT have to charge premium prices if the thought makes your skin crawl.

Instead, I invite you to just breathe into & enjoy this exciting time in your business. You have a lot to learn – but also oodles of space to grow.

So savor it, and remember IT IS NOT ABOUT THE END RESULT.

It’s all about the journey, baby.

(Also: PORCH SWINGS. Who doesn’t love porch swings? Those big dogs out in the yard give up the comfort of PORCH SWINGS. So whose really winning, amiright?)


How I Do it (or, Embrace the Hell Outta What Makes You Weird Because People. Will. Love. It.)

Lately, a lot of people have been asking me how I do it.

And by it, they don’t, IT. (Cause that would be rude. And weird. And probably result in me filing a restraining order.) They mean how I run my business.

And honestly? It kinda sorta trips me out. People are asking little old me for advice on running a business? At first I think, “What the hell do I know?” and then I take a moment. And I realize…Wow. I may not know everything, but I know a helluva lot more today than I did a year ago, or even 3 months ago.

What’s even crazier is that not only do I know business a lot better than I did a year ago, I know myself a lot more today than I did a year ago.

Honestly when I first started copywriting, I was doing two things:
1. Trying to be like everybody else
2. Trying NOT to be like me

Okay, it’s not like I was actively trying NOT to be myself. But I definitely wasn’t looking inward for answers (like I suggested you do through meditation right over hurr).

At the beginning, I think I truly believed that somebody else had some super-sweet secret that would immediately make my business blow up like a sorority girl after the holidays.

I think a lot of us feel that way at first, when encountering new things with fresh eyes for the very first time. (Anybody else totally have a Madonna moment? Ahem. Anyway…)

It seems like everybody has it together & you’re just kinda making it up as you go along & praying the whole operation doesn’t fall apart.

Newsflash: We’re all making it up as we go along.

(But that’s another post for another day.)

So first, I realize that nobody really knows much more than I do. AND THEN I realize that by being me & bringing what I do know to the table, I’m actually doing oodles more good than I ever could hiding behind my MacBook never making a peep.

SO. I took my own advice, and tuned inward to try to ferret out what makes so me uniquely Erica Lee.

And a funny thing happened: I realized that a lot of the things that make me different and awesome at what I do are things I used to dislike about myself.

Ouch, right?

Well let me further explain. Below are a few things I used to loathe about myself, and how they actually make me da bomb at what I do now.

1. Being “overly sensitive” (& crying a lot) seemed dorky & got me picked on a ton.

Now it helps me connect with healers, coaches & therapists & truly understand where their market is coming from because I feel for other people and I’m not without my own problems.

2. Being so in tune with others’ emotions whenever I was in a room with them made me feel like a weirdo, and a people-pleaser (always trying to make the other person feel at ease, although that’s not my job).

Now it helps me read a potential clients’ energy so I can easily decide 1. If we’re a right fit and 2. How committed they are to moving their business forward. (Because you gotta be committed ya’ll. Again, another post for another day.)

3. Feeling – like really, truly, deeply – for other human beings & my freakish ability to slip into their (metaphorical) stilettos (and/or TOMS, if that’s more their thing) made me feel emotionally heavy allllll the time.

Now it’s such an asset to be able to truly connect with business owners and feel the passion for what they do. SUCH. An. Asset.

4. Desperately wishing to be “like other people,” stalking the Instagrams and Tumblrs of gorgeous girls who seemingly had it all (natural beachy blonde waves and a wardrobe Rachel Zoe would envy? Life is so unfair!) & studying them like crazy used to make me feel insecure & different.

Now, I realize my fascination with pretty things and pretty people is based mostly on my desire to know what makes us all tick. And now this deep psychological desire to truly know what determines human behavior helps me do stuff like figure out makes Suzy Q’s coaching business (and sassy lil’ Suzy Q herself) radically different than Suzy A’s coaching business. I’m able to easily see the differences in people & what makes them so darn amaze. And I think I help boost my clients confidence as a result (and rightfully so!) I’ve had many-a-client tell me that after I wrote their bio pages, they totally wanted to befriend themselves. (And not just befriend, but BF-Friend.) Talk about a compliment!

All of this has opened my eyes so much.

In fact, I’ve embraced the idea so wholeheartedly that I’ve decided loving (+ capitalizing on) that thing that makes you a weirdo is a part of my core message.

(And I gotta say, it’s been sooooo much fun helping others discover that “thing” with my Mini Message Sessions which I’ll be offering again soon!)

Now, since you’ve made it this far, I’m gonna go ahead & assume the idea intrigues you. SO. I want you to take a moment today to sit, center yourself + take a few deep breaths. (No, really. Don’t just think about it. Do it, lady!) And then, repeat the following:

I am okay just the way I am.
I can become successful just by being me.
Nothing about me needs to change for me to have a thriving business. NOTHING.

Don’t you feel better already? I thought so!

Your Turn! //

I’d love to know what it is about you that makes you so damn weird – and how you can use that in your business. I challenge you to brainstorm at least one way to totally rock your individuality in your biz. Share it with us in the comments!

I’m Erica Lee Strauss, pixie-sized copywriter, word weaver & marketing maven. I help women entrepreneurs craft conversational copy that sells. I want to live in a world where women rule, people aren’t afraid to say “I love you” and sequins can be worn year-round, without question.

When I’m not working out, downward dogging on my yoga mat and tinkering away on my MacBook, you can find me laughing with friends in the sunshine, sipping chai tea or ferociously writing in my journal. Or shopping.

Keep up with me on twitter @ericaleexo or come hang out over on the Facebook page.

Mind Candy Monday: Never Feel Guilty for Picking Prada Over Payless (or: Post-Shopping Guilt + How to Know When to Splurge)

I grew up in a home where it was not okay to buy brand name things. True story.

(Paradoxically, we were also “not allowed” to shop at Walmart. This may or may not have totally messed me up. But I digress.)

Obvi, this sent a pretty mixed message to a growing girl. It was almost, dare I say, detrimental to me – especially in junior high – when all my friends were wearing Victoria’s Secret G-strings, Abercrombie tees, washing their bouncy, voluminous hair with Pantene Pro V and spritzing themselves with their mom’s “Chanel No. 5”). In my house, spending more than $29.99 on jeans was a near sin.

Except on days it wasn’t.

Every so often, my mom would decide she just had to have something. So, we’d go on a shopping spree. And while we never ended up at the mall like I always prayed, I was still usually over-the-moon grateful. Who cared where I was? I was shopping, baby.

Although the trips were fun, the fun was short-lived. As soon as we stepped outside the store with our treats + trinkets, my mom would flip the script. The stipulations would come. “You know you can’t show this to your dad,” she’d say on the ride home, as I was proudly fingering my latest spaghetti strap tank in the backseat. (My mom always drove me around like a chauffeur. I still don’t quite understand why.)

This wasn’t surprising.

I knew the drill. We’d be able to fondle and fawn over our new purchases in the car, but as soon as we pulled in the driveway, they all had to be packed away.

Then, as a ritual, Mom would check to see if Dad was inside, and if he was, the bags would have to sit in her minivan until he went to sleep and we’d sneak them in stealthily.

Yep. Dad was the worst about spending money.

In his mind, money should only leave our pockets if we were buying something absolutely pertinent to survival. Anything else was deemed unnecessary. Frivolous. And downright selfish.

But you know me. I’m a bit of a rule breaker. And I have never felt the same way as my parents in that department.

Except…actually, I realized last week – I do.

Last week I went on a mini-online shopping bender.

I spent a nice wad of change ON MYSELF. AND on things that I didn’t absolutely need or I’d go hungry/lose my home/not be able to get around. I got a few “trendy” pieces of clothing and a few “basics” I’ve been eyeing for a long time. It all sounds super sensible on paper, and to most people, it probably wouldn’t be a big deal.

But for me? It set off all my crazy internal programming in a major way. Seriously, an immense amount of guilt, shame & overall “icky” feeling kicked in almost as soon as I clicked the “check out” button.

It hit me like a punch in the stomach.

I just felt really fucking guilty for spending money on myself.

Logically, it was ridic. Here I am – after working myself to the bone for the last three months – finally buying myself something nice with money I made with my own two hands (literally…typing is quite a laborious activity for los manos!). (Oh, and did I mention it’s also my birthday next week? Yeah. That, too.)

The thing about irrational beliefs like this is that we know they’re irrational. In my mind I was thinking, “Seriously, any balanced, “spiritual,” normal human being would NOT be freaking out like this” – which honestly only made me feel worse. But for real, why should treating myself to a little somethin’ somethin’ make me feel terrible instead of amazing?

Well old habits die hard, ladies.

I kept thinking over & over: Am I really feeling guilty for buying a hot pair of nude flats I’ll probably wear 100 times in the next year? Am I really beating myself up over purchasing a graphic sweatshirt that says “stay weird” – one of my fave phrases of all time? …Really? Am I?

Oh, but I was.

Even worse, in that moment it hit me: I realized that this “spending money is bad” mindset totally spills over into my business.

Like, I often “talk myself out of” buying the good shit. The fab website. The premium session with the photographer who I know would knock it out of the park. The biz coach w/ the high price tag but phenomenal, life-changing results. (Although there must be a disclaimer on that one. I know that there are times a couple extra zeros tacked on the end of a price not equal a better quality experience. But I also know that sometimes it DOES.)

However, like what happens after most mini-meltdowns, I actually came to a moment of clarity.

Something kinda sorta miraculous happened.

I took a step back. I asked myself why I was truly feeling bad.

And then I realized two undeniable truths:

1) this was an old bullshit mindset + my ego trying to sabotage me feeling and looking fucking awesome (read: changing!)
2) everything I bought I bought because it made me feel fucking awesome + that was absolutely something to feel good about

While comforting, my guilt did not immediately dissipate after these realizations. But it did bring those insights to light.

So, like any balanced, spiritual person would do (wink face!), here I am, (attempting) to make a vow to myself to stop this shopping guilt nonsense.

From this day forward, I vow to give myself permission to purchase & wear things – heck, even eat things – that are high quality JUST BECAUSE I can.

I hereby promise myself to never again let my old thought patterns convince me I should feel bad for choosing Prada over Payless – in business or in life – if it’s what I truly want.

I truly believe that as long as I’m not spending out of my means or being manically reckless with my moolah, I have a RIGHT to want (and have) the best. Creme de la creme. Top shelf shizz, y’know.

But, a word of warning to any of you ladies reading this like, “Yes! I knew I should put that coaching package on a line of credit! Thanks, Erica!” This is NOT a permission slip to put things like y’know, paying bills or having enough cash to buy toilet paper at the bottom of your To Buy list. Those things – the essentials for survival – NEED to take precedence over anything else. They just have to.

I’ve done the whole “Oh I’ll just buy this fancy dinner and then..I don’t know…eat Ramen noodles for a week if I have to.” No. Just no.

If a true lack of money is what’s preventing you from investing in yourself or your business – keep it that way. Get to a place where you actually have extra bucks in your checking account to spend.

BUT when you DO have a cash cushion?

Don’t be afraid to splurge every once in awhile. Don’t be afraid to let yourself buy the designer jeans because you know damn well you’ll wear them much longer than the Target cheapies.

So, how do you know when to choose Prada over Payless?

Here are some hard-n-fast rules:

1. You have the money. (Duh, right!) But I mean like, it’s not on credit or stretching you far beyond your means.

2. It will help you make MORE money. (Although use some serious discretion on this one. While I’ve never regretted taking a business or copywriting course, I have absolutely regretted doing it at the time that I did. Don’t do it when the money is tight, yo.)

3. It’s something that you know you’ll use, over & over & over again. I am all about quality shoes, coats & jeans. Because I wear them all. the. freaking. time.. and they still look awesomesauce. Quality is worth paying more for.

Your Turn! // Do you have any guilt around spending money on yourself? How do you gauge when you should splurge and when you should pass? Tell us in the comments! xo


I’m Erica Lee Strauss, pixie-sized copywriter, word weaver & marketing maven. I help women entrepreneurs craft conversational copy that sells. I want to live in a world where women rule, people aren’t afraid to say “I love you” and sequins can be worn year-round, without question.

When I’m not working out, downward dogging on my yoga mat and tinkering away on my MacBook, you can find me laughing with friends in the sunshine, sipping chai tea or ferociously writing in my journal. Or shopping.

Keep up with her on twitter @ericaleexo or come hang out over on the Facebook page.