Every Monday at 8:30am, whether showered or not, I join my friend Kelly for a video call and we chat about our week. It has become my most important business tool.
How it started
Kelly is a fellow small business owner like me. Her business, The Homebody Society, sells gifts and goods for those who love plants, books, and the coziness of their home. Kelly’s products are in over 250 retail stores across the US, and she also has her own retail shop where you can purchase custom stamps, engraved wooden spoons, and other specialized goodies. She’s a mom, a champion of chronic pain and illness, and the person I’m able to call to complain about meal planning as well as quarterly tax estimates. We met the first year I went to quilt market and fell in fast friendship love over bowls of broccoli cheddar soup, Hoverounds zooming all around us.
After our friendship was sparked and we found ourselves often chatting about the same things (projects, goals, the reality of life, and trying to manage it all in a way that wasn’t crazy-making), I asked Kel if she would be down to meet in a more regular fashion, to hold each other accountable to the things we say we’re going to do, and to be a sanity check from the outside for each other’s businesses (especially important for soloprenuers who can’t get distance from their own business to see what’s what). She said yes, and it’s been a weekly date ever since.
How it works
The meeting is comprised of three chunks (four if you count the opening pleasantries and review of the previous week), cobbled together from prompts we loved from Amber Rae’s IG account, and the practical check-ins we know we need to touch on. Here’s a run down of how the meeting runs, and here’s a worksheet to follow along:
Hello, how are you?
We always start by just saying hi. Sometimes we only need a minute or two before hopping into the actual meeting, and sometimes we need a whole half hour to debrief on anything big (like the time Kelly’s engraving machine caused a freaking fire in her basement).
Last week’s meeting
We both take notes during the meeting, and the first order of business is to do a read through of the prior meeting, and to check in with how it went. Did we prioritize the things we said we would? Why not? Did we leave behind the things we said we would? What changed throughout the week?
Pt 1: Where are we right now?
Next we both get quiet and work our way through Amber Rae’s “End of Week Check In” prompts. We like to think of this as the “I am here” part of the meeting, where we just take stock to see what’s present in this moment and true for us. The important bit for the whole meeting is to trust what comes up; some weeks are deeper and more emotional, other times our answers are short, or funny, or boringly practical. All of it is golden treasure.
- I feel
- I need
- I forgive
- I celebrate
- I release
- I trust
After Kelly and I each take our time to quietly write our answers to our prompts, we take turns reading and chatting through our responses together.
Pt 2: What’s on our plates?
Next we take a look at the projects, obligations, goals, appointments, and other timely things that we’re currently committed to. This is a high level view that helps us remember the big things (client work, deadlines, bookkeeping/accounting, admin tasks, errands, etc).
After we see what’s really on our plate, we ask ourselves the ever important question of “what can I put all the way on the back-burner?” This is important because it reminds us that a) we can’t do everything at once and b) it frees up our energy and brain space to actively decide we won’t be focusing on something for the coming week.
Pt 3: Where do we want to go from here?
Similar to part 1, the final leg of the meeting asks us to get quiet again and answer another set of Amber Rae prompts, this time looking forward to the week ahead and how we hope to approach it:
- My #1 Priority this week is
- I want to do less
- I want to do more
- This week I want to feel
- To feel this way I will
- If I get stuck, I’ll remember
After we each take our time to write answers to the prompts, we take turns sharing and chatting about our responses together.
Finding your buddy
In January, Kelly and I did a livestream of our MMM for others to see how we use this method as an intersection for our lives and businesses, and it’s been so exciting to hear feedback about people finding their own buddies and starting their own regular meetings. If you’re inspired to do the same, here are a few of the things that I think make a great meeting buddy:
- Someone you can trust, or feel comfortable sharing with: This may seem obvious, but sometimes we get a little star struck or intimidated by our peers, and it’s not going to be productive if you show up to the meeting and feel like you need to be some perfect other version of yourself. You want to meet with someone who you feel like yourself around.
- Someone with similar values: Kelly runs a product business and I run a service business – they’re actually very different beasts – but we’re able to meet in a meaningful place because we value the same things. We value building businesses that support our lives and not the other way around, we value quality of life (on our terms), we value sharing, we value doing what is right for us and putting our middle finger up to the Jones’s. We do not care about maximizing our profits at all costs, or sales funnels, or social media strategies. There’s nothing wrong with these things, but if we cared about wildly different metrics, it’d be very difficult to find our way through together.
- Someone with a flexible and/or similar schedule: Accountability and regularity are important ingredients in making these meetings valuable, so try to find someone who will be able to pin down a regular time that works for both of you, or at least has the same expectations around how frequently you’ll commit to meeting together.
As I mentioned above, in January we did a livestream of our meeting to inspire fellow business owners to try out Monday morning meetings for themselves. It was a hit, and so we committed to doing a MMM Watch Party each quarter. Watch Parties are free to attend, and most importantly are NOT a sales pitch for our own businesses – we’ve got nothing to sell to you except the idea that meeting with someone you trust to chat about your plans could help you out in a big way.