About Jeff Hellenbrand

Jeff Hellenbrand is obsessed with helping wedding entrepreneurs love their business and their life. If you don't have the business you want, it's because you aren't having enough fun. Learn how in the free teleclass.

Beating Holiday Stress: Part 3

audre lordeCreate a Self-Care Plan

Okay, you’re starting to feel better about the holidays. You’ve assessed your button pushers and added some tools to your stress-busting toolbelt. If you’re anything like me, the second you get into holiday season, all of that goes out the window and you’re back in survivor mode: frazzled, hunting for last-minute gifts and beating back other target shoppers with your plastic basket. Don’t fall back into the holiday-stress vortex. This year, you and I are going to have a plan. And we’re going to stick to it.

Assess your button pushers. If you missed this post, read up here. Knowing what causes you stress this season will help you figure out how to beat that stress. Take an honest look at which people, places, pets and times cause you the most stress. Decide not to let them drive you nuts this year.

Match your stressors up with your tools. Part 2 of this series was all about creating your own tool belt. What can you do to prevent a meltdown at dinner? How can you ensure a good time (for yourself and others) around the fire this year? For each of your button-pushers, figure out the best tool. Make a list (no need to check it twice).
Continue reading

How to Beat Holiday Stress: Part 2

20121123-004105.jpgBuilding Your Stress-Busting Tool Belt

As much as I love the holidays, they often bring a bunch of unwanted stress into my life. In Part One, we did some self-reflection on our button-pushers. Today, we’re assembling our stress-busting tool belts (don’t be caught without yours) on how to beat holiday stress. You don’t have to do everything on the list, just find your favorites. Let’s dive in!

Use visualization. Great professional athletes use this technique to make them even better. Try visualizing yourself in a situation that normally stresses you out. Instead of getting stressed, visualize yourself responding calmly and even having fun. Rehearse often for the biggest benefit.

Get super creative with exercise. I think one reason we stress during the holidays is that we stop doing things that are good for us. Working out isn’t just good for your waistline, it’s essential for your mental well-being. If it’s not realistic to hit the gym while you’re out of town for a week, get creative and find new ways to get exercise. Start a snowball fight, take a dog for a walk or offer to help bring chairs from downstairs.

Continue reading

How to Beat Holiday Stress: Part 1

Know Your Button-Pushers

The holidays can be absolutely wonderful. Strangers showing kindness. Meals shared among family and friends. Drunk co-workers embarrassing themselves at the company holiday party.

But remember that lady that pepper-sprayed another Walmart customer on Black Friday in 2011? Yeah, that was crazy. Somebody pushed her buttons and she snapped. Here are some questions for you to consider so you don’t wind up in the slammer for assault-by-condiment:

Continue reading

Am I Planning or Just Worrying?

Regret lives in the past, worry lives in the future. You live in the present. Stay awhile.I spend a lot of time thinking about the future. I’m a business owner so it’s important that I make plans and projections and know where things are headed. Right? Most of the time, it’s helpful to think about the future. But sometimes it’s not helpful at all. When my planning starts turning into worry, I’m in trouble.

The reason worrying is so dangerous is that our thoughts have incredible power in our lives. Businesses have collapsed just because the owner kept thinking about the worst-case scenario. And I’ve seen my businesses blossom when I am focused on what I want (instead of what I don’t). But that’s not all. We have powerful imaginations. So even though there is only one actual future, we can worry about a hundred different outcomes at once. Scary, huh? Continue reading

3 Steps to Crush Information Overload

I love information. The internets have opened up the entire world to us. I’ll start out on Facebook, read some blogs and follow the links until I’m lost in the great interweb vortex. It’s more like drowning than surfing. As much as I love being connected, sometimes it’s too much. When I start to feel like a zombie, I know I’ve got to switch it up before I lose my mind completely.


Here’s how I beat information overload:

1. Shut it down, ladies. I literally turn off the computer, iPhone, whatever. When I’m totally maxed out, I’ve got to completely disconnect.

2. Get the heck out (or in). Continue reading

Don’t Get More Brides, Get Better Brides

photo credit: Team Twilight

Do you want to get more brides? Wedding entrepreneurs (especially with new businesses) spend a lot of time thinking about how to get more clients. Being really good at what you do is important, but it doesn’t matter if brides aren’t hiring you. All businesses need clients. The danger comes when we begin to think that getting more brides is all that matters.

What happens when all we want to do is “get more brides”?

We start working with poor-fit clients. They aren’t very fun to hang out with. They don’t get our jokes. And worst of all…

Brides don’t like our work. If the client isn’t a good fit, there’s a good chance they won’t be thrilled with our work, even if it’s amazing. And, lastly… Continue reading

Guest Post: How I Created a Viral Blog in 4 Months

CT Designs Inc logoI am so grateful to Jeff for asking me to share the story of how I was able to dramatically increase my blog traffic… Our numbers are still climbing and I couldn’t be happier.

My blogging history was sporadic at best. I would post maybe once or twice a week if I found the time. I wanted more traffic, but always thought I was just too busy to be a consistent blogger. I read somewhere that Google search engines are friendlier to blogs who’s content is refreshed 3-4 times per week.

Well starting in September 2011, I did just that and my blog traffic went through the roof. The following are some steps I took and hopefully they can help you as well:

  • I began to produce more content for my blog. Sounds elementary right? Honestly though, while it may seem daunting, as long as you can block out some time to store up multiple blogs, you won’t fall behind.
  • I made sure that my blog titles were more search engine friendly than they were “pithy”. It is always tempting to title your blog in a witty fashion, but its not always best if you’d like for your blog to pop up during searches. Continue reading

Pug Road Trip: Our New (Temporary) Home

Jeff and the pugs

credit: emilypearl on Instagram

We made it! After our mild hazing at the Canadian border and a brief stint in Vancouver, we continued our drive up the 101, taking a couple of ferry rides, to reach our final destination. We didn’t know what to expect, but we love it. Our little four-room cabin would feel cramped if it were even one foot smaller. As it is, we have just enough space for the four of us to coexist peacefully (so far).

The pugs are in heaven. They are free to chase each other and dig for tiny, dead crabs (super gross), their new favorite pastime. What can I say? They love seafood. Roscoe and Relvis used to hate birds, but there are so many here that they leave them alone for the most part. Instead, they have taken a passionate stance on the small squirrels here that scamper along our porch railing every fifteen minutes, clutching empty peanut shells. There is no limit to the pugs’ burning hatred of these furry creatures. Continue reading

Pug Road Trip: The Border… and Vancouver


Courtesy of emilypearl on Instagram

Emily was really nervous as we approached the border. Which was silly, since we had nothing to be nervous about – that’s just how she gets (I always laugh at how people who never get into trouble with the law are always the most nervous around authority figures. These are the people who have absolutely nothing to hide.) But her anxiety was validated when our friends got waived through at the border and we were asked to “step inside.” We parked the car and left the pugs to defend it from inside by eyeballing passing cars. After verbally berating us, the customs officer asked us for paper copies of some random documents. We had digital copies, but in Canada, digital isn’t real. The officer actually got out the paperwork to turn us away at the border, when a friend (thanks, De!) saved the day by faxing (they don’t have email, go figure) the documents. The officer was pleased with the ink-on-dead-trees approach and finally let us through, but not before stapling a fat chunk of paper to each of our passports. Continue reading

Pug Road Trip: Portland, Pork and Purple Doughnuts

grilled cheese grill schoolbus

Courtesy of emilypearl on Instagram.

Ah, Portland. Everyone told us it really is like the show “Portlandia.” Well, we confirmed it. At least in the Northeast neighborhood, where we spent our couple of days. Everything is homegrown, fresh from the “bins” (read: dumpster) and off the grid. Our tiny side-apartment (one of our airbnb.com finds) even had chickens in the backyard for fresh eggs. The pugs, sensing their opportunity, wanted chicken dinner, but, alas, there was a fence preventing their feast. And they are slower (and dumber) than chickens. One flew out of the coop and Roscoe chased it around.

Portland is laid-back, earthy and bordering on dirty.
We loved it.

emily and a vw bus

Courtesy of emilypearl on Instagram. So hot.

We found a secret garden of sorts, the newly-established Nargila Garden. Don’t bother checking out the website, though, because they’ve taken “too-cool-to-care” (when it comes to internets) to the extreme in Portland. Continue reading