In The Arena, Leigh/Anne Corner



If you missed part one of this interview with Heather Smith please check it out here! 

Did you have a background in websites? Ebook design? or did you learn along the way?

Before I launched I owned and operated my own Web Design business. I have an Associates degree in Veterinary Technology but realized quickly the pay and hours as a Vet. Tech. were not a good match for my goals as a professional barrel racer. The education was (and still is) valuable to me, but I needed more income and flexibility! My background in web and graphic design is certainly an asset to what I do now because other than outsourcing some occasional web site programming, I do that myself. I should note that I didn’t start out with any formal training in web or graphic design. I taught myself HTML in my spare time while in college, began by creating my own web site, then eventually designing for others. I was working on web sites after my “regular” full-time job for several years before I made a full-time business out of it, which I did for about 10 years before phasing away and focusing on my horses and full-time.

What is a work day like for you? 

I get up at 4:30 every week day and have always had a pretty involved morning routine. I read a daily devotional and write a couple sentences in a journal before even getting out of bed. Then I whip up a protein shake and do some personal development reading for at least 30 minutes. Next I workout for 30 minutes, shower, eat breakfast #2 and depending on the time of year/weather either head to my home office or out to the barn. (Always to the barn first in the summer months to ride when it’s cool). I’m very disciplined and am an introvert so I don’t mind spending time alone. On average I spend about half my day with our horses and the other half working on new content for my site, my weekly social media plan or new projects. Sometimes when I’m creating a new book for example, I like to dive into that full-time while the horses have a vacation. I try not to do that for more than two months at a time though, since horse time and my sanity go hand in hand! We have three horses right now and my time with them consists of daily therapy, conditioning and training based on what my goals are. Now that we’re finally feeling settled in TX I am starting to get out and compete again at open barrel races and some pro rodeos.

Many people that are self-employed are pro’s at time management? What is your secret?

I’m not perfect in this area because when it comes to creating something BIG, like writing a book for example – it’s common to face resistance. It seems that once I get rolling, it’s much easier to keep going so the fewer distractions and interruptions, the better. It takes some time for me to “get in the zone” so there’s no way I’d get much accomplished if I could only chip away at projects a few minutes at a time. So I must have big time blocks that I really protect. I close my email, log off social media and just dive in. I’ve also learned the importance of taking appropriate breaks – it’s like clearing the cache in our minds and we come back with so much more mental power for maximum productivity. I can get more done in twenty minutes than I could have in two hours by just trying to grind it out for hours.

My husband and I do several things specifically for the purpose of saving time, including hiring out house cleaning and lawn moving, we do meal prep on the weekends, order home delivered meals from Diet-to-Go, try to do as much shopping as possible in bulk, and also utilize Amazon Prime. We don’t watch TV and often listen to business-related podcasts. I’m really working toward making what I do more efficient and self-sustainable so I have even more freedom to travel and rodeo, since making the NFR for example is more than a full-time job by itself.

Talk about failure and starting your own business, what steps did you take not to fail?

I feel like I got a slow start on my horse goals, which left me feeling behind where I wanted to be with my barrel racing. There was one area that I knew I could get ahead though, and that was by being the hardest worker. I got out run a lot but never outworked. I whole heartedly applied this idea to my first business. When I made the break to operating my web design business full-time, my husband was nervous about it. I became a workaholic in an effort to make absolutely sure it was a success. I was determined not to fail, it was not an option. My business WAS successful but my marriage did suffer and eventually my health did too. I once went about three years averaging 5 hours of sleep per night. These days sleep deprivation is like some ridiculous badge of honor people wear, but I know looking back it’s no joke. Being a top performer in any area requires high-level self-care – which includes quality rest, diet and exercise. It’s non-negotiable, and I know that now in hindsight. Businesses will always require more time in the launch phase, but if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything, and nothing is worth sacrificing relationships with your loved ones. There is a fine line between badass and burnout. We have to learn to work smart vs. hard and know where the boundary lines are for the sacrifices we’re willing to make.

Heather is very disciplined and she utilizes her time each day to make sure she is the most productive. As you can see, she reads every day and takes time to LEARN. She is utilizing the “5 Hour Rule.” Make sure you are signed up for our Enewsletter, because this week we go in to detail about the 5 Hour Rule and how you need to incorporate this in to your daily life.

You may also enjoy:
Level Up Series Introductions
Your Guide to Barrel Racing Clinicians
Leg Therapy Must Haves

Be sure and PIN for later: