Here's the thing: simple abundance

How to find simple abundanceAs I write, I have a list of ten blog posts I want to write. This subject of simple abundance didn’t quite make the list this week, especially as I posted about finding enough last week, but it really feels like what I want to say today, so here it is.

Abundance is a challenging concept when we’ve lived in a world that forces scarcity down our throats in a bid to get us to work really hard, buy the “right” things. In a world where having the majority of people feel inadequate is “good” for business – good for capitalism.

Abundance is a challenging concept for small business owners, entrepreneurs and creatives. When you’re self-employed, there’s a leap of faith. A client asked me this week if I thought that it ever stops being uncertain. The answer, truthfully, is no, I don’t think life ever stops being uncertain, we just get better at trusting it and ourselves. We just get better at making huge leaps of faith.

Abundance is a challenging concept for parents, especially when you’re a small business owner, but also just in general. It can feel like there’s an infinite amount of time, money, and energy you need or could spend on your children and your life. And how do you teach your children the resilience required to live in a world that believe in scarcity, when you’re afraid yourself?

First, let’s just decide to believe that you are stronger than you currently believe. You have resources you haven’t even dreamt of. Or perhaps you remember a time in your life when you really had to dig deep – you know what you have within you. Except there’s more.

And then let’s decide that there’s enough in the world for everyone. There’s plenty, in fact. Perhaps that’s quite a suspension of disbelief for you. Just try it on for a while. There’s plenty of time, money, resources, customers, ideas, opportunity, love, space. It’s just a matter of seeing it.

The trick, really, is to be able to see it.

And that requires a hell of a lot of strength. Because you have to get really clear about what you want more of (and what you don’t). You have to keep holding yourself to want you want, and set up all these boundaries around it, so that you’re not leaking out your time and energy to things that don’t give you what you want.

That hour you spent scrolling through Facebook? Not giving you what you want. The time you spent lying awake wondering what to do about such and such project? Not giving you what you want. The energy you spend second guessing yourself, or the world, or your customers? Not giving you what you want.

Here’s the thing:

Start finding your own simple abundance in the everyday. Discover for yourself that there’s plenty right in front of you. And start finding the leaks and gently, carefully, sealing them up.

Abundance is the fully functional tap in your kitchen. As much water as you like, whenever you like! And hey, is that a kettle I see over there? You already have the means to make as much delicious, comforting tea as you like. Do not compromise on tea. Get your absolute favourite out right now and enjoy it! Maybe you even spend a moment feeling grateful for everyone who has made it possible for you to drink such a delicious cup of tea – the tea-pickers, the tea company, whoever invented tea bags or tea pots, the shop you bought it from, the plumber who hooked you up to the water main, the kettle manufacturer. Simple abundance, in a cup.

Abundance is the 10,000 (approximate figure) opportunities I see on a daily basis. To create an amazing pop up shop. To send out brilliant press releases. To put yourself out there. To add personalisation to that product. To improve your photography. Endless tweaks, and big business ideas. But listen: you can’t see them if you’re caught up in scarcity or fear or busy-busy. You get to choose how busy you are. Choose the things that bring you closer to abundance, rather than feeling unfocused and weary.

Some leaks to fix:

  • Social media. Switch off your notifications for at least an hour a day, if not more. Feel the clarity rush back into your brain.
  • Working when you’re over-tired. Rest is essential to productivity. The better rested you are, the more efficient you’ll be. Sleep. Have a lie down. Seriously, have a lunch break or a quiet sit today.
  • Requests you don’t want to agree to. Do you keep getting caught up in doing people favours that aren’t fun, or dealing with customer requests that take up your time? Put a boundary around your time and sanity, and say no. Consistently. With grace. And then move on.
  • Email. I don’t have the answers to this, but start by unsubscribing from anything you don’t read. And then set up filters or rules to move any notifications into a folder. Simple abundance.

These are the small tasks that take courage, energy and strength to do the first time. But I promise that as you do them more, they’ll become less of an effort. You’ll be able to say no with ease, and you’ll realise how much benefit you get out of keeping your energy for yourself and your business.

Abundance is simple. It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be a sudden increase in sales or income. It doesn’t have to be a mansion or a yacht. It can be a cup of tea and an entire hour to yourself.

Give yourself abundance. The world isn’t going to. But you definitely can.


PS My new ecourse, Inspired Action, is now open for registration. Taking place in July, it’ll include four weeks of inspiration and guidance to help you start or improve selling online. It’s basically everything I know about setting up shop! Read more and register here.

Here's the thing: how to stop financial over-worrying

how to stop financial overworryingWorrying about finances – do I have enough? how do I get more? how do I spend less? – is the sort of thing that keeps us awake at 3am, tossing and turning, imagining all the wonderful new ways we’re going to make money to that we can be safe.

In the 21st century, money and having enough taps into our survival instinct as human beings. We know that this is the equivalent of have a safe and secure cave. We use money to buy food and the fundamental things we need to live. So of course, that ultimate survival part of our brain worries about it.

Here’s something I’ve noticed: yes, there’s a need to plan finances and be responsible. But there’s also a need to change the way we view money in our small businesses (so linked to putting bread on the table tomorrow).

When we believe that there fundamentally isn’t enough money for us to have everything we need, and perhaps some things we want, we stress ourselves out and, somehow, make that come true.

We get caught up in doubt about our product or service offering. Perhaps we over-invest in ideas because we need something to work, not realising that we could have just invested fully in one idea that would come through. The worry about having enough means we rush products to market before they’re ready, and then we have a lower return on investment.

Here’s the thing

I wanted to share a few pointers on being happier with your finances. These aren’t the sorts of things your accountant is going to tell you, but they make a big difference to me.

Connect with the reality of your finances regularly – every day if possible. Whether that means looking at your bank balance or your accounting software, or your own spreadsheet, take a moment each day or every other day to get a good realistic look at what you’ve got right now. Having a firm grasp on reality helps us make good decisions.

Change the story you tell yourself about money. Consciously move from ‘Oh help, that’s not enough. I’m not doing very well. I’m going to struggle to get by’ to ‘That’s less than I would like, but it’s plenty to see me through right now. I’ve got plenty of potential, and I’m determined to prioritise the things I really need and want.’ Once you start thinking differently, the worry doesn’t take over as easily.

Make sure that you’re working towards long term abundance. If you know you’re working on projects you’re proud of, are high quality, and have good commercial potential, lower bank balances become bearable. You can start to see them more as blips in the grand scheme of things. You’re investing time and energy wisely, choosing projects carefully, and not just blindly following every single idea or opportunity that comes your way. You’re chipping away at the immense amount of free marketing tools we have these days to promote existing products or services, and you’re building a business slowly (because it is a slow process). This will also help you feel like you’re investing the money you do have wisely.

Feel grateful for the money, work, stuff and opportunities you do have. I honestly believe this works to help you attract more money/work, and to help the gremlins at 3am be quiet. Practice writing down or saying out loud what you’re grateful for. If your home is secure, be grateful for it. If you get some sales, love those customers, and be grateful they’re there. If you have a wardrobe full of clothes you love, be grateful that you can keep wearing them. And be grateful for any windfalls that come your way. Any little ways you find to save money, or a fiver you find in the sofa. Be grateful for the little things when they pop up.

Okay, so it’s not a watertight plan to make you a millionaire by the end of the year. But in this world of freelance work and no steady income, it can certainly help you to find solid ground and feel better about where you are. In my own life and business, I’m incredibly grateful for what I have, and for every single person who decides my work is worth their hard-earned cash.

Happy (and abundant) Friday!


Here's the thing: Abundance

I hope we all make itEvery Friday I post a “here’s the thing” blog. “Here’s the thing” is something my mum (and many other wise people) like to say when they’re about to make a good point. Hopefully these posts are also good points.

I know, I know. “Abundance”. It’s a Stephen Covey Americanism. I don’t think I used, thought or wrote the word until long after I read his book several years ago. And I didn’t realise it then, but the idea of abundance has (slowly, gradually) had a really big impact on my beliefs. Cheers, Steve.

So while I appreciate it might feel a bit cheesy, I’m going to ask you to bear with me, because I really believe that abundance – the idea that there’s enough and more for everyone – will have a profound impact on your business.

Money. Customers. Ideas. PR features. Holidays. Food. Friends. Lovers.

There are things we believe we’ll never have enough of, but in our minds, they are in shockingly limited supply. You may worry about some or all of that list above. You might have your own unique additions, but those are broadly the biggies for small businesses and people in general.

We believe that we need money to live – four walls, ceiling, food, tax. We believe that we need customers to give us money (and boy do we worry that there won’t be any customers left for us in six months). We believe that we’ve only got so many ideas inside us, that they’ll run out and then no one will want to work with us.

I’m not about to tell you to stop thinking about how to get more customers, or whether your profit margins are healthy. These are all important things to think about. It’s the way we think about them, and our beliefs about them, that are important.

The opposite of abundance is scarcity. If we believe there aren’t enough customers for everybody, that we’ll lose out, that it can’t be done if we’re not chosen for a homepage feature, then we limit ourselves. We’ll stop seeing the opportunities to find customers, connect with them, be nice to them, because we don’t believe they exist.

I see this in my clients. They’re still in scarcity mode, where they don’t have enough. They’re worried about investing in another staff member or stock. They’re worried they won’t sell enough to justify the cost. And my face says ‘huh?’. They’re serious. They can’t see how much it’s going to benefit them and, honestly, how much it’s going to be fine. When you invest, you step up. You make it work.

When we believe we don’t have any (or enough) money, so we don’t spend any money, so we don’t get any return. We create our own false economies – hey, look, I bought this cheaper version! Oh, wait, it doesn’t work so I have to spend just as much if not more on making it work. Or, I can’t afford to hire someone, so I’ll have to say no to new opportunities.

When you believe in abundance, what you value changes. You see things differently. You see that hiring someone with more experience or enthusiasm gives you more than hiring the person who’ll do it for less.

You see that there are enough customers for everyone. Yes, competition exists and it’s important to think about where you sit in the market, what you offer that others don’t, and all those things. But when you simply focus on connecting with the customers who want your products, rather than the customers who want someone else’s products – that’s when you make meaningful connections and things start to grow.

Here’s the thing:

Fear takes over. A lot. Especially if you’ve been in places that felt truly scarce, where you really didn’t have any money, or a safe place to live, or anyone to call on when you needed help. The recent recession didn’t help, and it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s completely over when you read the headlines these days.

It’s hard to un-remember those times, but they’re just a memory. You did survive them. There’s much more than there was then.

Imagine you’re in a world where everyone has enough, if they choose to see it. There are people who want you to do your thing, successfully. They want your products, your brand, your voice. They see value in what you offer. But you have to give them something so that they can see it.

Believing in abundance is very much connected to your self-esteem. Do you believe you’re worthy of everything you want and need? And that’s not something one blog post can instil in you.

But my parting message is this: believe, just a little bit, that there is more than enough for everyone. Take this little nudge towards being relaxed about buying in more stock than you think you need, or employing someone really good. When you step up your input, it shines through. You’re taking yourself seriously, and so will your customers.


Enter The Forge

Life's too damn short to chase someone else's definition of success. I'm here to give you the courage and tools to forge your own path.