“Are your clients like me?”

I’ve had a few calls with potential new clients recently. Mostly women wanting to take stock, refine their plans, and work on overcoming some blocks in their business while things are… different.

I was reflecting on the themes coming up for these brilliant humans in business, curious to see whether these times are bringing up anything specific for creatives and small businesses.

Perhaps this was also on their minds too because I did spot a theme: several of the women I’ve spoken to asked a variation on the question, “Are your clients like me?”

Do other people struggle with this?

Am I unusual?

Is this unfixable, or can you help?

Am I in the right place?

My work isn’t for everyone, and there are certain things I don’t help with. I’m not an expert in Facebook ads. I’m not an accountant or an HR specialist. I’m not a designer or a web developer. There are plenty of wonderful experts out there who specialise in this kind of work.

I’m also not a coach who is purely focused on six-figure turnover, on churning out hundreds of products for the masses, or on making a quick quid with no substance. I’m sure there are business coaches and mentors out there who can help with that. (Though I don’t know that I can recommend one…)

So if I’m answering, “Am I in the right place?” there are several factors to my answer.

But if you’re wondering if you’re the only one struggling with confidence, getting organised, creating a sustainable business, making the right decisions for you, or cutting out the noise, you are definitely not alone. My clients are like you.

And while I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s “fixable”, my work is here to help you dial up the volume on your authentic voice, your unique offerings, your fabulous skills, and turn the volume DOWN on the noise that distracts you from success.

I LOVE to help creative humans define their own success.

I’m a sucker for asking questions that delve deeper, and listening to allllll the answers.

And I delight in giving business owners compassionate accountability and structure to get them taking action in the right direction for them.

If you’re wondering if my clients are like you, here’s an incomplete but quick overview of my clients:

  • My clients are mostly women with creative businesses, though I have a couple of non-creative business owners and women considering starting a business in the future
  • My clients have a hunch they could be earning more, doing better, or feeling happier, but they’re not quite sure how to get there
  • My clients have a lot of thoughts, and usually apologise for saying too much, or that it’s all “a mess” (when really this is a key part of the work we do together)
  • My clients usually need a little nudge towards more confidence to do the thing they really want to do or are scared of doing
  • My clients sometimes need to ask uncomfortable questions, and be gently encouraged out of their comfort zone
  • My clients usually need or want homework, accountability, and clarity on the most important thing for them to do

We’re all humans in business. We all need support from time to time, whether it’s help setting up a new website, or creating a business strategy, or getting out of our own way.

If you’re looking for support, I’d love to hear from you – even if you’re not sure I’m the right person! Chances are I can recommend someone who is.

You can also join me on Mondays at 12pm for a group call to get a taste of what it’s like to work with me. Join Progress not Perfection – my group programme – currently Pay What You Can and I’ll share all the call details!

We ask the wrong question first

In general, in my coaching practice (and life), I tend not to blanket things as “right” and “wrong”. Things can only be right or wrong for you in this moment, and even the wrong things can turn out to be right.

So I guess what I’m trying to tell you is that I wrote the title of this blog post out of succinctness rather than accuracy! Here’s the long version:

We tend to focus first on a question that doesn’t often serve us

Catchy, hey?

Editing issues aside, you probably want to know the question. To be honest, I don’t think you’re going to like it. Not at first, at least.

Here it is: The question that needs to wait is, “What should I do?”

I spend a lot of time helping business owners and clever, creative humans to prioritise their to do list, make action plans, and even write business plans.

The value I add, the place we spend our time, the process is not, in fact, writing the list.

It’s easy to write a list. It’s easy to find 10 things to do. I bet you have 10 things you think you should be doing right now.

The value and the wisdom and the secret key to success is asking a whole load of questions (and maybe getting some answers) BEFORE you ask what you should do.

Questions like:

  • What am I really hoping to achieve?
  • How do I want to feel?
  • What’s the most important thing for me right now?

(More of my favourite questions are available for free right here.)

The more you can understand the problem you’re trying to solve, the business you’re trying to create, and the world you’re trying to influence, the easier it is to write a meaningful, prioritised to do list.

So, when you’re looking at your list, when you’re wondering what to do, rather than panicking or rushing, try taking a breath.

Remember what matters most to you.

Remember that you’re capable and clever and creative.

Remember that going fast in the wrong direction isn’t that helpful.

Remember what your direction looks and feels like.

Then ask that pesky question.

***

Again, my 20 favourite coaching questions are available for free right here.

And my Progress not Perfection group has a prioritising group call on Monday at 12pm. You can join on a pay-what-you-can basis.

Now even more so…

How are you, friend? Where are you on the rollercoaster right now?

Like many, I’m up and down, exhausted and hopeful, trying and then resting. I’m incredibly grateful to be home, safe, well, with my humans. I’m grateful to be able to show up here on my blog, occasionally on social media, and for my clients and groups.

The conversations with clients and the things I’ve been thinking about have often brought moments of “This! We need to think about THIS!” shortly followed by, “But we have always needed to think about that…”

I’ve started naming it the Now Even More So principle.

Here are some examples:

Comparison

We know, don’t we, that comparison is the thief of joy. Right now, it’s not only the thief of joy, but also the thief of sanity and survival.

While real life is kind of shut down – shops are closed, we’re not going out – the internet is very, very alive. And some of the internet is amazing, supportive, truly great.

But I know that for many of us, comparison has increased dramatically. We’re looking to our peers and our leaders and our favourites to show us what to do. We’re not sure what we should be doing. And so we slip into a comfortable groove amongst all the uncertainty:

We compare ourselves to others.

Friends, if this has been you, and most likely is has been, I offer compassion. It is natural to compare. It’s sooooo easy. But no one is you. No one has your exactly skills or experience or situation. And no, you don’t have to keep up with anyone right now.

Whatever you can do to reduce this very human form of self-torture, prioritise it! Don’t drive yourself insane.

Money

I think this is where a lot of us have been hanging out, too. The money worries.

Again, we can worry about money at the best of times, can’t we? And yet Now Even More So.

Clients who don’t usually worry about money are freaking out. People who’ve been in business for a really long time are struggling. Because none of us have ever been here before.

I thoroughly recommend working with an accountant to get the best financial advice for your business, and reviewing the government’s guidance on what you are eligible for.

Know that any situation you’re in right now is not your fault. It’s really easy (for me, too) to blame ourselves, to think that we should have prepared more or that this has hit us harder because we messed up.

This is not your fault.

Any time we worry about money, it hinders creativity, which is ultimately how we get out of sticky situations. The aim, as ever, is to release the worry – or at least put it on pause – while you allow your wisest, most creative, most resourceful self to be in charge.

You have survived. You may need to make hard decisions. You may need to ask for help. But right now, you just have to make the next decision, the one right in front of you.

Discernment

There are, on any given day, about a billion possibilities. This is still true. There are SO MANY options available to you.

I find this a comforting and encouraging thought.

But it also means we have to flex our discernment muscles. During normal times (remember them?), we practice discernment and prioritisation. Well, Now Even More So.

Discernment isn’t about making perfect decisions. I repeat: this is not about perfection!

It’s about choosing the things that matter to you, and the things that don’t. Sometimes, it’s about choosing ONE thing that matters most, and letting others take a back seat for the time being.

It’s about saying no to one thing so that you can say yes to a better thing.

Discernment is a muscle. It requires head and heart. In these uncharted waters, we need both Now Even More So.

What else?

There are more of the Now Even More Sos. Imposter syndrome, focusing on one thing at a time, grieving past decisions, creating community, marketing with authenticity… Not to mention environmentalism, activism, dismantling the patriarchy and white supremacy. They needed our attention before, and now they need it even more.

We’re still going. Even if you business is on pause or hibernating or becoming a different size or shape, you’re still going.

Even more than before, it’s vital that you believe in yourself. That you keep putting one foot in front of the other (even if it’s right back into bed). That you live closer to your dreams than your fears.

Support

I’m running weekly live calls through my Progress not Perfection membership, which is currently Pay What You Can. Join us on Mondays at 12pm, and get access to past recordings and resources when you sign up.

I’m also putting together a directory of small businesses who are still delivering, offering freebies, or sharing services. Add your details here.

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