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Here's the thing: two things I need to tell you about my work and life

two thingsHonestly? I don’t know exactly what’s next.

Honestly? I don’t know which of the many, many things to offer right now.

Honestly? I don’t know if I’m relevant to the people I was relevant to before – and sometimes I don’t know if I’m relevant to anyone.

Have you been there? Have you had that feeling when you wake up, when you’re just not sure? If not, then I salute you, and I hope that your enthusiasm and confidence continues to support your endeavours.

If you have, you’re not alone. Me too. And many more of us, I’m sure of it.

There are some things I need to tell you now, on this Friday in August. Because until I get them out, they’re just getting in the way.

The first thing is this: My work and audience are changing. 

Over three years ago, I left notonthehighstreet.com, having worked there for five years. I wanted to help small businesses in a wider capacity than I’d been able to. I wanted to write. I wanted to bring my skills and experience to people who needed them.

It’s broader now. It’s not that I don’t know anything about selling on NOTHS. It’s not that I can’t (or don’t) support people who do. I still work with clients regularly on their NOTHS store, and I still know a lot of things. But I’m not the NOTHS-whisperer! I can’t guarantee sales. I don’t know their strategy. I haven’t worked there for three years.

And the things I work on are about a bigger picture: creating the business and life that you really want. Seeing you as a person within your business, and creating a business plan that’s uniquely yours. I’m a coach-therapist-mentor, and I believe in addressing our personal selves in order to do the big business work and find the answers. It’s not just key terms and marketing – though I love weaving them in. It’s the whole package.

(As an aside, Copper Boom Studio is now officially recommended by NOTHS, which is kind of a wonderful new way of working with them.)

The second thing is this: I have lived with depression over many years.

It’s August. Which means it’s nine years since I started seeing a therapist. (Who I still see regularly.) I’ve had periods of depression since at least early teenage years. I’m high functioning, that’s for sure! But it’s something that can wipe me out and that I’ve had to learn a lot about.

Why am I telling you now? Because depression and anxiety are things I see in my clients fairly regularly. Not always diagnosed. Not always severe. But it seems to me that being self-employed can open you up to having to deal with depression and anxiety, even if you didn’t need to (or realise it) before.

I’m also telling you because yesterday I started working one-on-one with a client specifically around her depression and anxiety. My aim is to build a series of resources and courses that support creative entrepreneurs and makers who struggle with these issues. It’s not a cure for depression, because I don’t think that exists, but it’s to tackle some of the ways running a business with depression is different, and requires a different approach. I’m also hoping it’ll be a way to say you’re not alone.

Honestly? I wasn’t planning to tell you all this today.

But these are two things I’ve been thinking about for months. That I knew I needed to get out.

They fit together, because supporting clients with depression and anxiety is becoming more of a focus for me, as well as being part of the more personal work I’m doing now. I think it’s important that I tell me own story, in order for you to know why I’m expanding my direction (and letting go of some of the types of work I’ve done before).

What does it mean for you?

As I said a few weeks ago, if these things mean we’re not a good fit anymore, please change your subscription preferences. I won’t be offended. Maybe you signed up when I was very NOTHS-focused, or you’re still looking for someone who can help you with just the practical business stuff. There are plenty of people around. They’ll serve you better if that’s what you need.

Some of the things I did by myself before (like storefront reviews, product descriptions, and other copywriting) are available with the support of my amazing team at Copper Boom Studio.

If you don’t want to go deeper into depression and anxiety – if you’re not ready – that’s fine too. Whether you struggle with these issues or not, I send you well wishes and positivity on your journey.

But if you’re interested in integrating being human with running your business, or you have struggled with depression and/or anxiety, or maybe you’re intrigued by adding intuition into your business planning, I hope that you will join me. You can get my email updates here, and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

My work is shifting, and I think some of the audience is shifting too. Today, I needed to tell you that.

Here’s to the next chapter for all of us!

Jenny x

Here's the thing: don't wait for the golden ticket

golden ticketSometimes I just don’t know where to start. There are so many people telling us we could and should be better, earn more, achieve more.

I get swept up in it. I wonder whether I should be writing click-bait blog titles or adding more semi-shaming posts to scare you into buying my services.

I can’t. I can’t do it. If that makes me naive or stupid or unbusinesslike, so be it. I want you to know that working with a coach or mentor or even a good friend can make a huge difference to your business.

I want you to know that I know the dark places, the scared places, the stuck places. I want you to know that there’s so much hope even when things can look extremely dark. I want you to know I haven’t made it yet, but I still show up and help people every day.

I’m not for everyone, and that’s okay.

I care, deeply. Some have said too much. But truly, I adore holding space for the confusion and sitting with it as it turns into clarity. I can see a dozen ways forward – at least – for any decision you’re facing. But it’s in everyone’s interests to let you choose the best one for you.

I don’t sell four-figure business solutions. I don’t sell guarantees or pre-made business plans

I offer emotional, practical, effective support for people who want to do it their way, but sometimes get stuck. I’m not better than you. I just spend my time learning how to be their true selves in business. And I hope to share that with you.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to learn the secret? Wouldn’t it be just wonderful to replicate a proven formula for the perfect creative business – not too hard, more than enough money – that looks just like hers?

But it’s not how it works. Otherwise we’d all be doing it.

By all means, learn about colour theory and Instagram hashtags and bookkeeping and different sales platforms.

By all means, read stories of others’ success and failures and take in the lessons.

By all means, stay engaged and open in your quest to understand what people want, how they work, and how you can help them through your business and products and services.

But your business is your own. There’s been nothing like it before. It has different goals, different needs, different limitations to any business on the planet. Yes, there are similarities for all of us. But on a subtle, day-to-day level, it’s different.

“What about that copycat who took all my designs and is making a fortune without having put the work in?” I hear you ask. How long do you think it’ll last? Truly.

“What about all these young folk starting their business now with access to recommendations and resources and marketplaces that didn’t exist for me? I had to do it on my own!” Then you’re set up to keep finding your own way. You already have skills and resilience that they haven’t had the opportunity (or inclination) to learn yet.

There are always people who appear to have it easy. I believe two things: the first is that we don’t truly know what’s easy and what’s not for people. The second is that karma exists, and we’re often given lessons we need to learn.

Here’s the thing

The thing I want most for you is that you go your own way. I believe it’s the most powerful, the most authentic, and the most rewarding path.

Here are the things I ask myself when I’m surrounded by big promises and a foggy outlook:

  • Am I looking for a quick-fix, golden ticket answer to a complex and unique question?
  • Is this article / post / video asking me to pay a load of cash for a “guaranteed success”? If so, it probably isn’t for me.
  • Who are my trusted people? The ones who hold similar values to me, and don’t succumb to quick fixes. (Tips: Rachel Cole, Brene Brown, Randi Buckley, Harriet Lerner, Paul Jarvis, Tara Gentile)
  • What do I need to learn about from someone who’s further ahead on the path?
  • And what’s my lesson to learn?
  • What do I know to be true for myself and my business?
  • Where am I getting distracted by something shiny?
  • Am I being kind and respectful to my clients and potential clients?
  • Am I being kind and respectful to myself?

There’s wisdom out there. But there’s a lot of chaff as well. Go for the good stuff. Find your people. Trust yourself.

Jx

PS One-off one-on-one mentoring will officially return next week. If you’re interested in a power hour of untangling or just want a taster of this work, please get in touch while I sort out my work with me page.

Here's the thing: thoughts on being tired

tiredAre you really tired? As an entrepreneur. As a boss. As a creative. As a parent. As a person. It’s tiring. There’s always so much STUFF to do. Never ending. Doom-laden.

I can totally relate.

I was on holiday (honeymoon) recently and I actually got to a point of not-tired. Which was amazing! How long is it since I felt like that?!

And so obviously I wanted to keep feeling not tired, even when I got home and was back to the normal routine and pressures. One of the best things about my honeymoon (that I can talk about publicly – oo-er!) was the clarity it allowed me. Space to think. Space to reflect. No deadlines. No ‘must-do’ items. No urgency.

You know what came up five days in? I was afraid of getting tired. Deeply afraid. Like it would break me to get even a little bit tired.

What I thought of as ‘tired’ was actually ‘totally burnt out with nothing left’. 

Lightbulb moment!

Tired is not bad.

Tired is not failing.

Tired doesn’t mean I’m not fit enough, strong enough, good enough.

It means I need to rest and receive. It means I’m human.

Because I’ve frequently pushed myself beyond merely ‘tired’ and into ‘burnout’, I’ve become afraid of tired. But tired is fine and natural and enjoyable when it works. When it asks for rest and respite and is allowed.

I see so much pressure in the online world, on social media, among creative entrepreneurs, to hustle and get it all done and be total and utter superheroes. The answer to productivity? Schedule everything to within a millisecond! Not getting the sales? Work harder and longer! Something you’re not sure about? Worry until your body is shot through with adrenaline fatigue and the effects of long-term stress.

You know what? I don’t see respect for our humanness in that.

What if we respect tired more?

What if we acknowledge that the response to tired isn’t more caffeine or a tighter schedule or more sugar and carbs and Buddha bowls?

The natural response to tired is rest.

Somewhere along the way, we forgot.

If you, like me, have been on the brink of breakdown or quitting or burnout, will you look at your relationship to tired?

Here’s the thing: dealing with tired means we can deal with everything else

How does your body tell you it’s tired?

How does your brain tell you it’s tired?

(I’ve noticed that my brain often gets tired first, so walking or running or yoga helps my body to take over for a while, so my brain can rest. There’s no point sleeping when my body’s pumped, even if my brain thinks it’s ready for sleep.)

Where can you find, schedule, and commit to resting your weary brain, body, heart and soul?

What’s the moment you could take your foot off the pedal so that tired doesn’t turn into burnt out?

Which expectations do you need to let go of? When do you tell yourself you ‘should’ keep going, even when your body is telling you it needs to stop?

Who do you need to follow or unfollow to encourage your healthy relationship with rest and humanness?

Here are some of my favourite resources:

You know what else helps? Connecting with other people who treasure rest. Who value it and recognise that we’re worth the rest we need, no matter what. But sometimes we have to stand up to the whole world that tells us we have to earn it in a plethora of ways.

If you need encouragement, I’m here. If you need strategies, I’m here. If you need to talk it through or work on how to stand up to others or figure out how to grow your business without burning out, I’m here.

We can do this. (And I don’t mean hustle hard.)

Jenny xx

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