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Are you a leading lady? Or are you a best friend?

If you’re reading this, chances are you WANT to be the leading lady in your business, and in your life. But maybe you haven’t quite made that leap yet, or perhaps you’d like to feel more empowered, stepping into that Proper Business Owner role…

Today, I’m sharing inspiration from festive favourite The Holiday to give us some clarity and some gumption (great word) as we start to embrace our title role in our own lives.

I’m not ashamed to say I’ve watched The Holiday a LOT. I can recite scenes, and there are lines I know by heart. This is one of them:

You’re supposed to be the leading lady in your own life, for god’s sake.

Iris, played by Kate Winslet, has a tear-inducing lightbulb moment when retired movie writer Arthur tells her she’s being more best friend than leading lady. It’s a lightbulb moment for all of us!

First of all, no shade to best friends. We all need best friends. And in real life (not the movies) we are meant to support each other in being the leading ladies of our own lives. My best friend, Kelly, is the leading lady of her life, and I support her journey. She also supports mine. And in a beautiful way, this happens in our businesses too. I’m a client of hers, and she’s a member of the Better Business Collective – and we lean on each other for different things.

But back to the point, here. Maybe you can relate to this…

In my early twenties, I was being a best friend. Not to one specific person, but to most other people and figures in my life. My boss at work, my family and friends, even the people on the tube, all had more importance than me. I would bend and flex to meet their needs, rather than asking for what I needed for my own sparkling storyline.

By my late twenties, I was a leading lady. Strong in my convictions, I stood up for what I thought was right, for what worked for me. I started my business, I put myself in the centre of my life, and it allowed me to contribute to my relationships, clients, and the things that mattered.

Now, in my (gulp) thirties, I have children, a marriage, a mortgage, and a business. The responsibilities are more complex than they were 7 years ago. I am in a new phase of being a leading lady, one that requires grace but also integrity. It requires putting myself at the centre of my story, even when mum guilt and society tell me to just play it small and quiet.

So how do we put being a leading lady into practice?

It’s a good question. Let’s use the movie metaphor a bit more…

In a movie, everything that happens – every action, scene, dialogue, piece of information – ultimately tells us more about the leading lady’s story. Anything that doesn’t move her narrative and development forward is superfluous.

So her best friend is there to provide insight. A challenging situation or accident or any external action is there to show us how she responds to it. Her enemy or antagonist is there to challenge her, help her grow, change her for the better.

I’m not suggesting we all turn into raging narcissists where everything is about us – far from it. I AM suggesting we consider our own storyline and development, noticing the things that take up our time and energy, and assess whether they are fuelling the story or getting us off-track.

✨ How does x thing (an event, a story, a person, a conversation) impact you? Is it helping you to move forward and grow, or is it holding you back?

✨ Are you holding your head high, knowing you belong wherever you go? Or are you apologising before you even enter the room?

✨ Do you recognise that your responsibility to yourself is greater than your responsibility to others? That, in fact, no-one else can be the boss of your life?

✨ What if you let yourself be the leading lady for the day, the week, a month?

✨ And are you willing to let your dream, your success, steal the show?

The thing is: being a leading lady is really about stepping into leadership, and I love that Arthur in The Holiday makes that something we can relate to. Because leadership can sometimes sound like suits and boardrooms and hotel conferences.

But what if leadership is being a leading lady? Commanding respect. Feeling empowered and empowering others. Taking actions that demonstrate your commitment to your dreams.

That’s the kind of leadership I can get on board with. I hope you will, too.

How to decide if a course is really right for you

There are so many courses, coaches, and programs out there, and a lot of them offer incredible value, wisdom, and resources… For the people that truly need them.

So how do you decide whether a course is right for you, right now?

  1. It’s for you if… it solves a problem you’ve already identified.

I hope that you’ve already figured out the things holding you back. There are plenty of ways people can tell you about a problem you didn’t even know about, and then sell you the solution. Sometimes that’s helpful. Sometimes it’s not a problem you need to fix RIGHT NOW. 

I see a lot of people in the industry selling education about Facebook ads. But if you don’t have the budget, and don’t know what you’re trying to achieve or the wider strategy to support it, that course isn’t for you RIGHT NOW.

But you’ve probably identified a few things that you need to work on or need help with, and you can prioritise them first.

So if a course or coach is solving a problem you’ve already identified, go ahead and find out more! If you didn’t know about this problem, check in with yourself: is it really a priority for you right now?

  1. It’s for you if… you can afford it.

There are two factors to affordability.

The first is can you afford to pay for it right now? If you have the literal cash in your bank account at this very moment, great! Keep finding out more. If you don’t, and would consider putting this on a personal or business credit card, you need to be really, really confident that you’re going to get a return on your investment, and in the relatively short-term.

Because that’s part two: the ROI. I’m all for investing in your personal, professional, and business development. This is essential for growth. And sometimes gaining confidence and a positive feeling is worth the investment without any numbers on it, but let’s also give our brains the opportunity to do some maths.

To cover the cost of this course, coach, or program, what level of revenue would you need to bring in? For example, The Better Business Collective is £250 when you pay upfront. If you’re a product-based business (the core business type for The Collective) and you have a 25% profit margin on your products (the rate I recommend as a minimum), you need to make £1,000 in sales to cover the cost of the program.

Since The Better Business Collective is four months long, you’d need to make £1,000 over the course of four months to break even on the investment.

So when you look at the program and the resources offered, are they tools that will help you to make MORE THAN £1,000 on top of your normal turnover in that time frame? (I’m fairly confident that the email templates, marketing support, business review, and live workshops will bring in a lot more than that, just for the record…)

You can use this same calculation for any course, coach, or program.

  1. It’s for you if… you can commit to the time required.

It’s really easy to purchase a course and figure out when you’ll actually do it later. Read the sales page carefully. Does it have a clear estimate of how much time you’ll need to actually make use of the resources? If not, red flag! And if so, is that manageable for you?

For example, if you sign up for The Better Business Collective, I recommend having about an hour to 90 minutes a week available to work on the program materials and make the most of the community. That includes these monthly activities:

  • The monthly Game-Changing Success Ritual preparation (1 hour) and live call (1 hour)
  • Time to create your email and other marketing content (either on your own, or in an hour-long live workshop)
  • Getting support from me and the community each week in the focus and flow community posts

You might decide to take extra time to plan a photoshoot to support your marketing content, for example, or dive deeper into your Game-Changing Success Ritual preparation and analysis. But to really get the benefits of the resources, 60-90 minutes a week is ideal. (And yes, you can spend less time on it in December!)

  1. It’s for you if… it supports your learning style.

How many of us have signed up for a self-paced course and then never completed it? HAND UP. Me, too. It’s so easy to do, right?

And have you ever bought a course that’s 100% PDF reading, when you’re an audio or kinaesthetic learner? Chances are, you didn’t get as much out of that one.

If you get the most out of things that are live, look for resources with live workshops – great if you struggle with accountability or prioritising the work.

If you like to hear things said aloud rather than reading, look for courses and programs where there’s a video or audio version.

If you’re really visual, you’re going to work best with videos, well-designed PDFs and clear overviews.

If, like me, you’re a kinaesthetic learning (you learn by doing), look for resources that have checklists, step-by-step structures, and clear instructions.

I am OBSESSED with figuring out as much about ourselves as possible, so that we can make smart decisions. Whatever you know works for you, check in: does the course you’re considering have that?

(And yes, The Better Business Collective has self-paced options, live workshops, great PDFs, and clear step-by-steps. I’ve got you covered.)

  1. It’s for you if… you’re ready.

I know it sounds silly, because of course we all want more success and a better life and to feel happier, but making real progress and committing to sustainable growth (whether material, mental, emotional or spiritual) takes energy. It takes commitment. You have to be really ready.

You have to be ready to commit to yourself through the course or program. No matter how well it’s written or delivered or coached, if you don’t yet believe that you deserve more success (and the course doesn’t support you in that), there’s a chance you’ll self-sabotage and drop off the course.

So yes, be ready to do the course, but be ready to do the inner work, too. (Even better, find a course or coach or program who helps you do BOTH at the same time…)

And even if all the previous questions were a yes, even if all your logic says it’s the right thing, step back for a moment and ask your gut, ask your heart – and even your soul – are you really ready for this exact route into your future?

Listen closely. Then decide.

PS I hope this helps you figure out if The Better Business Collective is right for you. I hope you’ll, at least, check it out before the doors close on Monday 14 September.

How to make better business decisions by balancing head and heart

I’m a big believer in balancing our heads and hearts as business owners, founders, and creatives. Building a business requires savvy decisions, smart strategy, and ongoing education, but building a business that’s right for you and aligns with the life you really want — that’s all heart, and maybe some soul too.

So as a small business owner, whether you’re a one-woman-band solopreneur or creative founder with a fantastic team supporting you, how do you engage both your whip-smart head and your super-strong heart?

Before I share three things that will help you use both, let me explain a bit about what happens when you’re out of balance.

Too headstrong (and not in a good way)

If you’re in your head too much, you probably experience some or all of these things:

  • You overthink everything
  • You get caught up in what other people are thinking or doing
  • You spend ages making decisions, even for small things
  • Or you make quick decisions, without really considering whether it’s the right option for you
  • You’re ticking all the boxes of what you “should” be doing, but you’re not seeing the results or feeling the satisfaction
  • You create new products and new marketing content regularly, but it doesn’t seem to connect with your customer base
  • You’ve reached a turnover or income plateau and don’t seem to be able to break through it

Our brains are really clever. Like, better-than-your-computer clever. But they also get stuck in problem-solving and worrying mode really easily. Unchecked, our heads are too logical (think Mr Spock in Star Trek) and have a tendency to lead us down paths that “make sense” but don’t feel good.

Too much heart

If you’re in your heart too much, there are some things you might experience:

  • You have no idea what you made last month, quarter, or year
  • You have lots of creative ideas, but not so much follow through
  • You find yourself doing a lot of tasks manually when they could be automated
  • You get caught out by unexpected bills you could have anticipated
  • Even though you have a team, you end up doing too much yourself because you aren’t managing the people or the work effectively
  • You spend a lot on pretty things or fun-sounding education, but you don’t see an ROI
  • You often under-price your products and services, or offer discounts
  • You LOVE to go with the flow, but important tasks get neglected until they’re really urgent (I see you, tax return avoiders)

Our hearts are our pathfinders. They’re the creative epicentre of our lives and businesses. All things considered, I believe our hearts and souls are the best bosses. But without the wisdom and savvy of our minds, they can get a bit floaty, a bit ungrounded, and kind of exhausted.

In balance

When our heads and hearts are in balance, we’re in flow. We’ve got the gorgeous creative direction, the vision, and the unique creativity that we’re here to share. Plus we’ve got structure and systems that help us to stay creative – and stay in business.

You might find that you nodded your head to some things on the head list AND some things on the heart list. That’s not unusual. It means that you’re giving your heart some of the head’s jobs and vice versa. Balance means you’re strong and healthy in both areas.

Balance is a verb rather than a noun – it’s something we practice rather than something we achieve.

So how can we practice balance between head and heart more?

  1. Give your brain information

Because our brains are super-computers, they thrive when they have accurate data to play with. When we give our brains information, it filters into our unconscious, giving our “gut” (aka subconscious / heart / soul) more powerful responses.

In practice, this means reviewing your sales figures regularly (I’d say once a month), understanding what your bestsellers are, checking your most popular search terms or website pages, and checking how customers actually reach your website. There might be other pieces of data you want to feed your brain, but these are some good starting points.

  1. Let your heart do the talking

Once your brain has data, it will filter it through to your heart. Which means we can fully trust our hearts to be the strongest compass for our decisions and our direction.

If something looks right but feels wrong, that’s your brain doing the talking. If something looks weird but feels really right, that’s your heart and soul shining through. 

  1. Hire your brain as your heart’s VA

Ever fancy getting a virtual assistant to get things done? Your brain is a really, really good VA. When you let your heart set the agenda, figuring out your vision and where you want to go, you can then plug in your brain to do that tippity top problem-solving it’s so good at.

Your head can check out the numbers on that new product you’ve designed to make sure they add up. Or perhaps you set your head the task of creating a nice smooth process for your order management so that your heart has space to create and dream and feel passionate about what you’re doing.

Whatever you do, don’t let your heart do your mind’s job – or vice versa.

So, are you more head or more heart? What can you do to regain some balance and make wiser business decisions?

Jenny x

PS If you’d like to learn how to feed your brain good data and then let your heart lead, this free workshop is for you.

optin-cup

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