Episode 11: What I’ve learned from 7 years in business

Celebrating, releasing, and re-visioning

This summer, I’m celebrating 7 years in business. Having started my business back in 2014, it feels like both a lifetime ago, and like it only just happened.

In that time, I’ve worked with dozens of 1:1 clients, as well as hundreds of course-takers and community members. I’ve written thousands of product descriptions, edited emails, and helped to build brands. I’ve hosted 6 weekend retreats, most of which sold out. I set up and ran a photography studio, with premises and a team of 10, downsized, and finally came directly back to coaching. I accidentally created a product range, sent out thousands of orders, and eventually sold that part of my business. And of course I also moved house three times, got married and had a baby.


Ronan was right, life is truly a rollercoaster.

What I’m celebrating

My vision: I have always had a really clear vision of what I want to create, who I want to help, and why I’m in business. It’s about empowering women to forge success on their own terms, to embrace our humanity rather than burning ourselves out, and creating meaningful, positive change in the world.

It hasn’t always been perfectly executed, and in fact I think that’s part of the beauty: I’m always tending my vision, pivoting and tweaking as I go. But I am celebrating the strength of that vision within me.

My clients: My first ever client was Laura at Clara and Macy. She has been an inspiration to me as well (I hope) as the other way around. I can still remember emailing her with my mentoring packages and receiving her response, and how much that meant to me. It certainly feels like our working relationship – and now friendship – were meant to be.

And of course I’m celebrating all the clients I’ve had since then. I’ve learnt so much from them as well as the other way around. I have clients who have been with me for 7 years, who came to my first retreat, who continue to be part of my membership group and 1:1 client list. And of course there are clients who came and went on to do different things, to grow in their own next direction, and I love seeing and knowing that, too.

My resilience: I used to hate the word resilience and its implications. That I’d had to hang on in there and deal with challenges. Now I see it as a strength, because there are always challenges. I’m grateful that I have the grit and determination to grow, learn, and work through challenges, rather than give up.

What I’m releasing

Letting go is a regular habit around here. We accumulate so many limiting beliefs, negative experiences, and to-do list clutter. So it’s always a good time to release what we don’t need!

Here are mine right now:

I’m letting go of needing to do everything myself. Okay, okay, I’m letting go of control, okay?! Kate, my wonderful VA, is doing more and more of my behind-the-scenes work, and it truly has taken me 7 years to let someone else look after my client bookings and calendar. Kate has her work cut out for her, but it’s a relief to have the details taken care of so that I can show up for my clients and community members even more.

And I’m letting go of “shoulds”. I’ve never loved the “shoulds” – those things we should do, the voices that beat us up and tell us to do things that aren’t right for us. Right now, I have a few “should haves” that have been dragging me down, so I’m releasing them and choosing differently.

And truthfully, I’m letting go of guilt. I’m a people-pleaser, and I don’t like to let people down. I know that that has happened, with staff I’ve had to let go, and clients that weren’t the right fit. I’m soooooo much better avoiding those situations these days, and grateful for everything I’ve learned about what works. So I’m learning to let go of the guilt.


My vision is strong. It’s a strength, and it’s something I love to help others with. Now, as a mother of a two year old, I’m revising the vision to allow for more space and less pressure. Compared to the now endless-seeming energy I had in the early years of my business, I need a different pace.

For me, in my business, that means fewer 1:1 clients and more resources, courses, and workshops that allow me to make a difference in group settings.

I love working 1:1 with clients, so I’ve resisted this a lot! So part of reconnecting with my vision has been to trust that I will return to it again, that there is a whole future of my business that will come to light in a few years – but I’m going to be happy in my present.

There’s no bad time to celebrate and review your business

It may not be your 7th business birthday. (But if it is, say hi!)

One thing I do know is that there’s no bad time to take a moment to check in with where you are, where you want to be, and how you want to get there.

It’s also worth celebrating your strengths, your perseverance, your achievements. We’re not taught to do that, and it really makes a difference. Celebrate something today – right now – that you’re proud of.

Looking ahead

I’m not big on setting massive goals, but I do have intentions and visions for the coming year and years. That 10 year mark is on the horizon, and I’m excited to be in a much stronger, more sustainable place in my business.

I hope your future is looking bright, too.

Here’s the thing: your sales aren’t shit

First, excuse the language, if it’s not the wording you’d use.

But perhaps you’ve said something like that? “Sales are so bad.” Even if it’s just in your head, if you’ve repeated a phrase similar to this more than three times, we need to talk.

I’ve heard it hundreds – if not thousands – of times from clients who are pretty low on energy, looking for a magic answer or at least some kind of good news. And, truthfully, I’ve been there, too.

I’m not one to sugar-coat things. I don’t like spiritual bypassing or anything similar. (“It’s not that bad! Just look on the bright side!” No, thanks.)

But this is where self-discovery and self-development are incredibly useful. Using awareness of what’s going on in our brains, we can change the story, and change the situation.

Here’s what I mean:

You’ve looked at a number, or several numbers, and something in your brain has said, “Sales are shit.” It’s such a clear and powerful message that you may have questioned it briefly, but it’s basically taken hold.

Then, because it’s not a great feeling, you’ve told someone else. “Sales are kind of shit.” And this person tells you they’re sorry to hear it, or that they’re in a similar position, and you feel not alone. Which feels better than sales-are-shit-and-I’m-all-alone.

So the mantra takes further hold.

And then when you sit down to write a to-do list or you’re thinking about your business, your brain is thinking from this “sales are shit” place. You feel desperate, or uninspired – both sides of the same coin. Maybe you have that frantic energy: you’re getting a lot done, but it’s not really changing sales or changing your mind. Or maybe you just… don’t do very much, because it all feels overwhelming and out of your control.

This story – one that you decided on in the blink of an eye based on something that isn’t the full picture – has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Want to get out of the downward spiral? There are three essential things to do.

Check the numbers you’re looking at.

If you decided sales are shit based on a two-second glance at a dashboard that doesn’t take your entire business into account, you absolutely need to dive a bit deeper.

If sales are down, you’re likely to be looking at turnover, rather than profit. Which is a false success metric, and is definitely going to give you misinformation about your business and your efforts. Track and look at profit as a marker of where you are, rather than assuming turnover is the same – broadly – as profit. (My business is way down on turnover compared to a couple of years ago, but my profit is significantly higher.)

Check the language you use. Clarity is power.

Okay, so as I said, I’m not one to sugar-coat the truth. Telling yourself things are fine when they’re not won’t help you to improve your business or your situation. We need truth. We need clarity.

But there are ways to phrase things that honour the truth without getting stuck in a story.

First, let’s get the facts. If you’ve looked at the numbers, you’ll hopefully be able to say something like, “My turnover is 30% down on last year.” Or, “My profit has dropped.”

Then there’s something to add…

“My profit has dropped, and I’d like to change that.”

“My turnover is 30% down on last year, and my profit is, too. I’m ready to improve my profit.”

Sticking with true statements, we want one that expresses something true about the situation. You’ve got a fact statement about the numbers, and then it’s best to add something that shares what you want to change. In a positive way, of course!

Get a new game plan.

With a more positive mantra, like, “I’m ready to improve my profit,” you can start to put together a more proactive game plan.

The thing about the “sales are shit” mantra is that it keeps you stuck. You can also get stuck with a positive mantra (even if it’s amazing), if there’s no action that relates to it.

So if you truly are ready to change your profit levels or improve your enjoyment levels, it’s time to get creative about how you want to do that.

I’m pretty clear on something: most business women I know can come up with 3-10 great actions to take if they have half an hour and a positive environment to picture possibilities.

Maybe it’s creative ways to reduce your costs and streamline things. Maybe you can create a more efficient way of fulfilling orders. Maybe (and I say this with many years of experience) you need to put your prices up.

You don’t have to change your entire business overnight. But find a starting place. The second part of your new mantra should encapsulate the way you want to feel, say, a year from now.

When you write your next to do list, include something that is linked to how you want to feel.

What do you think? Does this method resonate with you?

What if you felt aspirational on the inside?

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about two things:

  1. How social media affects us as business owners – who we follow, who we compare ourselves to, what we think we “should” be doing
  2. Taking time out to connect with your inner wisdom on a deeper level – and how working in this way allows us to create more authentic, meaningful businesses

It hit me this morning that these two things are incredibly intertwined.

I created Self Care on Social Media for Business Owners to help people like you and me make sure they’re not too distracted by other people on the internet, and instead to cultivate their own authentic voice.

And I’m running a video series on why and how to take time out of the busy-work in order to cultivate better business alignment. Because I know that that’s the only way to get really clear on what you want.

Ultimately, that thing you see on the internet, on Instagram, on the grapevine – you know, the one you imagine means “true success”? What if that thing wasn’t an aspirational post or a Pinterest board or a beautifully styled image? What if, instead, it was a feeling and a source of power and inspiration within you?

Does that sound like nonsense? Stay with me.

For generations, and especially in the last 100 years, we’ve cultivated our homes, our lives, our clothes, and our spaces to be an outer expression of who we are. We want our spaces to represent a part of us: Comfy sofas demonstrate our passion for relaxation and welcoming guests. Sassy t-shirt slogans let people know we’re sarcastic. A yellow front door tells the world we value joy and fun.

That’s the idea, right?

And if you’re a business owner or creative entrepreneur or a maker, your work is also an expression of who you are – at least in part. (Because we’re really very complex human beings, so that one print you designed probably won’t pack all of it in.)

But what if we reverse engineer it?

Those Instagram posts you like are telling you something about yourself, or a feeling you want to cultivate in your own life and business.

What if, rather than wishing we had the styled, superficial photo, we dug deeper into what it means to us?

Maybe that flatlay of pretty autumnal things is telling you you want to be more creative, just for the hell of it (and not for your business).

Perhaps that new product by that brand you admire is showing you that you want to be really confident in the new things that you launch.

What if that crazy helpful blog series is showing you that you too want to be helpful?

Rather than trying to replicate the content or the look or the aesthetic, what if we sink deeper into the feeling we have within us? From where I’m sitting, going inward and exploring it internally will help us get to a unique and authentic expression of something that’s never been seen before.

So I think I’m coming to understand that there’s wisdom in combining these two things: taking good care of yourself on social media by noticing where you slip into envy and comparison AND going deeper to explore what these external indicators really mean for you.

That aspirational feeling is inside you. It isn’t in the yellow door or the perfectly styled flatlay. It’s within you. And it deserves exploration and expression.

What do you think? Am I rambling, or is there something here?

Jenny x


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.