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, 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: dealing with uncertainty in business

how to deal with uncertaintyWe all know that being self-employed has its risks. When you step away from a regular paycheck, you miss out on the security of knowing how much you’re going to get paid and when. Someone else takes on the challenge of making sure everything’s in the black, and you get to show up, do your work, and get paid for it. Not all the time, because there can be uncertain times in permanent jobs for sure, but quite often.

When you run your own business or are freelance or whatever your preferred way to say it is, there’s much more uncertainty.

And right now, in my client circles and networks of online retailers, it feels like there’s quite a lot of uncertainty flying around. Perhaps it’s that sales are down, or that retail patterns seem to be shifting more drastically than they have before. Perhaps the market is shifting. Perhaps Brexit and world politics are changing consumers’ behaviour.

And perhaps not.

As I think about how I deal with uncertainty and how I help my clients deal with it, the first thing that comes to mind is one thing: data. What data do we have? Can we trust it? What does it actually tell us?

Because we can get wired up and insecure and swayed by anecdotal evidence. If you don’t read any further or get the printable worksheet below, at least take this:

Check what you know about what’s true for your business and your industry. Fact-check. Don’t rely solely on others’ opinions or anecdotes for data you’re going to use to make your business decisions.

You might do some of your own research. You might find some specific statistics. Or you might stop looking outward at other people and go inward, looking at your business. Make sure your information is good.

Here’s the thing

When I’m faced with decisions or situations coming up, I like to look at the options and possibilities so that I can see potential outcomes and plan what I’ll do if any of them actually happen. This also gives me the opportunity to check in on how likely each possibility is.

Ultimately, I make plans based on what I can control and influence, which gets me out of paralysis and worrying, and into positive action. And as my mum would say, “Where there’s clarity, make decisions.”

I’ve included a few prompts below, but I’ve also made this longer worksheet version that you can download and print so that you can use my own process for dealing with uncertainty.

  • What do I actually know about what’s facing me right now?
  • What am I worrying about right now?
  • Is there anything I’m ready to stop believing, because there’s no evidence?
  • How do I feel about my current situation?
  • How can I manage or deal with my feelings so that I can consider the situation from a practical point of view?
  • Have I been in a similar situation in the past? What happened then?

I hope this all helps. Uncertainty is not easy to deal with, but having the support of a network or mentor (hi!) can really help.

If you have questions or are still feeling stuck or worried, I’d love to hear from you. If there’s a video or course or blog I can offer to help YOU (yes, you), I’m all ears.

Until soon,

Jenny x

Here's the thing: you can't do everything

You can't do it allWe think we can. We think we should be able to. We’re told that doing everything is just standard practice. It’s not even a big deal, it’s just what’s expected.

Successful business, perfect relationship, amazing friendships, a house that’s always clean, tidy and stylish, a perfect body, relaxed and highly effective parenting, picture-perfect holidays. That’s the picture. Be quirky, original, AND entirely acceptable.

And at this time of year, we add the idea that “this is just Christmas. This is what it’s supposed to be like: stressful, over-worked, doing everything because everything has to happen.”

It’s that feeling, when you look at your to-do list, that you cannot drop a single thing. They all need to happen before the end of the day. Because they just do! There’s no option!

When we’re over-worked, overwhelmed and have gone too long without sleep, rest and a calm moment – that’s when we’re even more susceptible to thinking we have to do everything. Ironically.

But here’s the thing: you can’t do everything

You’re not super-woman. You’re not superhuman. You, too, are limited by time, fallibility and the human need for sleep.

That’s not to say you’re not strong, resourceful, successful, and doing your best.

Let’s accept that those two things can happen at the same time. (I know you might need to suspend your disbelief for a second. Play along with me…)

If you’re both human and striving to do your best, what does your to-do list look like?

Perhaps you buy the mince pies for your Christmas drinks, instead of making them. Perhaps you cancel the entire thing.

Perhaps you pay for all your presents to be gift wrapped.

Perhaps you let go of a whole load of things.

Perhaps you ask for all kinds of help.

Now, this last one is where it gets tricky, I know, but if you can’t do it all, and some things really need to get done, asking for help is where it’s at.

You’re allowed to ask for help. All kinds of help.

Need a boost or help prioritising or to get it off your chest? I’m here. Get in touch.

I wish you a week of doing your best, but acknowledging that you can’t do it all. Welcome to the club.

Jenny xx

PS I created a little #inspiredadvent thing over on social media, which features a little word a day to prompt you. Today’s is simplicity. Appropriate, non?

DAY four #inspiredadvent


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.