Running a business isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. It can be tough, especially if you’re a one-woman-band solopreneur doing everything yourself. If you’re finding yourself in dark times in your business, questioning what needs to change – or if you even want to stay in business – I have some free coaching for you.
In a few weeks, I’ll be celebrating 7 years in business, and it’s made me feel a little nostalgic. I’ve been thinking about when I started, how things have developed, and key things I remember.
One thing I do remember is asking my audience if there’s anything they’d like me to blog about back in 2015, and the first request I got was: What if I don’t love my business anymore? Do you have any advice or resources for when you just don’t love it?
I didn’t. But I wrote a blog, and offered some food for thought.
It was an interesting question for me because, at that stage, I had zero first hand experience of it. I was still in the falling-in-love stage with my business – and it had been such an incredible start. I hadn’t yet had dark days, difficult decisions, or the relentlessness that can sometimes set in.
But my clients had.
In fact, I had plenty of experience coaching and mentoring clients out of their dark moments, even in those early years. These days, I find clients are more likely to do preventative business coaching, but the vast majority look for my help when they’re not 100% happy with the way things have been going.
Of course, every client and situation is different. There are plenty of things that can derail us, take us down a path we didn’t choose, and make us fall out of love with our business.
Now, with several years’ more experience – and my own dark days to have navigated through – I have an updated version of the blog I wrote back in 2015.
How to fall back in love with your business
There are a lot of parallels between marriage and business – the longevity, the ups and downs, the give and take, the partnership. So it makes sense that there might be seasons of your business where you’re kind of… meh, or struggling through a difficult patch.
If we follow this metaphor for a little bit, you and your business might need some counselling, or to double down on date nights, or just a weekend away together. You might need to have a serious chat about what is working and what isn’t. You might even need some time apart to get some perspective.
These options are all available, and I invite you to think about what that might look like for you – metaphorically and in reality.
Here are some of my observations as a business coach:
1. Regain your balance with the workload
Apparently, in marriage counselling, the most-talked-about gripe is the division of labour, and I see that in my work with business owners, too. There is a LOT of work that goes into business, and in small business it often lands on one set of shoulders: yours.
So if you’re not feeling the love in your business right now, it might be time to review your workload. What do you hate doing? What’s draining you and your business? What can you just not do anymore, and what can you delegate?
Here are some ideas:
Customer service – hire a VA to deal with customer enquiries. You CAN train them up, even if it means telling them what to say for the first month or so. But this can really shift your energy. Equally, if you’re answering the same questions over and over again, it might be time to create some FAQs for your website.
Product listings – again, find someone who can do this for you so that you can focus on the things you love.
Bookkeeping, stock takes, managing your social media accounts – all these are things you can get support with through VAs, online business managers, freelancers and more.
Automate – as well as finding humans to help you, you can find technology! Stop doing things manually when you can automate them. If you find yourself copying and pasting basically anything regularly, you can probably automate that.
Book a photographer – yes, photoshoots can be expensive. But they are also a huge time and energy drain! Unless you love doing them and have a great set up, I encourage you to find a photographer you can send this to.
Don’t let boring and tiresome tasks be the death of your business – and your creative passion. Get support and find ways to move forward.
2. Do what you actually love – and get paid for it
If your heart sinks when an order comes in for a particular product (or even all your products), you either need to put the price up or stop selling it.
When your products are priced too low, it’s easy to be filled with dread spending time making and/or packing the order. You’re working really hard, but you know it’s not really going to make a difference to your levels of success.
This is the time to put up your prices.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: about 80% of new clients need to put their prices up by at least 20%.
Of course, there are some products that fill you with MEH, no matter how much you’re charging. That means it’s time to stop selling them. You might need to take some time to create something else that feels amazing – but don’t take too long over this. You could find that retiring your products is as easy as the click of a button.
Top tip: consider creating products that are more scalable, or even add in some passive income to your business.
3. Create more work-life balance
With less on your plate and more products (or services) that you actually love, you may need to create more work-life balance.
Take some time off
Give yourself a start time and an end time
Go down to a 4 day week
Book creativity into your diary
And of course there’s always the option to pivot completely
If making tweaks to your current business isn’t going to cut it (and you might like to play with that first), then there’s always the option to change your business, or even opt out of being your own boss altogether.
Sound like you? Here are some questions to reflect on:
What isn’t working for you right now?
What kind of business model are you drawn to?
What’s your true and current vision of success?
What are you inspired by creatively?
How would you like your work-life balance to look?
No matter what happens, I know that you are not served by staying in a business (or marriage) that’s no longer working. There are PLENTY of other options available to you.
Make sure you explore, reflect, and dig deep into how you could fall in love with what you do.
Loved this episode? I’d love to hear! Pop a comment below, rate in your favourite app, or DM me on IG: @thejennypace
If you’re a small business owner, and especially if you’re a one-woman-band / solopreneur, finding focus (and sticking to it) can feel impossible.
A single day can include fulfilling orders, answering emails, scheduling social media posts, ordering stock, trying to fix that thing on your website, wondering whether you should invest in advertising, uploading products, taking photos, and on and on and on.
Whew! Can you see why you feel exhausted?
A big part of my work with clients has been to cut through the noise and find the things they really need to focus on – and then prioritise them.
This week and next, I’m sharing focus tips, reminders, and to dos that will help you to focus and find more ease in your business.
Today: It’s part one, and we’re starting out with WHY a lot of small business owners don’t stay focused. (You may recognise yourself in this list)…
5 Top Reasons Creative Business Owners Don’t Stay Focused:
We overestimate what we can do in the short term. We think things will take 10 minutes when they really take half an hour. We think we can get a wide variety of things done in a single day, task-switching merrily. We are wrong.
We underestimate what we can do in the long term. We dream small because we’re really tired from all our overestimating in the short term. This is the twin sister of the point above, and they’re both brilliant observations by Gretchen Rubin.
We underestimate the effectiveness of focus. The biggest secret of business is that focus actually works. Going all in on one thing feels vulnerable because we think we have to do everything. But time and again, it pays off. Big time.
We don’t trust we’ll get to it later. We carry all the to dos over to our daily lists because we think we’ll forget. So we’re just thinking about a million things, all the time.
We don’t trust we’ll choose the RIGHT focus. OOOOOOOH, this is a big one. The vulnerability of committing to a thing. Let me tell you: you know what you really want to focus on. You know how to get resources and support if you’re not sure of specific steps.
Sound familiar? All the more reason to start seeing focus as the key that unlocks your potential…
And I’ve been there too! I like shiny things. I like ideas. I like creating. It is HARD to commit to one thing (more on that in a minute). But the last couple of years, and especially the last 12 months, have been more and more focused for my business – and it has massively paid off.
Plus I see this all the time with my clients. The focus of creating a new collection and working towards the launch. Focusing on a clear customer desire and meeting it. The clarity of working on a new website to completion before adding in any other projects.
Focus actually makes us MORE productive, profitable, and effective. Which leads to more success, happiness, and satisfaction.
By focusing, you get a sense of completion, you start trusting yourself more, and your confidence grows. You work on the things that uniquely right for you – and seriously, that’s just the best.
So here’s what you, dear one-woman-band, need to let go of…
You have to let go of comparison, distractions, and what other people are doing.
Choose two or three projects to focus on at a time and commit to them.
If (when) something else comes up, put it one a “to consider” list for when you have space to take on your next project.
Join me next week, when I’ll be sharing real-life examples of client projects and how to focus them. (And I have some exciting news!)
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.
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