A Little Better: Are You Trying To Sh*t Miracles?

Pre-S: Looking for the How To Find (And Keep) Your Focus workshop? Head here.

Does your to do list require miracles to get ticked off? My wise sister’s advice is for you in this week’s mini episode!

Today’s Little Better episode is my first sweary podcast episode. I mostly try to avoid swearing because as a podcast listener, I sometimes listen with my kids around, and I want you to be able to listen whenever works for you, too.

But I couldn’t get around this one: we need swearing!

So if you’re up for that, let’s dive in.

Beyond swearing, this episode is about the need to focus in business so that you can actually make progress and see the success you’re dreaming of.

A few years ago, I had a photography studio in addition to my coaching business. I had a talented team, and we produced product photos and content for product-based businesses. My incredibly talented sister (now a fancypants producer for Adidas), Holly, was the Studio Manager and we had such a blast working together. 

In her wisdom, and with her deep wit, she said something to me that I’ve never forgotten.

She said, “Are you trying to shit miracles today? It really seems like you’re trying to shit miracles.”

My friends, she was right. The to-do list wasn’t realistic. It was based on the idea that miracles would appear from nowhere.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in magic and miracles. Daily. Regularly. Unexpectedly.

But basing the success (or even viability) of your business on overcoming the odds, being superhuman, isn’t the way to go. If you need a series of miracles in order to get through the day or week, you need to take another look.

There’s a reason I don’t have a photography studio anymore.

Since then, I have honed and developed a talent: focus and flow.

Focus: to dial in on the things that move my business forward and have greatest impact.

Flow: to allow the things that trip me up or ask me to shit miracles to flow away.

I’ve always been kinda good at prioritising. These days, it’s the first place I start, and it’s a huge part of how I help my clients and Collective members.

The first step is to realise that focus is your friend.

Focus allows you to create a meaningful, profitable business with your sanity intact. By reducing your focus to 2-3 key projects, you actually increase your productivity overall. Focus means you can complete projects in a way that feels really good and has desired results, rather than being all over the place with 10,000 things you’re kind of doing half-heartedly.

Focus allows you to be all in on the things that matter.

Ready to learn how to focus? Curious about the systems I use to keep me focused? Want to stop waiting for miracles just to get through the day?

Join me for a free workshop on How To Find (And Keep) Your Focus As A Creative Business Owner on Friday 10 September, 10:30am GMT.

How do you prioritise your to do list?

It only takes a quick Google or Pinterest search to be completely inundated by different productivity approaches. And truthfully there are a thousand different ways you can think about your priorities.

I have a few suggestions that I’ve used with my Progress not Perfection group and my coaching clients to help them feel confident and, crucially, to make progress.

Take your to do list, and look at each category below. Mark each item with a £ (money), a ! (important), 🙂 (fun) and Q (quick), choosing no more than three things in each category.

1. Where’s the money coming from?

Take a look at your to do list and mark the items (£) that are going to bring in money directly. Things like listing a new product, invoicing the client, or sharing the discount voucher with your email list. It’s really important that we see the link between the actions we take and the money we make.

Some things might have a longer term payoff, and that’s great too. In fact, I have a whole other post coming up about long term vs short term. But for now, let me say that if you need short term income, you need to prioritise those actions first.

Sometimes this is about prioritising marketing activity. Sometimes it’s cancelling those subscriptions you don’t need, or asking for the refund on faulty goods. Sometimes it’s designing something that will sell later in the year (e.g. Christmas).

Whether you’re strapped for cash or feeling comfortable, this has to be a priority for those of us taking our businesses seriously.

2. What’s important?

Important means different things to different people, and that’s okay. This category is for any item that is important to the running of your business, whether it’s setting up your eco friendly packaging or completing your tax return. It might not be a direct revenue driver and it might not be fun, but it’s vital to YOUR business.

It could be important for you to work on new designs, or a re-brand, or a new website. Perhaps it’s about setting up a new, more efficient process for getting your orders out the door.

For me, writing a weekly blog post is important because it helps me to hone my voice, help my audience, and demonstrate my expertise.

3. What’s fun?

The more joy you experience, the more success you have, and vice versa. That’s my experience, anyway! Especially as creatives, it’s important that we feed our enjoyment of our businesses. We didn’t start them so that we could do loads of boring stressful stuff.

So highlight anything on your list that’s truly a pleasure for you to work on!

If there’s nothing fun on your list, add something. I promise you’ll start to feel better about your business when there’s something you can look forward to on there.

4. What are the quick wins?

Publish the product. Email the people. Put the thing in the mail. Reply to the commission request. Enquire about the space. Decline the invitation. Say yes to the opportunity.

Some things are quick, we just procrastinate them. What is a quick win on your to do list? If it will take less than half an hour for you to complete, add a big Q next to it.

And review your newly prioritised to do list!

Once you’ve marked up your to do list with these categories, you should have something with a bit more of a priority to it. It might not be what you thought it was, but hopefully a couple of things have started to stand out as priorities for you.

If something is going to generate revenue, and is important, that’s the place to start! If it’s fun and important, that sounds great, too. Basically, you start to weed out the things that aren’t bringing in money, aren’t important or fun, and take ages. Why do we need to prioritise those things?

This is just one model for prioritising your to do list. It’s one that certainly helps to get things in perspective.

What do you think? Does this method work for you? Or do you have your own prioritisation preferences?

If you need more help prioritising your business plans, you might like to work with me one-on-one, or sign up for my very affordable group programme, Progress not Perfection, which is only £20 per month.

15 things for 15 minutes: shift your energy, boost your business!

We all have moments, days (weeks?) when we struggle to show up for our goals and vision.

Sometimes we have to trick our imposter syndrome or our inner critic so they don’t notice us side-stepping them and playing bigger.

Sometimes we have to gently encourage ourselves to form new habits or do the things we need to do, but don’t particularly want to do.

Sometimes we need some practical inspiration and suggestions for things that will actually move us forward in the direction we want to go.

That’s what I’m sharing today: my list of things you can spend 15 minutes on that really benefit your mood, and therefore your business (and sometimes the other way around!).

You can read on for my tips, but I also really encourage you to write your own list.

Use the timer on your phone and stop when the alarm goes off.

  1. Tidy up. Whether it’s your desk, your workspace, your entranceway, your bag, just set a timer and go. (I hate tidying up but it ALWAYS makes me feel better.)
  2. Write down your strengths. Go for the whole 15 minutes, and keep your hand moving. You’ll feel better for it at the end. (And it might even spark some big business ideas.)
  3. Write down all your worries. As above, but maybe burn it or do something about it at the end. Either way, get it out of your head and remove your blocks.
  4. Go for a walk. Even if it’s just up and down your own garden or around the block a couple of times. 15 minutes. In nature. Go.
  5. Find out your bestsellers. Not what you think are your bestsellers. Check the numbers: highest units sold, but also which item made you the most money? Knowledge is power.
  6. Look at your website traffic. Where are people finding you? If you don’t know how to track your traffic, spend 15 minutes finding out.
  7. Put your prices up. Or at least start to run the numbers. Around 70% of my clients have needed to put their prices up by 20% to actually make a profit or take a salary for themselves. Chances are you need to do the same.
  8. Write a newsletter. If you have an email list and haven’t sent an email for a month or more, JUST EMAIL THE PEOPLE. You don’t need a 10-part email strategy, just send some nice photos and words.
  9. Brainstorm or research a new project or product.
  10. Do your bookkeeping. Little and often is the way forward! If you don’t have bookkeeping software, research it. It’ll make your life easier next time.
  11. Look at your website’s homepage. Tweak, update, edit, or write a bigger plan to do so.
  12. Look at your long-term business goals. Or write down three things you’d like to achieve in the next 12 months. Get inspired by them!
  13. Meditate. Find a guided meditation on an app (I like Insight Timer), or put on some relaxing music and breathe for 15 minutes. You won’t regret it.
  14. Write a pitch. Maybe you want to appear on a podcast or you’d like to write a guest blog or appear in a magazine. Start writing to the relevant people. (Tip: I love Tiffany Han’s 100 Rejection Letters project for this.)
  15. Analyse your to-do list. What’s bringing in money? What’s fun? What’s future-focused? What’s a quick win? Now cross out anything that doesn’t move your business forward, that’s a nice idea but getting in the way of your focus. (We do this every month in Progress not Perfection. It’s a learned skill.)

If you need a more personal or a deeper to-do list, if you want to shift those worries and blocks, you might like to consider business mentoring and coaching with me. I have two spots open right now, and you can get in touch to set up a free consultation to find out if we’re a good fit.

Or for more free resources, check out my 20 favourite business coaching questions and go deeper!


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.