Last night Justin and I were sitting having a chat, and he said to me, “you know it’s funny how this week everything just suddenly felt normal”. And it’s true, after a full month in our new home & studio, suddenly things just felt more natural, we had eventually found our rhythm.
This got me thinking about the big changes we have made in our business over the last year, and how it’s still taking us a while to find our rhythm again. For a while, pushing ourselves to the limit was our normal, and so now that we have managed to build some space & boundaries back into our business things have felt weird, and uncomfortable, but soon I hope that this will all start to feel normal again.
As I sat at my desk last Monday, for the first time in a long time, we had a weekend with no orders. This felt absolutely terrifying. (I kept thinking what the hell have I done wrong, this is all my fault), but then I switched my thought pattern to hang on a minute, actually this means that I got something right.
The reason for us closing the online store for existing clients only, was to make room for our new services & the new business model we were trying to pivot to, and in order to do that we needed the online store to be quieter. So why was my initial reaction to think that I had done something wrong? It’s hard going against what “everyone” tells you, you “should” do. Grow your sales, reach more customers, hire more people, SCALE SCALE SCALE. So what we are trying to achieve feels so “Wrong” and against what the standard approach to life and business is, that sometimes doing what you know is right for you can feel so hard.
So I thought I would share some of the lessons we have learnt from these changes we have made. In the hopes that doing business in a slower way can start to feel more normal and natural.
You are going to want to run back to the way things were.
I can’t tell you how many times I have wanted to just throw in the towel, give up and fall back into old routines and ways of doing things. These changes have felt so uncomfortable, there have been sleepless nights, agonizing over whether we have made the right decision, wondering if it’s all going to fall apart because we have chosen to try something else. But what I keep trying to remind myself is that the old ways of doing things ,while familiar, also had their share of discomfort and pain. If we choose to follow the old path set out before us, we know the outcome (Extreme exhaustion, having no control over our schedule, feeling like we are one disaster from falling apart). This new path, although it’s scary and unknown, has so many more possibilities and opportunities for us to steer our business in a direction that supports us and our family. We just have to stay the course and not get distracted along the way.
Choosing the simplest solution, if often the hardest
One thing I am recognising in myself is that I struggle to choose the simplest solution. I have found this showing up repeatedly over the last few months and something I am trying to be very mindful of. I think that maybe somewhere along the way in our 9 years of business, I thought that by having over complicated processes, systems & ideas that somehow this made them more valuable. But I am realizing that the simplest solution is usually the best & most effective solution. So every time I have a decision to make, or I am creating a new process or system in our business, I try to keep simplicity at the heart of every decision I make.
This includes our new marketing system 🙂 which I am trying to keep as simple as possible. I really don’t miss the days of stressing over Instagram, worrying about what to post, what time, if this is the post I figure out the algorithm. Now everything I create is centred around this newsletter, and making content evergreen so that I don’t have to be worried about an over complicated marketing plan.
My new plan is:
- Our newsletter is my source of Joy – so this is where my time & energy will flow. For now I am only committing to once a month, although I feel like I might change this to twice a month in the future.
- I will write 2-3 valuable blog posts a month, to share on Pinterest, to gain new subscribers and share with existing clients.
- 4 Tea break sessions a month (I love these sessions, as it gives me the space & opportunity to connect with people. Hopefully I get to help someone, which feels great, and they also help me, because I can see what people are struggling with and create solutions / services around these needs).
- And lastly, make sure I am of service to all current & past clients. I truly believe that by providing people with an amazing client experience, we will be able to generate enough referrals to keep working with amazing people who share the same values as we do!
Our new plan is simple, and won’t take me more than a couple of hours to execute, and most importantly it will serve us long into the future. This year I am focusing on all the things future me will be so grateful for later 🙂
Doubts will always creep in, which is why you need to keep your WHY front of mind
This I would say has been our biggest challenge. When things get uncomfortable or hard it’s easy for doubt to set in, my mind starts to wonder about worst case scenarios and beating myself up for wanting to try to do things another way. So when this happens I always circle back to our WHY.
Why did we want to make these changes? Justin is always my go to person in these situations because he is much more level headed than me. When the doubt creeps in, we rationally list all the reasons why we wanted to & NEED to make these changes. We remind ourselves that although things might feel uncomfortable now, there will be a day when we are past this phase and we will be happy that we decided to push on through. Although it doesn’t ever fully take away the doubts, it helps us work through them.
Change will happen, and you might not even realize it
Just like last Monday, when we had no orders, and I was free to work on projects I have been planning on for months, change might happen and you don’t even realize it.
I realized this on my walk this morning, that this is what I have wanted for so long. To have some space to go for a morning walk, to clear my mind, and make a little bit of time in my day that is just for me. A year ago this was not a reality, and I remember being so overwhelmed and not even feeling like I could take a break for lunch let alone go for a walk and be finished with work by 3:30pm.
Take some time to enjoy how far you have come
I haven’t really made any lofty goals for this year, because I am quite enjoying where I am right now. And rather than moving onto the next thing I want to achieve, I am quite comfortable where we are now. Yes there is still work to be done to make sure we can maintain what we have, but I’m happy to go at a slower pace this year.
My hope in sharing these lessons is that it helps just one person feel less alone. Last year felt like a really lonely place, with not much advice or talk around wanting to do business differently, so as always if you would like to chat about anything Client Experience / Slow & Intentional business related – please feel free to book one of my Slow Business Mentoring Sessions.
And if you would like help on creating a Client Experience strategy for your business, I invite you to book one of our VIP DAYS, where we can help you create a very intentional experience for your wonderful clients.