Why Freedom is Overrated

Why Freedom is Overrated

“The constant desire for more freedom ironically limits us in a number of ways. Similarly, it’s only by limiting ourselves — by choosing and committing to certain things in life — that we truly exercise our freedom.”

~ Mark Manson

Freedom. Such a loaded term and means something potentially different to each and every one of us. I should start by saying that I love freedom. It’s something that I value highly and have worked hard to fiercely protect in my life. It’s why I run my own business and why I have lived and travelled in many places around the world. However, I’ve come to understand that too much freedom, without constraint (paradoxical I know, but bear with me), is damaging and in the long term can be the very thing that sabotages that freedom we hold so dear.

I am primarily talking about freedom within the context of business but for sure this idea can be applied more widely. If you read much of the hype around building an online business these days, you’ll hear a lot of talk about freedom. Freedom to work in your PJs, freedom to work whenever you want and wherever you want (including the beach, despite how impractical that clearly is). Then there is the freedom to work on whatever you feel inspired by and with whoever you feel like, I could go on but you get the idea. Work for yourself and the promises of freedom are plentiful.

Freedom has become the calling card of running your own business. The problem with this, as I see it, is 2-fold.

  1. Much of the freedom that gets talked about when it comes to building a business is a myth. Seriously. If we only worked when and where we wanted and did only the work we like, it’s highly unlikely we’d ever get a business off the ground.
  2. When we prioritise freedom and sacrifice structure, we flail. Too much freedom can actually be overwhelming. Have you ever noticed how you are more productive when you have less time? How when the pressure is on, you’re more likely to deliver than when you have all the time in the world?

There’s a reason for that. As humans we like structure. We work well with structure. It’s why, the business working day follows a structure. It’s why our education system has structure. Allow me to share some examples of this from my own experience.

Back in 2011, I launched my first ever blog, Life is Limitless, you see from the name that even back then I was all about the freedom! From day 1, I committed to a schedule of writing a weekly Wednesday blog post and I didn’t miss one Wednesday in 9 whole months. I did this while working a stressful, busy management job, with a 2-hour each way commute from Brighton to London to boot. So what caused me to stop this schedule? What caused me to break this 9 month run I’d had? I had quit my job to go travel the world and suddenly with my whole day wide open, I couldn’t find it within me to write my weekly blog post. From there on in, my publishing schedule was pretty non-existent. All that freedom threw me off centre.

To give you another example, back in 2017, having worked full-time on my business since 2014, I gave birth to my beautiful son, Oscar. We were incredibly blessed to both work from home and so were able to share childcare duties equally. While I was working, my partner looked after our son and vice versa. I was terrified initially that this cut in hours would cause my business to fall apart. How would I possibly get everything done with only half the time I previously had? Funny that! The first year, before Oscar started nursery and I was able to go back to work full-time, just so happens to be one of the most productive periods in my career as a solopreneur to date. As well as the day-today of running my business, I launched a new business, built two websites and launched the Female Business Academy. Knowing I only had a few hours a day made me work smarter. I didn’t have time for perfectionism or procrastination, I had to get the job done and fast and so that’s what I did.

These are just a few of the many ways I’ve been shown over the years how sometimes, having less freedom and more limitations (especially on my time), sees me being more productive not less. It’s for this reason that I’m a big believer in scheduling blocks of time in your schedule for specific tasks. Because if, for example, we give ourselves all day to write a blog post, then guess what? We’ll take all day to write it. But if, for example, we give ourselves 90-minutes and set ourselves a timer, you’d be surprised how easy it is to write a blog post in 90 minutes. I live by my schedule and the days I don’t, far less gets done.

The irony here is that by enforcing a strict schedule around my work and limiting how long I can spend on things, rather than feel restricting, I find I’m more productive in those time blocks and as a result can enjoy my free time much more.


I’m a firm believer that structures and schedules don’t threaten your freedom, they protect it.



Once a week, in the form of an e-letter, I share the best of what I know about building a business with integrity for conscious business owners.

The intention behind these letters is to be a voice for integrity within your (undoubtedly) cluttered inbox. To be the one email you can count on to contain strategic and soulful advice for building a business without selling your soul.

If you want to receive the Soulful Strategies Weekly, simply share with me your name and email address below and you’ll start recieving emails right away.

How to Know If You’ve Stopped Being Authentic in Your Business

How to Know If You’ve Stopped Being Authentic in Your Business

“Be yourself, everyone else is taken.

~ Oscar Wilde

Back in 2014, was when I got real about creating my own business. After years of talking about building a coaching business, I finally started to earn a living from my coaching and my first few years in business were a complete adventure.

What finally got me from talking about, to actually creating, my dream business was working with a brilliant business coach, who taught me everything he knew about building a successful soul-centred business. One of the things he said to me on nearly every coaching call and wrote at the end of nearly every email he ever sent me were these two words “Be you.” Such a simple message yet, I now realise, at the time I didn’t get it at all. How could I not be me? I used to think. I don’t know how to be anyone else but me. But that’s where I was wrong.

Fast forward a couple of years and I was feeling stuck in my business, lacking passion and excitement and feeling disconnected from my work as a coach. For the life of me, I couldn’t work out why. When I looked at things more closely, I realised that this funk, this lack of passion for my business had, bizarrely, started around the same time my business success had reached an all-time high.

It was early 2016 and I had created an online Women’s Circle (filled with incredible ladies), I had filled my coaching practice with high-paying clients and I had even had my first $10,000 month. I should have felt elated but I didn’t and as the months went on, I felt more and more drained of energy and less and less connected to my business.

Later that same year, through the help of another coach and some serious soul searching, I worked out what it was all about. During the first two years of building my business, I had nothing to lose, I was starting from the ground up and was completely open to new ideas and to the approaches my coach and others were sharing with me. I was keen to learn and I operated from a place of trial and error. Most importantly I was open to failing, a key component of being successful and as a result it felt easy to show up and be me. After all what did I have to lose? 

With hindsight, what I realised is that once I had reached and even exceeded the ambitious goals I had set for my business back in 2015, I suddenly felt very constrained and unable to truly be myself in my work. It seemed as though the stakes had suddenly got very high. Despite the fact that I was charging more than I’d ever charged before for my coaching programs and people were still signing up, rather than confirm that I must be doing something right, something else entirely happened. I got scared.

I became more fearful of expressing myself fully in coaching sessions and online, I became more prone to comparing myself to other coaches and their level of success or the ease with which they ran their businesses and I became stuck with the idea that I had to follow what had worked before rather than continue in the vein I had originally built the business, that of trial and error and a willingness to fail. Suddenly, to my mind, failure seemed to come at a much greater cost and the fall from success suddenly seemed a lot higher.

The irony is that it was my willingness to be completely and authentically me that had led to me filling my coaching practice and exceeding my income goals yet after reaching that level of success, suddenly ‘being me’ didn’t seem like the best strategy. I felt like I needed to be more somehow, more professional, more coach-like, less challenging, less bold in my coaching, more safe. I had started to tone myself down, for fear of chasing away my newfound success.

I wanted to make changes in my business, to change my coaching programs up, to shift things in my women’s circle and to be more present online but I felt reticent to take a new direction and risk losing what I had thus far created. The “trial and error” approach of before was replaced with one of “tried and tested.”

There is so much talk of the importance of being authentic in business these days. In many ways it has become the strategy of success for any online business. As I wrote this article, I perused a few articles on the topic and I couldn’t help smiling as I read in one blog, under the title “Authenticity Checklist” things like ‘Always be consistent and avoid giving mixed messages’ and ‘Only make promises you are sure you can keep.’

Now I don’t know about you but that’s the opposite of being authentic for me. I’m certainly not always consistent and if I only made promises I was 100 per cent sure that I could keep, I wouldn’t make any at all. That doesn’t sound like being real to me, it sounds like being perfect. In another article I read about the importance of authenticity in your business because it’s a “trend that’s not going away.” A trend? 

This isn’t how I see authenticity. I don’t see it as a strategy to connect with my ideal clients or a way to build my personal brand. Instead for me it’s about dropping the filter we all, to some extent, feel we have to put up for people to like and accept us.

For me, being authentic, is what naturally happens when I don’t allow self-doubt and fear to cloud the way I show up.

Ten ways to spot when you are not being authentic in your business

1. You constantly compare yourself negatively to peers in your field.
2. You feel fearful of upsetting your clients or getting fired.
3. You find yourself holding back in your direct communications with clients and in your marketing.
4. You take on clients who you don’t feel excited to work with.
5. You have exciting ideas for your business put you put them aside for fear that people won’t resonate with them.
6. You obsess over your niche, fearful of getting clear on who your ideal client is for fear of scaring off the others. You try to please everyone.
7. You agonise over how to present yourself and your business to the world.
8. You don’t do certain things in your business out of a fear of failing or looking bad.
9. You stick to what has worked in the past and fail to understand why it no longer seems to be working.
10. You don’t feel free, excited and engaged in your work.

Once I had the epiphany that I had stopped being true to myself in my business, I changed so many things, from the way I showed up in my business to who I helped and what I helped them with. I now have a greater awareness of how easy it is to slip out of authenticity and into trying to be what we think people want us to be. I also know that it doesn’t have to be a level of success that has one feeling reticent to show up fully and authentically, sometimes that pressure to show up a certain way, or to do our work a certain way is there from day one. How ever it shows up, it’s crucial for you and your business that you find a way back to authenticity as quickly as you can. 

How about you? Does any of this post resonate? Do you recognise any signs that you might not be being fully true to yourself in your business? If so I’d love to hear from you so drop me a line in the comments. 


Once a week, in the form of an e-letter, I share the best of what I know about building a business with integrity for conscious business owners.

The intention behind these letters is to be a voice for integrity within your (undoubtedly) cluttered inbox. To be the one email you can count on to contain strategic and soulful advice for building a business without selling your soul.

If you want to receive the Soulful Strategies Weekly, simply share with me your name and email address below and you’ll start recieving emails right away.

A Conscious Approach to Client Creation

A Conscious Approach to Client Creation

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

~ Maya Angelou

What I’m going to share in this post can work for most service-based, conscious business owners, be they teachers, healers, wellness practitioners or coaches. But of course, my experience comes largely as a coach and it’s from that perspective that I share. It’s important that you consider how the approach might apply to your specific business.

Most of the advice we see online these days comes from the perspective of “getting” or “attracting” clients, we also hear all manner of nonsense about creating offers so irresistible that people will be fighting to hand over their money to you. The strategies most often taught focus on crafting the perfect image, message or brand that will, so they say, have people flocking to you. This is not the approach I teach nor is it an approach I advocate.

“Getting” clients is an old-fashioned, hunter-gatherer approach to growing a coaching practice. It’s outdated because it puts all of your success in the hands of other people. It puts you in an aggressive mindset that isn’t conducive to having people say yes. And it has your clients on edge, waiting for that moment when you are about to manipulate them.”

~ Rich Litvin

The approach I advocate is less about getting, attracting or persuading and more about creating. Creating clients comes about when we invest in the relationship with the person in front of us. When we put aside manipulation, persuasion and making the sale in place of creating a deeper relationship.

I don’t, for example, have a complicated or sophisticated sales funnels with trip wires and squeeze pages. Instead I have my knowledge and skillset and and a deep desire to see people succeed. I use these to do the following two things on a regular basis to facilitate deeper relationships with my right-fit people:

  1. Creating and sharing content consistently.
  2. Practicing authentic outreach.

Let me share with you more of how I use these two activities to create clients and to grow my business.

I put out content on a consistent basis and do my best to make that content meaningful and useful. I share the best of what I know freely and when people engage with that content and share with me how it helped, I use authentic outreach (more on that in this post) to reach out to get to know that person better, I offer my support. I start a conversation and if the conversation goes somewhere and I feel called to go deeper with the person, I will invite that person to have a complimentary coaching session with me. Not a “taster” session or a “discovery” call, in which I give a little and sell a lot. A full 60-90 minute, pitch-free, coaching session, where my number one goal is to serve powerfully.

At the end of the session, I give the person homework, regardless of whether or not I’ll ever speak to that person again, I want to leave them in action, I want to have them feeling the impact of our work together, beyond the time we spent on a call. If it’s a person who I feel excited to go deeper with, I offer a second complimentary session. I do this from a place of service. I never mention working together (I know some coaches do) and I only occasionally mention my services, yet I’d say 8 times out of 10, the person I’m coaching asks me what it could look like to work together. They don’t always become clients, but it follows that if someone feels powerfully served, they are curious about going deeper.

As my business has grown, I have less time for complimentary sessions but it’s still a huge part of my business model. Now maybe I do one every week or so but when I first began my coaching business, I coached hundreds of people, sometimes having as many as 5 complimentary sessions a day! The benefits of doing this are not just for the other person. The more I coached in my first year of business, the more confident I felt, the more referrals I got and the more testimonials I received and ultimately the more clients I created. I also fell into bed each night feeling like I’d made a difference. Like I’d had an impact. For me building a business this way was and is far more fulfilling than spending hours on social media, tweaking web copy, or trying to create the perfect brand.

I’d love to know what you think. Have you tried this approach to creating clients? Can you see how it might apply to your business? If so, I’d love to hear from you so drop me a line in the comments below. 



Once a week, in the form of an e-letter, I share the best of what I know about building a business with integrity for conscious business owners.

The intention behind these letters is to be a voice for integrity within your (undoubtedly) cluttered inbox. To be the one email you can count on to contain strategic and soulful advice for building a business without selling your soul.

If you want to receive the Soulful Strategies Weekly, simply share with me your name and email address below and you’ll start recieving emails right away.

A Simple Tool for Content Creation

A Simple Tool for Content Creation

Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

When it comes to creating content consistently, the biggest barrier many people face is coming up with strong content ideas and knowing what to write about. Couple with this a desire to create the perfect piece of content and you have a recipe, right there, for some serious writer’s block. It’s my feeling that we often feel as though the creative process is one that asks simply too much of us, so much so that publishing a piece of content, rather than be a simple task, becomes an insurmountable one.

I’ve struggled with this very thing myself at times and something that changed everything for me was a concept I first heard from Gary Vaynerchuck, which is the idea that we can document rather than create. On the face of it, that might seem almost too simple, but it’s actually a huge idea that can, if you let it, shift everything about how you create content for your business. What Vaynerchuck is pointing to here is the idea that we can share our process or journey with our audience rather than try to present a polished image of who we think we should be. He says this:

“Documenting your journey versus creating an image of yourself is the difference between saying “You should…” versus “my intuition says…”. Get it? It changes everything. I believe that the people who are willing to discuss their journeys instead of trying to front themselves as the “next big thing” are going to win.”

What’s so liberating about this idea is that it’s far easier to be ourselves and document what’s really going on than it is to create the perfect piece of content that will position us as the expert. People have enough of this type of content and in reality most people crave a more honest approach. I see so much more respect and admiration for those people who show up authentically than those who try to present a polished image. In my personal experience, the content I have created in which I am sharing my experience is always my most well received content.

So, whilst you might get the concept, I understand that you might be wondering just what it means to document your journey and what it even looks like to do so. In this post I just want to share with you a couple of ways I do it and some examples.

But before I do I want you to consider what you do. Perhaps you’re a coach or a teacher, perhaps you’re a healer or wellness practitioner. Whatever your gift, you have your own personal journey with it. Let me explain, as a Business Coach, I not only have my experience of coaching business owners, but I have my experience of being a business owner, both are rich with lessons that it benefits my audience to share. Sometime I have a really great session with a client who has a big breakthrough that helps them see an old problem with a completely new, and far more helpful, perspective. When this happens, I’ll share it with my audience, of course protecting the identity of my client, but sharing the learning from the experience.

There are other times when I have a personal breakthrough as part of my own entrepreneurial journey and when this happens, I do the same. I take some time, while it’s still fresh in my mind to create a post or make a video and I share the learning with my audience. When we open our eyes to how unique and important our own journey is, especially to the people we’re trying to help, we begin to see more and more ways to document our journey for others rather than create content from a far less authentic and personal place. In this blog post I show you how I combine both a client story and a personal story to illustrate an important lesson.

“One of the biggest mistakes people make when creating content for their personal brand is trying to oversell themselves because they think that’s what’s going to get people’s attention. Whether you’re a business coach or motivational speaker or artist, I think it’s much more fruitful to talk about your process than about the actual advice you “think” you should be giving them.”

Another way to document vs create is to share your point of view, when something in your industry comes up that you have an opinion about, rather than keep it to yourself or save it for private conversations, share it with your audience. Why? Because doing so sets you apart from others in your industry and shows what makes your business, and the services you offer, more unique. Here you can read an example of something that I had seen another business coach putting out into the world that goes against everything I believe in. I simply let loose and wrote a short rant about my experience on my business Facebook page and it got more engagement than anything else I had posted in a long while.

The key to this approach is to share the content as close to the experience as possible. If you leave it too long, rather than it be a piece you document, which tends to flow out of us with ease, it feels more like a created piece, which inevitably takes more effort. My suggestion is that you raise your awareness of the opportunities that are present every day to document and share your journey with your people. 

So there you have it, a fairly simple but mighty approach to content creation and one that calls on us to be our most authentic selves, what could be better right? Do you have experience of these two modes of content creation? Does your experience tally with what I’ve shared here? Either way, I’d love to here from you, so do let me know in the comments below.



Once a week, in the form of an e-letter, I share the best of what I know about building a business with integrity for conscious business owners.

The intention behind these letters is to be a voice for integrity within your (undoubtedly) cluttered inbox. To be the one email you can count on to contain strategic and soulful advice for building a business without selling your soul.

If you want to receive the Soulful Strategies Weekly, simply share with me your name and email address below and you’ll start recieving emails right away.

Everything I Use to Run My Business

Everything I Use to Run My Business

The best investment is in the tools of one’s own trade.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

As a one-woman business, if there is something I can use to make my business life easier, I’ll gladly take it. Over the years I’ve taken on numerous free and paid for tools to help me operate more effectively and efficiently in my business. The key has been finding the right tools to streamline my processes rather than complicate them. With so many tools available, it’s easy to end up feeling overwhelmed rather than empowered. It’s for this purpose I wanted to share the tools I use and the processes in which I use them.


I offer complimentary coaching calls to members of my audience to both be of service and to give them a true sense of what it would feel like to work with me. To allow people to book sessions with me online, I use a tool called Calendly. It allows me to simply share a URL either as a link on my website such as on this page or in an email or message. I have my Calendly synced with my Google Calendar so that when people check my availability on Calendly it’s aligned with the calendar I use daily to schedule calls and tasks.

The premium version of Calendly (which I have) allows you to use different URLs for different types of events so once I’ve signed a new client I send them a different URL (specific to clients) so that they can book in their sessions. Doing this saves a lot back and forth.

Calendly is free if you only use one event type. Otherwise there are premium and pro options. I use the premium option as I host many different types of calls.

Video Calls (1:1 and Group) 

To host all of my calls, both 1:1 coaching sessions and the live group calls I host for my Female Business Academy, I use Zoom. I used to use Skype but the quality of calls wasn’t great and to record sessions, I had to purchase a separate call recorder and then it was on me to upload the calls (to Google Drive) for my clients to be able to then download them. It was such a hassle! What I love about Zoom is that the call quality is great and my clients can record the sessions themselves, meaning I don’t have to worry about doing anything after the call or having recordings taking space on my hard drive.

It also allows fun features on my group calls like break-out rooms – so I can divide up my attendees into smaller groups for group discussions. There are a whole host of other features and what’s great is that if you want to use zoom for 1:1 calls, you can get the free version, which has unlimited 1:1 calls. If you’re wanting it for group calls, then you’ll probably want the pro version (which I use) as there is a 40 minute time limit on group calls in the free version.

File storage and sharing

Google drive is a free cloud storage service which you can get when you register for a google account, you’ll automatically have it if you have a gmail account. I mainly use this to share files with clients that are too big to send by email or when I want to allow the other person to make comments or edit. Most of my clients use it to send me content they want my feedback on and what’s great about Google Drive is that I can edit right in the document in real time and they’ll see the changes right away. I can also access documents in my Google Drive folder from my computer and my phone. You get 15GB free and if you want more you can upgrade.


In much of my business communication, I use photography, to accompany blog posts, on my website, with my social media posts and in worksheets and e-books. There are three places I get my photos from. For free images, I use Unsplash and Pexels and for paid images I use Creative Market.

Graphic Design 

I do my own branding and have a set of brand colours and brand fonts. To create designs for my business like, social media posts, blog post images, headers for social media channels and workbooks and guides, I use Canva. It’s an amazing tool that allows you to create professional looking graphic design without being a professional designer. It also comes with a free version. I have the paid version called Canva for Work which has a whole host of extra features including the ability to have in one place all of your brand colours and fonts, the ability to re-size designs and upload custom fonts for your brand.

I also use Creative Market for my graphic design needs. They have a wide range of fonts, social media templates and design elements that I use to make my designs look even more professional.

Creating PDFs 

As well as the graphic design tools mentioned above, I also use Adobe Acrobat when I have a lot of work to do on a PDF such as with my Business Planner product, where I needed to combine various PDFs created in Canva and then make a LOT of sections editable. If I’m working on a paid for product, I’ll simply get the monthly subscription of Adobe Acrobat and then cancel when I’m done. For smaller jobs and free PDFs, I use a free tool called Small PDF, which is also great!


There are a few tools I use to manage my business finances. I use Paypal to create payment buttons on my website. I use Paypal and Stripe to accept payments for my Academy and coaching and I use Freshbooks to track my expenses and income, raise invoices and track client hours.

To sell my digital products and affiliate schemes, I also use Sendowl.


All of my websites (I have three) are built on WordPress using the Divi theme and hosted with Hostgator. I recently switched from WP Engine to Hostgator to save costs and to be totally honest, regret the decision. WP Engine is pricey but far superior in all ways.

On my websites I use Google Analytics to track my website traffic. I’m also a fan of these plugins: Yoast SEO for my SEO, W3 Total Cache for performance improvements, Updraft Plus for back-ups of my site and Askimet for spam protection. Other than Askimet, I use free versions of all of these plugins.

Running a Membership Site

I run a membership subscription service called the Female Business Academy. The Membership is hosted on a website using the Memberpress plugin. It’s on this site that I have all of the classes, including videos and workbooks and all other resources and live group call recordings. The plugin allows people to subscribe to the Academy and get login details and access to the classes and content.

Making Videos

To record my videos I usually use Zoom for interviews and classes or Quicktime Player for my screen tutorials. For Facebook lives, it’s my Macbook Pro or my iPhone7. I edit my more complicated videos using iMovie (which is free on Mac computers) and Quicktime Player for simple edits. To host and share my videos I use Youtube (free version) and Vimeo (pro version). For any graphics in my videos, I use Canva and for all the music I use in my intro and outros, I buy rights to on AudioJungle.


To have a professional email address that includes my domain name (caroline@carolineleon.com) I use GSuite. To send my weekly newsletter, I use Mailchimp. I also used to use Convertkit, which I like a lot but it’s a lot more expensive. In my opinion, Mailchimp is definitely the best email marketing solution for beginners (and even for many old pros) in business.

Task Management

To manage my tasks across all of my projects and services, I use Todoist, which allows me to manage tasks on both my Macbook and my iPhone. I also use the free version of Trello to keep a record of content ideas. To record and review my annual goals and plans I use my own Business Planner which I created because I couldn’t find anything on the market that adequately covered all of my planning needs.

Contact Management

To manage my contacts and clients I use the free version of CapsuleCRM which allows me to keep all of my contact details in one place, including copies of emails sent and received. It also allows me to set reminders and tasks that relate specifically to my contacts, which is great for helping me to better manage my relationships and outreach activities. There are other features of this tool but I’m not currently using them.

What all of these tools do is help me to run my business more efficiently as a solopreneur. This particular set of tools has come about after years of trial and error and I’m happy with each and everyone of them. If you have any questions about the tools I’ve shared here, please drop them in the comments below and if you have other tools that you use that aren’t listed here, please share those too. 



Once a week, in the form of an e-letter, I share the best of what I know about building a business with integrity for conscious business owners.

The intention behind these letters is to be a voice for integrity within your (undoubtedly) cluttered inbox. To be the one email you can count on to contain strategic and soulful advice for building a business without selling your soul.

If you want to receive the Soulful Strategies Weekly, simply share with me your name and email address below and you’ll start recieving emails right away.