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Why + How to Slow Down the Sale

Why + How to Slow Down the Sale

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
~ Lao Tzu

In this blog post I talk about slowing down the sale. Both the importance of it and some practical ways to do it.

It’s important to note that what we’re talking about here is, in the main, the kind of sales made within the context of a conversation, i.e. higher priced services such as 1:1 work or group programs, although some of what I share can be applied to your sales pages for lower priced digital products too.

We are living in a world where speed is celebrated as the be all and end all and nowhere do we see this more than in the world of online business.

Most marketing practices we see online are designed to get people to buy now. We’re encouraged to use false deadlines, trip wires and countdown timers to hurry people along in their decision to buy.

Just recently, whilst reading a newsletter, I felt a wave of disappointment when I followed a link to a recommended training and realised it was one of those pages that gives you just minutes to decide if you want to attend it and then invites you to book a time slot, even though it’s a recording, so the very idea of time slots is something of a nonsense!

We’re taught to play on people’s fear of missing out in order to get them to buy, whether or not it is in their best interests to do so.

In traditional online marketing the focus is on getting the sale and getting it quick before the buyer has a chance to change their mind or figure out that what’s on offer isn’t what they truly need or want!

Some business experts will even encourage you to tell buyers to get out their credit card and make high ticket purchases on the call — yuck!

As conscious business owners, this is not how you want to treat your potential clients and customers, yet it can sometimes feel like this is the only way to really make money in your business.

In this article, I want to get across the point that there is another way.

In fact, what I’m going to share is an approach that not only differs from what we’re usually told about “closing the sale” but that actually flies in the face of it.

What I’m talking about is slowing down the sale.

Taking the foot off the gas pedal and creating time and space in which our customers can make an informed decision about whether or not to buy from us.

Why is this so important?

Slowing down the sale is important for several reasons.

Top of the list for me is that it cultivates trust. Unlike what many online marketers would have you believe, rather than letting the sale escape, what it actually does is make a true and genuine yes much more likely. This is because people have the space to say no, meaning that when they say yes, you can count on it.

I can’t tell you how many times, clients have come to me complaining that people have said yes to working with them on a sales call, only to later change their mind or, worse still, have started to ghost them. The reason? They felt pressured to say yes, but deep down didn’t want to or they didn’t have enough time to make the right decision for them in the first place.

Slowing down the sale also ensures that you only work with right-fit clients. When you’ve spent adequate time with another person, getting to know them and taking the time to ensure that what you offer and what they need is a fit, then you are much more likely to enrol people who will benefit from your service. Working with ideal clients means you get to do your best work, which in turn means you’re much more likely to have a greater impact, which in turn leads to glowing testimonials and word of mouth referrals. If you’ve already experienced working with a less than ideal client or a perfect one, you’ll know what I mean.

Another important reason to slow down the sale is that it feels better for you as the business owner and for your would-be clients. No one likes to feel like they are pressuring someone into saying yes and nobody enjoys being pressured to make a decision faster than feels comfortable for them. When we as business owners create space for the right decision for all to be make, it makes such a refreshing change from the usual online practice of closing the sale quickly, that people really feel the difference and feel enormously grateful as a result.

And last but definitely not least, I believe we should slow down the sale because it’s the right thing to do. Might we lose some people, who would otherwise say yes with a bit more pressure? Maybe, but for those people who do say yes, what we create are relationships far more likely to last over time, because they are built on a foundation of trust and respect. So slowing down the sale is both the right thing to do and doesn’t have to mean less income in the long run, because when you work with people who trust you, they will buy from you again and again. I have seen lots of evidence of this in my own business.

That covers much of the why around slowing down the sale but how do we do it in practical terms. Below you’ll find six practical steps you can take to slow down the sale.

1. Slow yourself down

Slowing yourself down absolutely has to happen before you can genuinely slow down the sale for the customer. Oftentimes, before the money is flowing consistently in our business, we might find ourselves feeling needy or even desperate for the sale, so much so that when someone shows interest, it can be hard not to pounce on the opportunity.

Regardless of our financial needs, keeping our energy in check is crucial, if we are serious about creating the necessary space and conditions for a right-fit sale to occur. In the early days of my business, before talking to someone about working together I would remind myself that whilst I might need (or really want) to make a sale, I didn’t need to make this sale. That was my way of reminding myself that there would be other sales conversations and that getting a sale was not more important than enrolling the right person to my coaching program. Ahead of complimentary sessions or sales conversations, I would often meditate to get into a calm and trusting space — this really helped me to slow down.

2. Slow the customer down

You get to set the pace, just because someone you’ve never met before writes and asks you to share details of your packages, doesn’t mean you have to send over your prices in a heartbeat. Instead, you can say something like: before we get to that, let’s look at what you really need and whether or not what I offer can truly help you.

I see this with clients all the time. They are in reaction mode when someone expresses an interest in working together and because they haven’t taken the time to slow themselves down, they feel like they have to respond as quickly as possible with whatever the potential client has asked for.

Personally I won’t agree to work with someone unless I’ve coached or had a conversation with them and feel certain that there is something I can support them with. With that in mind, discussing the logistics of working together feels very premature. Besides which all of those details are on my sales page. I would much rather get into a conversation about why they are looking for help and what kind of help they are looking for before we even think about buying or selling.

3. Carve out adequate time and space to have a sales conversation

Of course sales conversations largely relate to the kind of services that people enrol for (such as coaching or group programs) because people are highly unlikely to put down several thousands dollars for such a service without having a conversation with you first.

Many online services providers will offer a short “discovery call” for this purpose but I am not a fan of these (you can read more here for my reasons). If you are currently allocating 30 or 40 minutes for these conversations, I would encourage you to extend the time. You might even have several conversations. Or like me, offer a complimentary session before you even get to the conversation about sales so that you both really get to experience what working together would feel like.

The reason I like to give more than 30 or 40 minutes is because really discussing what the potential client is dealing with and what support they are needing takes time. Why rush it? If the income is going to be several thousands of dollars or more, isn’t it worth spending an hour (or more) to give the potential client the best enrollment experience possible?

4. Test the yes

Even when someone says yes, I encourage you to ask questions that test the yes. It can feel counterintuitive to do this when you want to make the sale but it’s essential if you want to enrol someone who is a right-fit for your service. I encourage you to ask questions like:

Are you sure? Are you a hell yes?

Who else do you need to talk to before you can make this decision?

Do you need more time or information in order to make this decision?

Why do you want to do *this* program?

Why do you want to hire *me* specifically? Why not another coach or healer?

These questions slow down the sale and they let the would-be client know that you are not desperate to make the sale and that you genuinely want them to make the right decision for them (which incidentally will be the right decision for both of you!).

It’s such a different approach to trying to overcome the person’s objections (a practice I loathe), because it’s actually encouraging the objections and then allowing space for the potential client to either honour those objections or overcome them for themselves. In my experience, if I have to work hard to help a client overcome their objections, then they’re not an ideal client. Part of what makes a person ideal for me is that they are 100% in and excited to get started, anything less makes for a less than ideal working relationship.

As conscious business owners we know that each person has all the wisdom they need within themselves to make the right decisions — doing sales in this way honours that truth.

And even if you’re selling something that doesn’t require a sales conversation you can still slow the sale down. The next two points relate to things you can do on your sales page in service to this idea.

5. State clearly who your products and services are not for

On my sales pages I like to make it clear who my product or service is *not* a fit for. We so often fear turning people away that we would never dream of doing this but the clearer you can be about who you can and can’t help and who you want and don’t want to work with, the more likely you are to get clients and customers who are a perfect fit.

I love the way Tad Hargrave does this with some of his offerings — he has what he calls an Are you sure? page, which pops up when you try to buy some of his services and then he basically lists all of the reasons why you shouldn’t buy. It flies in the face of conventional marketing and personally I think it’s both clever and kind. I love what he does on his 1:1 coaching page to manage expectations and ensure fit. You can check it out here.

6. Be mindful of your language

Are you using wording like BUY NOW and/or creating false scarcity or using arbitrary deadlines? If so, I recommend you stop doing so. You may get the sale in the short-term but you’ll seriously erode trust and may find that you end up with unhappy customers because they bought something that wasn’t truly a fit.

The last thing we want is to have lots of unsatisfied clients out in the world sharing their dissatisfaction about our work with others. Instead of creating false scarcity why not let people know (if it’s true) that there will be other opportunities to join your program or purchase your product. Again, this slows down the sale and has people buy from a centered place rather than out of anxiety or FOMO. It makes such a difference.

We get told that we need to use pressurising tactics in order to get the sale but by slowing the sale down, what you ultimately do is cultivate a deep trust, something that over time will help you to build a sustainable and deeply impactful business with truly loyal customers who sing your praises every chance they get. Now doesn’t that sound preferable to the alternative?

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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.

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Five Things I Ask All New Clients To Do

Five Things I Ask All New Clients To Do

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

~ Abraham Lincoln

After opening up a number of new coaching spots on my calendar, resulting in having several first sessions with new clients. It dawned on me that it might be useful to share with you the five things I always focus on with new clients to make the best use of our time together. These are, in my opinion, five of the most important things we need to work on to ensure the best chance of success. I should warn you this is a long one but definitely worth working through.

1. Activate your network

Nine times out of ten, one of the pieces of homework to fall out of the first session with a new client is to do my outreach challenge in order to activate their network.

We all have a network, whether we think we do or not. Our network includes all sorts of people:

  • Colleagues — people we are working with or have worked with (either in a former job or with our current business),
  • People in our audience — our followers, subscribers and consumers of our content,
  • Our clients — former, current and potential,
  • People we admire — the people in our industry who we follow, our mentors, the people who inspire us.
  • Personal — friends, family and general supporters of our work.

When we are busy working on our business, we tend to let some of these relationships go quiet, we forget to keep in touch and as a result our network becomes dormant. Activating our network means keeping these connections alive. Reminding people that we are here. Being of service to our network and becoming front of mind for people. This way they are more likely to think of you when someone they know is struggling with the very struggle you help people to overcome. It not only makes good business sense but it also feels good to be connected.

The challenge in a nutshell is to reach out to 50 people in 7 days simply just to check in, free from agenda and with the sole purpose of connecting or re-connecting. For the full instructions (which I highly recommend you follow if you want to take on the challenge) click here. Be sure to watch this video before getting started.

2. Set up your ideal schedule

When people first start working with me it’s quite common that their schedule or calendar isn’t as organised or as optimised as it could be. I usually start by inviting my clients to consider what their ideal schedule would be and answer questions like:

  • What timetable do you want to have? What days will you work? What days will you have OFF? What will be your working hours? When will you take breaks?
  • On which days do you want to do client calls? Is your calendar wide open to your clients or do you only want to do live calls on certain days or at certain times of the day?
  • What key activities will you schedule in each week? When will you do outreach? When will you create content? When will you check email?

I usually walk them through my schedule using the ideal schedule I’ve created in my Google Calendar, which you can see below.

Initially some people find my schedule overwhelming because every space is blocked off but it needn’t feel overwhelming. As I always say to my clients, if you set up your schedule to include everything that needs to get done including the breaks you need to take then you’re creating the conditions for success.

If Monday afternoon at 2pm rolls around and your schedule says check email and you really want to work on some content you can always move things around, but having things scheduled in, shows you at a glance what needs to get done over the course of the week.

One area I’d encourage you not to move is your breaks. If you’re in the flow it can be very tempting to stay at your desk and work through your breaks but I do believe you pay the price later on with a lessened ability to focus and inevitably less energy. Breaks are essential to maintain our focus and energy throughout the day.

3. Create a content schedule

Consistent content creation is one of the first things I like to get my clients started on if they are not doing it already. One of the most important steps you can take on your journey to consistent content creation is to create a content schedule. Whilst many people think that scheduling their content is a sure fire way to stifle their creativity, I assure you that if you give this a try you may be very surprised by the results. To create your content schedule you’ll need to follow these 3 steps:

1. Choose your channels. Rather than have 5 or 6 channels you show up inconsistently on choose 1–3 channels to show up on. If you are just starting out with content, I would recommend getting started with one channel and not adding in another until you are consistent with that one.

2. Choose your rhythm. Once you’ve chosen where you’ll share your content, you’ll need to consider when you want to publish content. Take into account that with one new piece of content a week, you can publish far more frequently than that simply by repurposing.

3. Create your plan. Your plan should bring together the where and when, (as determined above) with the what of your content. Your overall plan might then look something like this, which you can then populate with actual topic ideas later on.

 

4. Plan out your year

I invite all my clients and Mastermind participants to create an annual business plan at the start of the year, but no matter when someone starts working with me, if they haven’t already, I invite them to set an overall objective for the rest of the year, up to 3 strategic priorities to help them achieve that objective plus a set of simple goals under each priority.

To give you an example of what that looks like in practice, here are mine for this year.

My overall business aim for 2021: To put in place the systems, services and products to scale the success I’ve achieved in 2020 to double my annual income without working more than 7 hours a day.

My Strategic Priorities:
1. Systems
2. Business Model
3. Products

The goals under each:
Systems: 1. Make Notion my business hub. 2. Get SOPs in place. 3. Streamline software and apps. 4. Improve and streamline client improvement.
Business Model: 1. Deliver workshop plan. 2. Retain 30% of current Mastermind participants and get glowing testimonials. 3. Maintain full roster of 1:1 clients with increased rate.
Products: 1. Research, design and deliver a new product or products that can bring in passive income.

5. Simplify their business model.

Last but not least, I usually invite my new clients to simplify their existing business model. Many business owners fall into the trap of thinking that the more they offer the better their chances are of getting the sale. I’ve actually found the opposite to be true and that the more simple my business model is, the more money I make because it’s easy for people to access and choose how they want to work with me.

What we usually do is close down any service that isn’t bringing in regular income to allow us to focus on the service or services that are or that we want to be.

So there you have it, 5 things I work on with new clients so that we can then continue the journey together with the essentials addressed. Each of these could be a whole article in itself but I hope you have enough information here to have a look at each of these in turn and take some action to better set yourself up for success.

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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 Start Enjoying The Sales Process

How To Start Enjoying The Sales Process

“Sales is not about selling anymore, but about building trust and educating.”

~ Siva Devaki

I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by authentic business coach, George Kao. Now if you’ve known me for any length of time, you’ll know that I am a huge fan of George’s work and his approach to business.

George initially invited me to share about my most interesting insights and learnings when it comes to business growth and after spending not too long thinking about it, I decided that what I most wanted to talk about was how we sell. After making just a few notes on the topic, 4 distinctions emerged that I felt called to share. Distinctions that I think can help to reframe the sales process for you, the conscious business owner.

I share these 4 distinctions as an alternative to the mainstream marketing advice you might usually find online about how to sell.

Sales and marketing present the biggest struggle for the majority of people I work with. This is I believe, a result of what they think they need to do in order to get more sales. My hope is that the 4 alternatives I present below, help you to see that sales can, in fact, feel good for you, the business owner and for the people you are selling to.

1. Create Vs Attract

I talked about this distinction in some detail in another article. If you didn’t see it then, head here now to get the full low-down. Essentially, what I mean by creating clients versus attracting them is placing a focus on building meaningful relationships with people in your network and audience versus trying to present a polished image to the world so as to attract people to your business. Mainstream advice would have us focus on things like branding, web design, professional photos and persuasive copy as a means to sell but in this alternative approach, none of that is actually essential.

Instead of focusing on how your business “looks”, it’s possible to create clients by showing up for the people you already know and serving them deeply, whether that be through your content, complimentary sessions or any other way of being generous with your expertise. An analogy I share in the video is this:

Imagine you were looking for the love of your life and rather than spend your time going out and having fun meeting people and making meaningful connections, you spent all of your time focused on your appearance, working out in the gym to have the perfect body, spending all your money on the perfect clothes and spending hours each day trying to make your hair and makeup look perfect.

How do you think that would go? Sure you might attract some people but would they be there for the right reasons? Would the connections you make be rooted in what’s important? Most of us know this when it comes to finding a partner but when it comes to our business we fall into the trap of trying to present the perfect image. Today, I’m giving you full permission to let go of that.

2. Demonstrating expertise vs describing it

As part of the mainstream attraction model, we’re often taught that in order to sell our products and services, we must become masters of persuasion. In order to “convert” our audience into buyers, we must becomes experts at describing our services in such a way that the potential client can’t wait to buy. There are many strategies touted online designed to manipulate people into buying from us. Check out the ethical move for a set of tactics we advise you avoid in favour of more ethical alternatives.

In place of trying to convince people to buy your products and services with words, I encourage you to demonstrate your expertise instead. You can do this in a number of ways including, but not limited to, offering complimentary sessions, hosting free workshops, publishing free training videos so people can see your work in action and last but not least, sharing your knowledge in your content. And with this last point, I advise that you don’t hint at what you know to get the sale, instead share generously and in doing so cultivate deeper trust with your audience.

3. Serving vs Selling

This is where our primary objective when connecting with people in our network is to serve rather than to sell. Be that to potential clients, your colleagues and peers as well as mentors and role models. Whenever you find yourself thinking about making an ask of someone, see if you can find a way to serve instead. Here are two examples of what this might look like:

Instead of writing to former clients to ask if they know anyone who might be interested in working with you, write to them to offer a pitch-free, complimentary session to gift to someone in their network. In doing so you give the gift of giving to one of your former clients, the gift of your service to someone new and at the same time, ask for nothing in return. No selling is involved, yet you get an opportunity to demonstrate your experience to someone who may benefit from working with you.

Another place this distinction shows up for me is in your content, how often do we read newsletters and social media posts that go deep into a problem we might have, only to lead us to a solution we then have to buy — which goes something like…do you have this problem? Is it causing you all of these sorts of suffering? Then don’t despair because everything you need is available in my course, e-book, program etc.

When you serve in your content rather than sell, you cultivate trust, demonstrate your expertise and allow people to get value from your work whether they buy or not. Now you might be sat there thinking but I need to sell or I can’t pay my bills. In my experience the less I focus on selling and the more I focus on serving, the more my business grows.

4. Authentic pricing vs Premium pricing

Again this is one I cover in some detail in this article but for the purposes of this post, I’ll share the distinction in a nutshell. Whilst mainstream business advice will nearly always tell you to raise your prices, I’m here to tell you that you can build a profitable business without charging insane amounts of money for your services. In fact, often adopting the premium pricing model for your coaching, mentoring or healing services can have the adverse effect of making less than money than you otherwise might.

Big prices don’t necessarily equate to big income. In fact for many people the opposite happens. The bigger the price, the harder they have to work to get the sale and the less income is being generated overall. I invite you to tune out the noise online about pricing and to tune into what feels right to you as a business owner.

I hope you’ve found those distinctions useful and if you want to hear me and George chat about them, you can watch the video of our conversation here.

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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.

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How To Tap Into A Consistent Flow Of Inspiration

How To Tap Into A Consistent Flow Of Inspiration

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
~ Pablo Picasso

 

Now, if you know anything at all about me, you’ll know that I believe that consistent content creation is a wonderful way to grow your business.

As a Business Coach then, it’s no surprise that I advocate content creation as a strategy for business growth, to most of the people I coach. Without hesitation, the most common response I get is something along the lines of, “oh yeah but I can’t write on demand” or “I can only write when inspiration strikes.”

In this blog post I’m going to demonstrate why waiting for inspiration to strike before you begin a creative endeavour is the result of flawed thinking and what to do instead.

Let’s cut straight to the chase.

Inspiration is most likely to show up if and when we get our butts in our chair and get down to work.

Whether it’s creating a masterpiece or just churning out your latest blog post, taking steps to begin is our best guarantee of the muse showing up to guide us.

I’ve known this to be true in my own life. It’s how I was able to write 30 blog posts in 30 days back in 2018 – you can trust me when I tell you that I didn’t feel inspired to write my daily blog post on most of those days but I completed the challenge anyhow.

It’s also how I write brand new content pretty much every week even on the days when I’m not sure what the hell I’m going to write about. So many people ask me how I manage to create content so consistently, while at the same time telling me that they simply wouldn’t be able to do it.

My answer is simple. I have scheduled time in my diary every week to sit down and create content and I show up and do it even when I don’t feel like it. Some weeks, I have to drag the words out of me, some days they flow with ease but the one thing that is guaranteed, the more consistently I show up to create content, the more consistently my inspiration flows.

Many of our world’s greatest creators have argued the point that in order to create, rather than wait for inspiration to strike, we must show up and sit down to do the work and the rest will follow.

Steven Pressfield, author of Turning Pro and The War of Art says:

“…she (the artist, the writer) doesn’t wait for inspiration, she acts in the anticipation of its apparition.”

What I love about this quote is that it implies a level of trust. When I talk about consistent content creation, many people share with me that they are worried they will run out of ideas and things to say. Allow me to take a moment now to tell you now that this is impossible. To fear running out of ideas is to imply that inspiration is a finite resources.

Inspiration is, for sure, a mysterious thing. If we don’t get intimate with our muse, it can be forgivable to think that she might flake out on us, that there might be times when she will leave us hanging. But if you’ve ever leaned deep into your relationship with inspiration (aka your muse), you’ll know that if you play your part (butt in chair) she has indeed always got your back.

Novelist Isabel Allende was famously quoted as saying:

“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.”

Liz Gilbert also speaks to this idea in her wonderful book, Big Magic when she writes:

“It’s a relationship, it’s a conversation, and all [the muse] wants is to be treated with respect and dignity — and it will return ten thousand times over.”

You don’t need to be a novelist or a famous artist to develop a relationship with your muse. You don’t need to be working on a masterpiece for her to show up, but you do have to be working on something.

In researching inspiration, I came across two definitions:

  1. The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative.
  2. A divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation.

I thought it interesting that one definition talks of process and another of divinity. I like this. I’m somewhat of a process person, I like the idea that I can follow a process that will churn out a healthy dollop of inspiration at the end of it, but an even bigger part of me likes the idea that inspiration comes from a place we cannot see, from something far bigger than us. That way, it’s not on me to come up with the ideas for my creations, I can tap into an infinite source of divine guidance whenever I show willing and, when necessary, a touch of patience.

I’m not saying that there aren’t hard days, when it feels like inspiration has packed her bags and left for good, but I’ve been writing and creating content for too many years now to fall for that one.

So the next time you tell yourself you can’t be creative unless inspiration strikes, just know that she’s watching you and waiting for you to make the first move.

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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.

Trucking Through The Downswings

Trucking Through The Downswings

“I believe there’s a natural ebb and flow to our weeks and months. Sometimes we’re up, everything comes easy and we have an abundance of energy. And sometimes it’s a huge struggle to even work one hour per day.”

~ Niall Doherty

This piece is titled after a blog post I read and loved many years ago, written by the legendary Niall Doherty. I loved this piece because, at the time I first read it (circa 2011), it so well put into words a phenomena I was well-accustomed to but hadn’t realised that we all face.

What I’m referring to is the unavoidable fact that there are times in our life, during which we feel completely motivated and full of energy and there are times (sometimes for no apparent reason) that we’re simply not. In fact, even more so, we feel positively de-motived and seriously lacking in energy.

This state of affairs, if not managed appropriately, can be seriously damaging for the solopreneur. Rarely do we have someone available to pick up the slack when we’re off our game so our business inevitably suffers. Also, if we repeatedly fail to handle these periods properly, we can become disillusioned and depressed about our ability to run a successful business.

We all know how important consistency is to our success, right? So how do we maintain consistency of output when our energy and motivation levels fluctuate so regularly?

And let’s get real here, when we’re talking about the downswing, it’s not just the natural ebb and flow of our energy that we need to consider, it’s all the other things life throws at us along the way, such as illness, emotional upheaval, holidays, distractions and general life stuff. Given how much life throws at us in the course of our daily lives, it’s no wonder that our “flow” is, more often than not, reduced to a trickle rather than a steady gush.

So, what are we to do with this?

I wish there was a simple fix but unfortunately there isn’t. The reason for this is two-fold:

a) downswings (or rough patches) are a natural part of life and therefore cannot be eliminated entirely and
b) the way to better handle a downswing is extremely nuanced. There is, unfortunately, no one-size fits all approach.

By nuanced I mean that there are times when the response to your downswing is to get tough and display some serious discipline and at others it’s to give yourself a break and allow yourself to recover and regroup plus a plethora of responses somewhere in-between.

The problem I see most people face is that they are either consistently hard on themselves and are therefore on a fast track to burnout, or they consistently let themselves off the hook and as a result, never really make ground with their businesses.

I have a few suggestions to help you better manage this:

1. Raise your awareness

Raising your awareness of your emotional, mental and physical state is absolutely key for navigating the highs and lows of life. One way I love to do this is a practice called morning pages, where, first thing, before doing anything else, I free write 750 words, no editing, no purpose, just writing whatever is present in the moment, this can really help you to better understand what’s going on for you. When we know what’s going on and have an awareness of how we’re truly feeling, then we’re better equipped to choose an appropriate course of action.

2. Get honest with yourself

With your awareness raised, you’re far better placed to choose an appropriate response to whatever is going on for you. Feeling tired because you stayed up late and binge-watched Netflix episodes? Then suck it up and get back on track, because giving into the temptation to lie in is a slippery slope. Feeling run-down because you’ve been sick, whilst working too many hours on your business and caring for a family member? Then consider giving yourself a break and/or some nurturing self-care. If you have taken the time to truly understand what’s going on for you, and follow that with being really honest with yourself about what you need then the appropriate course of action will become clear.

3. Make the most of the upswings

Knowing that a downswing can strike at any moment, it’s crucial to make the most of those times when we’re on fire and feeling like we can accomplish anything. Feeling in the flow with your writing? Why not batch create a few blog posts so that you have something in reserve for the weeks you’re really not feeling it? Feeling lit up by creating graphics in Canva? don’t stop at the ones you need for this week, batch create enough to cover you in less productive times. Taking into account the fact that your upswing will inevitably transition into it’s well-known counterpart, allows you to make the most of your periods of increased creativity to put in place things that can cover you during the low.

And if all else fails, use your downswing as inspiration for your business. The idea for this post for example came during  the middle of one of my own personal downswings and rather than pull out my hair trying to figure out what to share, I looked at what I was experiencing and chose to share this: my best advice for dealing with this very situation.

This is important for several reasons. First of all because it gets my mind thinking about what I personally need to do (or not do) in order to feel better and secondly it’s important for my audience to know that I too struggle with periods of low energy and a lack of productivity. If all I did was present to you my best self, that would suck because it might have you believe that what you feel when your motivation levels are on the floor isn’t normal and is somehow a failing on your part.

Rest assured it’s not. We all struggle. We all have downswings and there is a way to succeed in spite of them.

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