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When It’s Time To Recycle In Your Business

When It’s Time To Recycle In Your Business

“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”
~ Fred Rogers

I want to talk to you about recycling in your business. What it is, why it’s important and when it might be time to start recycling in yours.

My word of the year has been EASE for the past two years. One of the overarching goals of my business at all times is:

To make more money, doing less work, without sacrificing impact.

This is something that guides the many business decisions I take and recycling is a huge part of this for me.

What do I mean by recycling?

I basically mean reusing things that you have already created in your business to achieve further growth.

I also refer to this as repurposing. Some examples include:

  • Re-sharing content on different platforms or in different formats. For example, turning a long-form blog post like this one into a carousel like this one on Instagram.
  • Taking something you’ve created for one purpose and recycling it to use for something else. For example, I’ve taken classes that I’ve taught to my Conscious Business Mastermind and recycled them into paid for workshops to my larger audience or used them for presentations in a colleague’s membership.
  • Taking a class that you’ve taught and turning it into an interactive free (or paid) challenge or vice versa — taking a challenge you’ve created and turning it into a paid offering.

Why is it important to recycle?

 As conscious folks, we wouldn’t think twice about recycling our waste for the sake of the planet. Being mindful about resources and recycling where possible is a given for many of my clients, yet when it comes to business and our own precious resources like time and energy, we’re far more laid back.

It takes time to create content and the longer you’ve been in business the more content and resources you will undoubtedly have created. Something I see often is people pouring their heart and soul into creating something wonderful for their audience or customers and then never using that creation again.

Perhaps you’ve written a ton of blog posts, that largely sit there, unread because you barely get any visitors to your website. Perhaps you spent hours and days creating an amazing free challenge for your community but once completed, it is never looked at again.

If you’re anything like me, you might be sat on a goldmine of resources that could be recycled into fresh content, workshops, classes, ebooks and countless other possible products.

Despite this, for some reason, we’d often rather spend twice as long creating something new than taking something that already exists and recycling it to make the most of the time and energy you’ve already invested.

I’m not sure why we do this. Perhaps it’s because we feel we should always be creating something new lest our audience think we’re not working hard enough. Perhaps it’s because we think that we only deserve financial rewards if we’re working really hard. It could also be boredom and our propensity to veer towards new and shiny rather than old and dusty!

Regardless of the reason, I do believe we have a propensity to look ahead and leave behind things from the past, even if they still hold value for us and our audience.

Recycling, however, allows our time and energy to be put to best use. It also allows our audience to go deep with our work rather than hear something once, never to hear of it again. It’s a way to create ease in your business without reducing impact and can often mean a much-needed boost in income.

Time to recycle

If you’re brand new in business then you might not have much to recycle but if you’ve been at this for a few years then you might be surprised by how much you do have that with a little time and effort could be repurposed and used to benefit not only your audience but also your bottom line.

In just four and half years, I created 116 blog posts, ran 4 free challenges and delivered well over 20 workshops and classes. Some of these I’ve repurposed or recycled, many I haven’t. I know that with a little thought and effort, there’s a ton of “new” things I could create with this old content.

I could launch new and improved workshops and generate a welcome boost to my income.

I could collate many of my articles and turn them into a book about conscious business.

I could run many of my smaller classes into longer, more in depth deep dive group programs.

I could turn free content into paid content.

The possibilities are endless. Which is why sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in indecision and overwhelm.

Can you relate?

If you are sat on an archive of content, here’s what I recommend:

Step 1. Create a place (ideally online, ideally a spreadsheet) to pull together in one place a full list of all the content you have created.

Step 2. Review your content. Now you don’t necessarily have to read every single piece of content or rewatch every single video. But review the titles and reacquaint yourself with the body of work you have created.

Step 3. Dive deeper into the pieces that excite you. As you review there will be pieces of content that you had forgotten you even created, that you feel a surge of excitement about or simply a pull to revisit. Go deep with those pieces, read them, if it’s a video of a class, watch it. And as you do think of ways to improve and recycle it for your audience.

Step 4. Can you turn it into a paid product? Could it bring in a boost of income this month or next? If the answer is yes, then go for it. And please let me know how you get on.

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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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The One Thing I Can’t Teach You About Business

The One Thing I Can’t Teach You About Business

“Life is a balance between what we can control and what we cannot. I am learning to live between effort and surrender.”
~ Danielle Orner

In this blog, I want to talk about the one thing I can’t teach you in relation to growing a sustainable business.

Let me start by sharing what I can teach you.

I can teach you what to do in your business to bring about more growth. A huge part of how you apply this is, however, out of my control.

The part I can’t teach you about achieving business success is how to feel in your business.

Let me break down what I mean by how to feel in your business.

I’m talking about a few things, the energy you bring to your work, your attitude, the intentions you set (consciously or not), the mindset you have and so much more. It’s the intangible part of running a business and as many of you (as coaches and healers) will know, it’s what makes the difference between getting the results we desire and not getting them.

This is precisely why I never promise results in my marketing and why you shouldn’t trust anyone who does.

It’s why I could work with two clients and teach them the exact same strategies and whilst client A will succeed, client B won’t gain any traction.

How a person feels and shows up in their business has a HUGE bearing on how well they will do in business.

Now whilst this isn’t something I teach primarily, I do cover this in my work with clients. Not as extensively as a Mindset Coach or healer might, but it’s impossible not to come up against this when trying to apply business strategy.

Allow me to share some of what I’ve learned in this area over the past 10 years of working for myself and coaching hundreds of clients.

Your energy is everything.

One of the biggest issues I see when it comes to business is the energy the business owner brings to the work. In the early days of business when money and clients aren’t yet flowing, it can be easy to fall into a “grasping” energy. This is when you might feel so desperate to get the next client that as you put out your content and marketing and connect with potential clients, you unwittingly give off a desperate and grasping energy.

This is where I lose people sometimes because it’s a bit woo. But stay with me.

In my world energy is everything. It’s not something we can see or touch but it’s why you can get a bad or a good feeling about someone you’ve just met.

It’s how I chose the construction company for our house reno. Despite not having the biggest team or the most experience, the head builder we went with has good energy and I felt it the moment I met him. Within minutes of speaking with him (even in a second language!) I instantly knew that he would care for our home just as he would his own. It wasn’t anything he said, I could just feel it. And I was right, he’s been hands down the best part of this whole process. This is what I mean when I talk about energy.

Sometimes if we’re not careful and we’re not feeling especially confident about our work we can put out an energy that feels off. That’s why when we show up to our work desperate to get the next client, we may be subconsciously sabotaging our strategic efforts.

Something my first business coach taught me when doing gift sessions, was that whilst I might need a new client, I didn’t necessarily need this particular person to become that next client, allowing me to release all neediness and simply focus on being of service.

You may have experienced this, perhaps you’ve done a discovery call or gift session with someone and they expressed some interest in potentially working with you, but then they go quiet, as a result, you obsess over them, checking your email constantly to see if they’ve been in touch, counting the hours or days until you can message them again just to “check in” or follow up.

Even if you don’t actually tell the other person that you desperately want them to become your next client, your energy may well be sending that message. Nobody wants to hire a needy practitioner, so this is a really important one to watch out for.

Your attitude matters.

What’s your attitude like around business? Do you have a good attitude about the work or a bad one? I’m aware that terms like ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are crude, but bear with me.

If you constantly sit down to your work with an internal narrative that says: this will never work, this is hopeless or when creating content to market yourself, continuously hear a voice muttering what’s the point, no one is ever going to read this, then it follows that you’re going to have problems.

A negative attitude permeates everything (not least your energy!). When we feel and think negatively about our business, our subconscious looks for evidence to prove our point of view.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to tell you to suck it up and think positively and all will be well, but I have found that the more I focus on the positive, the more I feel grateful for the small wins, the better I feel and the clearer my energy is for my work.

This undoubtedly helps me to make better connections with potential clients, spot more opportunities for collaborations and just makes me a nicer person to be around.

The mindset piece.

Closely linked to attitude but not quite the same. Mindset for me falls into one of two camps. We usually operate from a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. I’ve written a whole piece about this before which you can read here.

To illustrate the point, I’ll use the words of Carol Dweck, Author of the book Mindset:

“When we have a “growth mindset,” we believe that our intelligence, creative abilities, and character are things that we can improve in meaningful ways. We can always learn and get better at what we do.”

By contrast, a fixed mindset describes people “who believe their intelligence, talents and personalities are fixed traits that cannot grow. They believe we are born with a certain level of ability (or special skills) and we are unable to improve our level abilities over time.” (From the Big Life Journal)

If you have a fixed mindset when it comes to your business skills, you will inevitably miss out on the many opportunities there are to improve your skills.

I hear people talking from a fixed mindset all the time. Often using sentences that start with the words “I’m just not someone who can…” and ending with things like: create content on demand, stick to a schedule, use spreadsheets, get to grips with technology, write web copy and so on and so on.

If you can shift from a fixed to a growth mindset, I have no doubt that it will benefit your business immensely.

Check your intention.

Something I see often is people getting tripped up by the intentions they hold as they put their work out into the world. In my work, I talk a lot about holding an intention to serve because I believe that when people feel truly served, they are more likely to buy from you. I also love this intention because for myself, and the types of business owners I work with, being of service is the main reason we’re doing this!

However, due to the need to make money sometimes this intention can get muddied. When we sit down to write a piece of content, rather than hold the intention that what we create truly helps our audience to overcome their struggles, we write from a place of hoping it makes them want to work with us or that it gets enough ‘likes’.

Or when we offer a gift session to someone, rather than holding the intention to serve and come from a place of generosity, we fall into the trap of focusing on the outcome of making the sale.

Of course, this is all perfectly natural and you’ll find no judgement here.

Holding an intention to serve has been a practice for me since day one. In the early days of my business when I was just starting out as a coach and it was easy to get caught up in wanting to impress the other person or come across as a good coach, I used to meditate before sessions so that I could get my ego out of the way just long enough to make my intention about the other person and not about me! My best sessions were always when I forgot about my “performance”.

How to improve how we feel in our business.

Having shared a few of the places that how we feel can derail our strategic efforts, I feel a bit bad about not giving you my best advice on how to work on this side of things, but here’s the issue.

There is no one way to improve how we feel about our business.

Personally, my journey with this has been long and complex. Over the years I’ve seen a myriad of therapists, coaches and healers.

Lately with all the external “stuff” going on in my world, feeling good both inside and outside of my business has been hard.

When this happens to me, I don’t hesitate to call in support. I book sessions with my most trusted healers, Laura Perkins and Megan Caper, I use my EFT sessions with Liesel Teversham to work on what’s coming up for me.

I lean on my favourite mindfulness practices like morning pages and taking walks in nature and most recently I jumped at the opportunity to get a customised flower essence made for me by the wonderfulTracy O’Meara Smith | Holistic Therapist.

I’m aware that not everyone might have the resources to hire help but that needn’t stop you. Some of the resources I mentioned above have come about from exchanges, i.e. swapping my business coaching skills in exchange for someone else’s skills.

In short, I do what I can to get back to a place of feeling centred and grounded and good in my mind, body and spirit. The effect this has on my bottom line is undeniable.

Your journey might look totally different, as it should do.

The point I’m trying to make here is that you can’t build a sustainable business without spending some time on the emotional and spiritual side of doing so.

I hope what I’ve shared here is useful to you, let me know what comes up for you in the comments.

SIGN UP FOR MY SOULFUL STRATEGIES WEEKLY

 

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.

Is It Time to Consider the Big Picture of Your Life + Business?

Is It Time to Consider the Big Picture of Your Life + Business?

We are well into September and it’s precisely this time of year, as we near the end of quarter 3 and the start of 4, that I like to check in with my life and business to see if I’m on track to have the year I set out to have and more importantly to make sure that I am living the life, I want to live.

There are a few reasons I like to do this now. Firstly, the back-to-school vibe that’s in the air gives me renewed energy and excitement for the season ahead and also let’s be honest, trying to do our reviewing and planning in December (along with the holidays and all the stress that can bring) is sort of bonkers.

Instead, starting in September, I like to take my time and spend an hour here and there, looking at the big picture of my life and business with plenty of time before the holiday season hits. That way, when the year ends, writing up my goals and business plan for the year ahead is a pretty quick and simple task.

As I do this work, I thought it might be helpful to share with you what I’ve been up to.

Reviewing my offerings 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reviewing my business model and contemplating what, if any, new products and services I might want to birth in 2023. I also look at which products or services I may want to retire. 

I’ve already closed down my Back to Basics monthly subscription, to make space for new things I want to do next year. It’s always hard to let go of offerings you have created, especially when they’re bringing in money and have paying customers, but I learned many years ago that if I want to call in my true heart’s desires, I have to be willing to make space by letting go of that which no longer serves me. 

What has informed my thinking here is looking at my business model to figure out what makes most sense from a sustainability point of view. That means looking at my offerings from the point of view of how much time and effort they take versus the income they bring. If the former greatly exceeds the latter or I know that for the same amount of time, I could bring in more, I know that it’s time to make a change.

Tracking my finances

I track and review my finances on a monthly basis because I believe that, like anything, our finances thrive when we give them our loving attention and whither when we bury our head in the sand and pretend like they don’t exist.

Around this time of year, I can safely estimate what my end of year income and expenses will be. This helps me to set future financial goals that are rooted in reality rather than setting pie in the sky targets that I inevitably never reach.

Armed with this knowledge, I can do the maths to figure out what I want to make next year and how many of each of my products and services I would need to sell to make that happen.

Loosely thinking about my vision and goals for 2023 

I’ve also been giving myself permission to tap into my goals and dreams for 2023. Not just business but generally. Asking myself questions like: where do I see myself and my family next year? What are my priorities? What didn’t work this year that I would like to change? 

As I start to gently consider how I want my business to run next year, I can’t help but consider the life I want to live. That includes things like the number of hours I want to work each day and the number of days I want to work each week. How many holidays do I want to have a year and how much time do I need for my personal hobbies and fitness activities?

Given that I’ve been doing this kind of reflection for years, my business model is pretty well set up for having a healthy work life balance. However, it is very reliant on my 1:1 coaching practice, something that I’m giving more and more thought to is how to reduce my reliance on my 1:1 income and start bringing in more solid revenue from group offerings and digital products, thus allowing me to make more per hour of my time.  

Resistant to planning? 

I love doing this kind of thinking and nothing gets me more excited than a fresh page in a notebook and the intention to make new plans. I do know, however, that not everyone shares my same passion for planning.

With this in mind, if you are someone who typically avoids planning, I would encourage you at the very least to spend some time tapping into what isn’t working for you right now and what needs to change as well as what has worked well over the course of the year and how you can best make the most of that going forward.

Above all I would suggest that you give yourself permission to dream. I truly believe that we are all powerful creators and that when we put our minds to whatever it is that we want to create, magic happens.

Over the next few months I’ll be running several workshops on Creating a Sustainable Business model plus a 2-part Business Review and Planning Workshop. To receive dates and registration details, be sure to subscribe to my Soulful Strategies Weekly here.   

 

SIGN UP FOR MY SOULFUL STRATEGIES WEEKLY

 

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.

Balance Work Life

Balance Work Life

“Life is a balance between what we can control and what we cannot. I am learning to live between effort and surrender.”
~ Danielle Orner

 

In this blog, I share with you my thoughts on work/life balance and a few practical strategies to better manage your business when life seemingly gets in the way.

Let me begin by sharing something I heard many years ago from Danielle Laporte.

Balance is a myth.

I remember being struck by those words and whilst I don’t remember everything she said on the topic I remember feeling the truth of those 4 words deep in my bones.

The idea here is that we don’t get to a place where work and life are perfectly balanced, without one taking up more space than the other. Instead the balance tips in favour of one or the other at different points in time. Allow me to explain. If you are sick or need to take care of a sick loved one, then for sure life is going to take priority. It has to.

If all is well on the personal front and we’re in the middle of a big launch in our business, then the scales are going to tip on the side of business for a while. That’s inevitable.

The liberating key here is to acknowledge that. To understand that the balance we often strive for is a myth. That then frees us up to figure out how to better manage things when the scales are tipped one way vs the other. I.e. how do we not drop all the balls on our business when life is feeling full on? And how do we not lose ourselves in our work when business is full on?

I can’t claim to have all the answers here, but for what they are worth, here are my thoughts for how to stay connected with your work when life is fighting for your attention.

Manage your expectations

Whilst on a call with a fellow business owner whose Dad has been seriously ill and who is herself recovering from a second bout of Covid, she shared that she hadn’t been feeling the ability to create content lately, which has never happened before and was asking how she might get her inspiration back. When I reminded her how much she is dealing with on a personal level and how normal it is therefore that she isn’t feeling creative, she broke down in tears.

I see some version of this all the time.

We don’t acknowledge what is going on for us and then on top of everything we might already be dealing with on a personal level, we have unreasonable expectations of ourselves to keep on keeping on. When we can truly acknowledge that our capacity for work may be limited, we’re better able to do the bare minimum than when we try to carry on at full capacity, which just adds more weight to an already unbearably heavy load.

On this same call, I was asked what I wanted to commit to for the next two weeks and without missing a beat I said: maintaining my business until our house renovation is complete. That means nothing extra, no big launches, no working on new things, no bold moves, or big steps. As boring and as safe as it might sound, my only job for the next month is to stick to my content schedule and serve my existing clients.

Even though that is more than enough, there still was a voice that whispered but you should be doing more.

It’s so important to be aware of that voice and to gently and respectively ignore her.

 Plan ahead

This one is a work in progress for me but making the most of the extra time I have in my business when things are quiet on the personal front is key to feeling less stressed when life gets busy or challenging.

That means that when I know I’ll be taking time off for a planned holiday, I can, for example, work a bit harder in advance to prepare content to be scheduled in my absence.

Much like it was in my old corporate life when I knew I had to take leave, there would also be a little bit of intensity ahead of the break, getting things set up for when I wouldn’t be there or handing stuff over to colleagues.

This doesn’t necessarily help when unexpected things happen like sudden sickness, but if you can endeavour to get ahead of yourself in for example your content creation, then you’ll have some leeway to work with when you suddenly find yourself busy with personal things. The trick is to be more productive when the space is there to do it so that you can step back when you need to, without dropping your business essentials.

Get help

Even though most of us work solo in our business that doesn’t mean we can’t recruit others to help take up the slack when we need to take a step back. There are several things you can do to find cover for while you are away that doesn’t require too much work up front for you.

You might, for example, invite a colleague to do a content takeover for your newsletter. This is something I’ve done for my dear colleague Eli Trier in the past. When she was busy getting married, she invited two or three of her most trusted colleagues to come in and write a newsletter on a topic relevant to her audience that she could schedule to go out while she was busy with her wedding. It was great for us as we got the opportunity to be exposed to a new group of people and could share links to our business and therefore get new followers and it was great for Eli, who had three weeks of quality newsletters she didn’t have to write or pre-prepare.

You can even do this with services. Years ago when I was on maternity leave with my first son, I was running a women’s circle with weekly calls. I invited 3 of my dearest colleagues to host calls in my absence and it was great, my women really appreciated that the calls continued while I was away bonding with my baby and my colleagues loved the opportunity to host a group call and share their skills.

And inside my mastermind program, I had a week off and had to miss one of the group calls, instead of cancelling it, I invited one of the amazing women inside the program to test out her new workshop on her fellow mastermind participants, meaning that the women benefited from her wisdom and she was able to get some validation and feedback on her new workshop. So it was a win win, with no extra work from me.

Give yourself grace

Always important but specifically relevant for those times when planning and calling in help just isn’t viable, it’s important to give yourself some grace when navigating difficult personal issues like illness, death of a loved one, birth of a child, children home from school, moving house (or house renovations!!) and all other big life events that inevitably mean our work has to take a back seat.

We would never be hard on a friend or valued colleague during times like these and would find it super easy to show empathy, understanding and love to someone else in this situation. Why then is it so hard for us to extend this kindness to ourselves?

Next time you find yourself in a situation where you’re dealing with some big personal life issues and catch yourself being hard on yourself about work, remember to show yourself some compassion. All being hard on ourselves does is make things even harder. In my experience, the more you’re able to lean into self-compassion, the sooner you’ll be ready to get back to doing what you can.

And there you have it, three things you can do to survive in business when your personal life is a struggle. Is there anything you’d add to this list? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

SIGN UP FOR MY SOULFUL STRATEGIES WEEKLY

 

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.

Why I Don’t Recommend Starting A Business To Most People

Why I Don’t Recommend Starting A Business To Most People

“If you’re starting something on your own, you better have a passion for it, because this is hard work.”
~ Sallie Krawcheck, Co-founder of Ellevest

In this blog, I share with you why I don’t recommend starting a business to most people who ask me about it.

Given what I do — running my own business (from home) and coaching others on how to build and grow theirs — you can bet that I get a lot of people wanting to talk to me about how they might get started as a coach or other online business owner.

I’ve had it many times over the years, basically from people who are unhappy in their 9–5 job and searching for an alternative. Once they learn about what I do, the freedom it affords me and the success I’ve had with it, they are intrigued to explore if the online business world is something that they might also get into.

90% of the time, when I get approached in this way, my heart sinks.

Why?

Because usually, they are enquiring about starting their own business for all the wrong reasons.

The wrong reasons

The main reasons people are wanting to explore starting a business or becoming a coach include:

  • Hating their 9–5 job
  • Wanting to work from home so that they don’t have to deal with office politics (and can work in their pyjamas!)
  • Wanting more freedom to be able to work whenever and wherever they want
  • The ability to make more money than they can working for someone else.
  • Wanting to do work that they enjoy more than the work they currently do.
  • Loving the idea of being a coach and getting paid to talk to people.

Now while there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these reasons (I can totally relate personally to each and every one of these), if these are the only reasons a person has, I think building a successful and sustainable business is going to be an uphill struggle.

Let’s dive into the 6 reasons why I think this.

1. Running your own business is harder than working 9–5

A lot of people think that running an online business will be easier than working 9–5 and in many ways, it’s actually the opposite. For many people, 9–5 is a breeze compared to running their own business.

Why?

Because when you run your own business you have lots more to deal with than you do in a paid job. You have to be good at all of the things: admin, finance, planning, marketing, networking, systems and so much more.

It’s not enough to be good at the service you provide (such as coaching or healing), you absolutely need to be skilled in all of the areas it takes to run a successful business. Do you need to be an ace at these skills right off the bat? No, of course not, but you do need to be willing to learn and uplevel your skills in all of these areas and more.

Not only this but you have to deal with the stress of inconsistent income and sales, at least for the first few years. No longer do you have a steady paycheck that drops into your bank account on the same day each month, some months you’ll make nothing or barely scrape by. This can and does take its toll.

Unlike a 9–5, where you can take sick days, maternity leave and holidays without it impacting your pay (at least in the UK) or the overall success of the business, when you run your own business, every day off typically means closing down your business during that time. There are no colleagues to delegate to or to take up the slack while you’re not there. And when no one is working on the business for too many days in a row, this can have a negative impact on your bottom line. Inconsistent marketing inevitably leads to inconsistent income.

2. In the short term you’ll make far less money than working in a normal job

Especially in the online world, there is a huge misconception that it’s easy to get to a place of consistent and sustainable income relatively quickly. Allow me to burst that bubble for you right now.

In the offline world, it’s a given that if you want to start a new business, you’re going to need some investment to cover you for at least the first few years. That’s because it takes years to become profitable (if you even do — many business fail in their first year). Just take a quick look at the google search results I got when I asked: How long does it take a new business to become profitable?

If you’re interested in starting an online business, purely for the potential financial gains, you’re going to really struggle when you learn that it’s not an overnight thing (despite what many online marketers would have you believe). It’s much more realistic to expect it to take anywhere between 2–4 years to get to a place of profitability.

AND…

… ‘profitable’ only means you are making money after all expenses have been taken into account, how much money you are making is another story. It may not mean you are making the kind of money you were making or could make with a 9–5 job, that could in fact take even longer.

3. It’s not enough to love what you do

A lot of people are drawn to becoming business owners because they fall in love with a modality, (such as coaching, somatics, dance, therapy or healing) and want to build a business in which they can spend their days sharing their skills in that area, with the people they believe most need it.

Given what I mentioned above about all of the hats you’ll be required to wear as a solopreneur, if you don’t also love the actual business side of running a business, you’re going to struggle. I can’t tell you how often I talk to frustrated business owners who feel disillusioned with their business precisely because they don’t enjoy nor want to do the business building activities (such as marketing and outreach) that will help them get the growth they so desperately need to be sustainable.

If you hate marketing, planning, finances and systems your business will suffer. Most new business owners can’t afford to outsource these things in the early years and they are essential business survival activities that you’ll not only need to master but ideally learn to enjoy. If you don’t, growing your business will become a drudgery.

4. Running a successful business is a full time job

A lot of the people I talk to were drawn to entrepreneurship precisely because they thought they would have more free time. Now while this might be something you can achieve down the line, in the first few years of getting a business off the ground, the reality is that you’ll be working at least 9–5 on your business. I’ve always worked full-time on my business and it’s only in the last year or so (years 4–5 in business) that I’ve been able to scale back some of my hours to work less.

Caveat: If you can’t work full-time on your business, that’s okay but it will in all likelihood take you longer to achieve what someone working full-time could.

The 4-hour work week and other unhelpful noise online about making big money in your sleep is actually a rarity and even then tends to come after a lot of hours of work (and years) have been put in.

Let’s consider “passive” income for a moment. The idea that you can make money in your sleep, it’s possible for sure, I do it on the regular. It’s not uncommon for me to check my email in the morning and to see that I made sales of digital products overnight.

The work I had to do up front, however, to not only create those products but also to do the marketing and build the engaged audience I need to buy those products, took significant time.

I say it all the time, but if it were really that easy to make money in your sleep, working 4 hours a week, no one would work a 9–5 job. Ever.

5. The freedom of working for yourself isn’t the freedom you imagined it would be

The freedom to work whenever and wherever you want is a huge draw of being an online business owner for many people. But it’s not quite that simple. Whilst you may not have a boss to answer to, you do (and should want to) have clients and customers (or potential ones at least) to take into account.

During those years when I didn’t have a full client roster, if I had taken the day off every time I felt like it, then I wouldn’t be where I am today in business. Now with a full client roster, if I cancelled appointments every time I felt like doing something else, I would tank my reputation and the flow of new clients would quickly dry up.

Do I have more freedom than in my old 9–5 job? Absolutely, without a doubt. Do I have the freedom to work whenever or wherever I want, no, not by a long shot. So the reality is somewhere in between these two and it’s often a shock to people who decided to start their own business to have more freedom when they realise that this is not always possible.

As I started building my first business back in 2014, I was what some people call a “digital nomad”. I had left the UK (and my career in programme management) in 2012 and didn’t have a permanent residency anywhere. I had been living in Thailand for a few years and then, shortly after meeting Joan, we travelled to Colombia before settling down for a year in Mexico.

I used to get so wound up by the pictures I’d see online from business owners with their laptops out by the pool or on the beach. As a travelling business owner, I knew only too well how different the reality of running a business on the road is.

Allow me to dispel the myth — You can’t work outside in the sunshine because you can’t actually see your screen, also it’s far less likely that you’ll have a strong enough wifi connection to actually do anything productive online outdoors. Not to mention how uncomfortable it is to work in a hammock!!! These pictures were and are staged to present and sell a certain lifestyle and it works, we make 6-figure businesses buying into that BS.

If you talk to anyone running a successful business abroad, they’ll tell you that they spend more time at the local co-working place or cooped up in their room than they do relaxing by the pool.

6. Running your own business requires courage and resilience

Whilst you might have to step outside of your comfort zone in a 9–5 job (I certainly did in my former career), it’s a daily requirement when you run your own business.

There’s no place to hide when you’re the boss. If you don’t exercise courage on the regular, no one will know you even exist. To exercise courage on the regular, you need resilience. You’ve got to be able to face the critics (inner and possibly outer) and come out relatively unscathed.

Running your own business requires you to embrace failure rather than run from it. To get good at anything, you have to fail first, I know this from personal experience and I see it every day as I raise two young children.

Nobody steps out of the gate doing everything perfectly. When you see someone’s flawless and polished video or perfectly presented webinar, you can bet that they started out with a DIY version that was far more rough around the edges.

The thing is we rarely see most people’s practice runs or failed attempts, we see the end result of years of failing, improving and practising. If you’re not up for the experimentation (and possibly falling flat on your face) part, you’re unlikely to reach the successful, expertly executed part. Fact.

So there you have it 6 reasons I believe that running a business isn’t for everyone. Now, you might be forgiven for thinking that I don’t believe having more time, freedom and money is possible when you run your own business but nothing could be further from the truth. These absolutely are possible. But if you are going into business just for them and expecting that you’ll have them quickly and easily, it’s my belief that you’re in for a bumpy ride.

Given I’m sharing here the top reasons I don’t recommend most people start a business, you might be wondering when I would recommend it.

That’s easy.

When you can understand and appreciate all of the above and still know in your heart that it’s what you want to do 100%.

Even though I didn’t know all of these upfront, I soon learned. My passion to do work that has an impact as well as my desire to be my own boss (with all that that entails) has never wavered.

Is there anything you would add to this list? Or any of the above that you are struggling with? If so, let me know in the comments.

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