I don’t want to sound like a spoilt brat. Business has been bloomin’ of late and I’m both happy and unsettled. Cue: my safe place in anxiety.
You’ll never get everything done on time.
You shouldn’t have done that - not a smart business decision.
That’s not good enough. Write it again.
Time rules me – my keen awareness of its presence in every action, every moment, every new request I say ‘yes’ to... Every request to catch up with friends I say ‘no' to. No time.
It stresses me out to feel disorganised; to lack control. Which is exactly how May felt to me. Disorganised.
But - I'm always one to find the silver lining or the message amongst the madness.
All of this faffing around during Ar-May-Geddon reinforced some powerful business lessons which of course, I’ll now shamelessly share with you, so you don’t fall down the same anxiety-riddled rabbit hole!
1. SSYL (Systems Save Your Life)
Better systems have been on my to-do list since the dawn of #bizlyfe. My current systems look a bit like Frankenstein – pieces here and there – roughly hand stitched together and clearly frayed.
I had a spike in enquiries last month which meant a lot more time on emails and calls screening and nurturing and locking in work agreements. It’s a manual process that can be managed better.
So, I started reviewing my client enquiry process using Asana >>> I’ve updated my e-sequence to automate the enquiry to conversion process, customer-fit screening, agreements, and invoicing. I’m geeking out just thinking about it!
There are a bunch of other things you can automate to lighten the manual load in your business, like;
- client agreements / proposals (systems, like Proposify, can actually follow up on your behalf)
- emails – client on-boarding, FAQ funnels
- invoicing and accounting – systems that turn quotes into invoices, send auto reminders, track and record payments. I use Wave – it’s free and bloody awesome.
- social media – there are tools like Planoly (for Instagram), Buffer, and Smarter Queue (this one measures your high performing posts and auto-reschedules them for another date).
2. Boundaries aren’t set to be broken
Setting boundaries is making a promise to yourself you won’t break them. They should be made out of reinforced concrete steel – unbreakable.
I’m not a 24/7 hustlin’ woman. I’m more of a work-what-I-need-to-live-comfortably-while-also-enjoying-creative-freedoms lass.
My boundaries state I’m only supposed to spend Tue – Thur on client work. Mondays are for business admin and scoping calls. Fridays are sacred, reserved only for my creative space (writing my novel). Weekends are for making up sick days or business planning and writing only. And this is the exception.
In May – I worked every single day until early June. No play time with friends and family.
No creative time for Kelly.
It makes for an anxious, unbearable, miserable Kelly behind-the-scenes.
Working 24/7 is not good for business – so respect your boundaries. Learn when to say no.
3. SSYS (Socialising Saves Your Sanity)
Why do we find it so easy to prioritise our business clients over friends and family? Saying 'no' to friends too many times might make you an unstable recluse (i.e. you're heading to crazy cat lady town).
Don’t do it. It’s shit. Humans are social creatures – it’s in our DNA to connect, share stories, and feel something with someone else. Never underestimate the emotional value in social catch ups with loved ones.
I’m grateful that every Saturday morning I’m able to meet a few girlfriends at the local markets for our ritualistic coffee and chat. I’d be insane at this point if I didn’t maintain this connection.
4. Get out of the house
Because I said so. I have a tiny office dungeon in my home that’s filled with junk. I set up my desk to overlook the garden outside and keep my mind nourished. But – I feel trapped in there when a week goes by and I haven’t GONE OUTSIDE!
Change up the scenery – squirrel away $5 a week to pay for a coffee and get your creative on at an ambient café where you can experience human interaction. Get.Out.Of.The.House.
5. Meditate like a maniac.
Meditation, mindfulness, and deep breathing exercises cause physiological changes in your body that are proven to,
- Reduce stress levels,
- bower blood pressure and heart rate
- balance the oxygen and CO2 (which means your brain isn’t starved of oxygen and can thinking rationally)
- increase your physical energy!
- increase feelings of calmness and well-being (Better Health Victoria).
Creative service businesses, like writing, are bloody hard work! They’re so much more challenging to manage, sell, promote, service, succeed than products or consulting.
It’s so important you nurture your creator and be mindful of your sanity, or you might find you’re running yourself (and your business) into the ground. Which is where I found myself last week when I finally came up for air.
Need to talk about stuff? Send me an email or drop a comment below.