In this weeks blog I am writing about how my business has been affected by my breast cancer. However this could apply to any serious interruption in your business, be that illness, global pandemics or bereavement.
I want to give you the 7 tips that I have learnt in my journey over the last six months since diagnosis.
1. Saying no
Saying no is one of the most difficult things to do, however I have found it much easier since my diagnosis to say no.
I’ve had to turn down a couple of quite big client opportunities in recent times because I just know that I physically cannot manage to do the work. Whilst it’s been difficult to say no and I desperately want to do the work, it has also been a relief not to feel massive pressure in my business.
Saying no is an art and takes a lot of practice. I’ve been doing it for a while now but it still doesn’t come very easily. Keep practising and if you feel that clients are not in alignment with your values or understand your situation then it’s time to let them go.
2. Letting clients go
During the last six months I’ve had to let several clients go. This has been quite difficult for me as I like to feel that I am serving all my clients well. However I’ve also come to realise that I can’t deal with high-pressure deadlines when things are so unpredictable with my treatment.
I have offered to pass those clients on to other people and that has been successful and has eased the pressure on me and my business. It’s hard to make the decision to release clients, but knowing that it’s the best thing for them has made it much easier for me to pass those clients on.
3. Be kind to yourself
One thing I’ve definitely tried to do more of is to be kinder to myself. Chemotherapy is exhausting and I need to make sure that I can manage my energy levels very carefully so that I have something leftover for my family and household things that still need doing.
This has led to me trying to listen much more to how I feel and how my body feels and a great advantage to having my own business is that I can work entirely flexibly and stop when I need to.
4. Asking for help
As a mum and independent person I find it really difficult to ask for help. However in the last few months I have made a conscious effort to ask for help more, both in my business and in my personal life. Asking friends to have the children or bring a meal over when I’m struggling has been a godsend. And people really want to help.
And in my business, outsourcing the things that really take a lot of time and energy for me has freed me up to spend more time with my clients on revenue generating work rather than faffing about with the admin.
5. Managing workload
Managing my workload has become critical so that I look after my existing clients really well and don’t underperform for those clients.
They are the ones that are paying my bills and are also the most understanding in general, as they know me well and my commitment to my business.
It is also critical to ensure the regular stream of income in a situation where I can’t run courses and masterclasses live as I just don’t have the energy. Recognising how much I can and can’t do has been really difficult but I’m slowly getting to grips with doing less and being productive in the time that I have and excepting that I don’t have the energy to work long days.
6. Rethinking my business
This enforced time where I can’t work at full capacity and also having such a life changing diagnosis (thankfully not terminal) has made me think about what I want to do with my business once I have had my surgery.
I think it’s important to regularly review what you are doing in your business, how much you are working, how much you want to work and whether this is what you want to be doing with your life
One thing I definitely think is that you can work too much and not take enough time to enjoy what life has to offer. The last 18 months have obviously been very difficult, but spending quality time with my family has become even more important to me in the last few months (and a break with them has also been quite nice recently).
7. Get your priorities right
Nobody cares if you don’t post on social media every day or even regularly. I have continued to email my list regularly because that’s where I feel the relationship is with my customers and potential customers. However I have done significantly less live interaction and have not seen a significant drop off in enquiries because of it.
It has made me focus on more engaging content rather than content for contents sake.
And it has definitely made me think about what I want people to hear from me.
So this is what I wanted to talk to you about today. Although you may not be in my situation with a devastating diagnosis, you may find that at some point you may need to do things like deal with a global pandemic (homeschooling anyone) or a bereavement where you may need to take time off or even to look after someone else who needs your support. What would your business do if you weren’t there?