Everything you need to get joy & fulfilment from your business
Starting & running your business is a very personal experience. Creating a business that’s aligned to you is the best way to ensure its success – financially and personally. If you’re going to put in the hard work, why not make sure you’re creating a business that brings you joy & fulfilment?
Every business starts with a decision. What are you going to do?
It needs to be something you’re able to do well and solves your perfect client’s problem so that they will pay you well for it. You need to be able to promote it. You have to be able to do it repeatedly.
For some people, this is a quick decision – getting paid in exchange for something they know how to do. A means of making money and providing for those they love. There’s little emotion involved. It’s a simple equation. Working to live. And that’s enough for them.
For others, it’s about more.
They want more from the time they spend working than just payment – although that’s still important! They want to contribute to something bigger than themselves. They want to feel fulfilled by their work. They want to make a difference. They want to feel motivated every day. They want to give more value. They want to make an impact. They want to love what they do. And they want to do it on their terms.
If this describes you, read on to ensure that you’ve aligned your business with you and what you want from it and your life.
How well do you know yourself?
Being more ‘you’ in what you do and in your messaging will attract people that ‘get’ you.
They’ll get what you stand for.
They’ll know, like and trust you faster.
They’ll want to work with you.
For some business owners, they are 100% confident they know themselves – and this could be you.
For others, they look in the mirror and they don’t recognise the person they see. Perhaps this is you?
You’ve been so caught up in getting everything done, being there for everyone else, you’ve dropped to the bottom of your list of priorities. Meanwhile, life has happened. Things around you have evolved.
And then someone (me!) tells you to be more you. Authentically you.
And you find yourself asking “But who am I?”
Now is the time to find out!
Learning about who you are and purposefully living with that in mind makes life better. It makes your business better.
And it’s not selfish to put yourself first. You’ll show up and give more to those around you. They’ll get the happy, joyful you more often.
There’s a difference between doing something because you can & doing something that makes your heart & soul sing!
What motivates you? Chances are it’s not what you think! Here’s a list of common motivators; which 3 do you think motivate you most?
- Material goods
- Search for meaning
Did you notice that ‘material rewards’ is just 1 out of 9 possible motivators?
If your business is aligned with what motivates you, you’ll get more from it. More satisfaction. More fulfilment. More energy. More joy.
It’s the difference between doing something because you can and doing something because it makes your heart and soul sing!
The more you get out of your business, the more ‘you’ you’ll put into it and the more you’ll attract people that want to work with you.
Get creative when setting up your business to make sure that what you do and the way you do it ticks the right boxes for you.
What’s the reason you want(ed) to set up your own business?
Perhaps there’s more than one reason. Why have you decided to start your own business?
- Increased freedom
- Work the hours you want
- A great idea for something new
- To offer something better
- No longer wanting to work for someone else
- To make a difference
- To be your own boss
- Potential for unlimited income not restricted by a salary
- Or something else? 🤔
The reason you want(ed) to start your business is a big motivator in the early stages. It can still be a motivator at any stage. The trick is to remember what your reasons are so that you can stay true to them.
What are you working towards?
Many of us have goals or dreams that we’re working towards achieving – or want to be able to start working towards.
They can be small things, like working fewer hours to spend more time with your children or having greater flexibility so that you no longer have to miss out on seeing your child playing an angel in the nativity or taking part in school sports day. Small things but enormous events in their eyes and your heart. 💖
They can be huge things, like being debt and mortgage-free so that you can save for holidays, your children’s futures, your retirement. Spending your time and money on the people and things that are most important to you.
Knowing what these things are, voicing them, creating a vision board, or whatever works for you, gives you another form of motivation. These are the results of your hard work. What you will get because you planned to achieve them.
“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” Napoleon Hill
Why were you born at this specific point in time?
Your purpose is the unchanging ‘why’ of your life. Discovering your purpose will help you focus on what matters to you, living your life with this in mind gives you direction. You can use your purpose to shape your business; serving, making an impact and contributing to something bigger.
Your purpose will inspire others – whether that’s your clients or, in time, your team.
Working towards your purpose, your reason for being is motivating! You’re connected with your ‘why’ at a deeper level that will resonate with you on days when nothing else will and help to keep you going.
Work & life harmony – making time for everything you want from life
There’s only one you and you want to make the most of your life.
Owning your own business means that you have another call on your time. It becomes very easy to spend more and more time working on and for your business often at the cost of all the other things you want or need to give your time to.
And if you’re a parent, especially to young children, then that’s a whole lot of your time already devoted to your VIPs.
Some people find that they feel they have to work every hour they can and still can’t seem to get everything they’ve been told they should be doing done. It becomes stressful.
No one wants to be stressed. Stress is unsustainable and unhealthy.
The first step is to understand what it is you want from your life. Not your business – your life. Right now. Every aspect of it. Go broader than career, wealth, health and your relationships.
With my clients, we cover 12 areas! What are you happy with? What do you want to improve? Why? How can you make the changes you want?
When you’ve done that work, you can put a plan in place towards achieving the life you want.
Boundaries for your time
Your time is precious. Time with those you love is precious!
You can protect your time by using boundaries. These are realistic rules about your time that you create and keep to. Sometimes that will mean being strict with yourself. Sometimes that will mean being firm with those around you.
This includes how much time you’re setting aside each week for your business, sleep, exercise, eating & breaks, regular tasks, fun …
And when you do it.
As an example, this could be putting time aside one evening a week to do something that you used to enjoy but haven’t had time to do for years or a project you’ve been meaning to start but never found the time for.
Or if you have young children and you’re feeling that you’re not spending enough time with them, it could mean that your phone stays in your pocket or away from you when you are with them so you’re totally present and focused on them.
You make the rules based on your time and how you want to spend it.
Your boundaries are a commitment to yourself that align with your values. You put them in place for a reason. Be kind to yourself and stick to them.
Time management & productivity
Ever noticed that you always find time for the things you want to do, but you’re always too busy to do the things you’re less enthusiastic about?
Throw in some perfectionist tendencies and a whole lot of procrastination and you can have days when you feel like you’ve got nothing done! And some weeks you actually haven’t achieved much at all.
So frustrating! 😤
There are various ways that you can increase your productivity. These include setting aside blocks of time to get specific tasks done, or getting a lot of similar tasks, like writing posts for social media, all done in one go, rather than each day. Ultimately you’ve got to find a way that works for you.
If you want to improve your productivity …
- Make a note of when you’re most productive – time of day, days of the week, or perhaps for you it could be the lunar phase
- Be mindful of how you’re spending your time now
- Work out what you need to stop, continue and start doing
- Have a clear view of everything you want & need to achieve each week & month
- Identify all the tasks that you could get help with; decide which ones you’ll get help with & who’ll help
Your perfect week is about finding a way to get everything you want and need to get done each week – in an ideal world.
Why do I say that?
Because we might have a fantastic, well thought out plan, but all it takes is for the phone to ring and our schedule goes a little off track.
“So what’s the point?!” I hear you cry!
Some things in our schedule have to happen no matter what. These provide us with the framework that we fit the rest of our tasks and timings around.
For me, it’s the school run and after school activities. Monday to Friday, I’m out of the house by 8 am and back before 9 am, then out again at 3 pm and back just after 4 pm. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays I then drive my boys to various activities getting back just after 6 pm in time to cook supper. So my working day is 9:30 am to 3 pm. I have free time in the morning between when I get up and the boys get up, and again in the evening after 8:30 pm.
You need to be able to get everything done in the time you have available.
Take what you know about your productivity and tasks and plot them on a weekly planner.
Make sure you give yourself enough time to get the work done! Don’t underestimate. Underestimating the time it will take you to get things done can lead to working extra hours, frustration and feeling like you’re not making progress.
Balance this with the boundaries you’ve put in place. Keep to your rules. If you don’t want to work over the weekend, don’t do it! Don’t want to check your work emails after you’ve left your office, don’t do it! Make it clear to people you work with (yes – including your clients!) that you only work during working hours and manage their expectations. If you tell them and make sure they understand, they cannot be disappointed or disgruntled!
If you know that you’re going to be taking a day off one week, you can adjust your week so that you still get all the critical tasks done on the days you are working. This way you’re planning ahead and will have less catching up to do, minimising your stress levels.
Your value, your price
You’ve started your business to make a living – even if money isn’t a motivator for you, you have bills to pay! Your income needs to cover your costs and give you money to live your life the way you want.
Yet for many people charging their value feels uncomfortable. Not only that but they get caught up in a cycle of lowering prices to make themselves more affordable, attractive to buyers and increase the size of their prospective audience. A downward spiral that’s often referred to as a ‘race to the bottom’.
Remember – clients don’t buy just because of your price, they buy because of the results they get from working with you!
If your clients didn’t want those results, they wouldn’t be considering buying from you.
Straight away there’s evidence of value! 💷
What value do your clients place on the results you deliver? What difference does what you do make to their day, their business or their lives?
On top of that, there’s the extra value that you provide.
When I work with my clients on their brand we uncover all the wonderful things that they provide, like experience, knowledge, personality and values, along with what they do better or differently to the competition to reveal their uniqueness.
There is only one you.
And everything that you are, have done and want to do has value to your perfect clients.
Rather than plucking a price for your work out of the sky, there are a few things you should consider …
Whatever it is that you do, the market you work in has a ‘going rate’. This is the price that clients expect to pay for what you offer. It’s how they make the judgement of whether you’re cheap, good value or pricey!
Different things influence it like …
- Location – a business in a city, such as London, is likely to charge more than one in Taunton. This may be due to higher overhead costs, e.g. rent, or perhaps the people in the immediate area can afford to spend more – and expect to!
- Reputation – a business that has built an amazing reputation over a period of time may well decide to charge more because they can prove the results they deliver and they have an audience of people wanting to work with them who believe they’re worth every penny. A business that’s just starting may charge less, to begin with, to get a few initial clients so that they have proof of the results they deliver.
All markets, whether it’s coaching, health & wellbeing or B2B services, have a range of prices. There’ll be people charging a small fortune, people charging so little it makes you wonder about the quality of their work, and everything in between. What are your market rates?
Bills, bills, bills!
Business and household costs – we all have them! Even if you’re bootstrapping your business and your contribution to the costs of running your home is minimal, you need to make sure you’re getting enough money coming in.
Remember – one of the most important costs of your business is your salary!
How much do you need to make each year to cover all your anticipated bills, payments and costs?
If you’re exchanging your time for payment you need to know what working at capacity means for you.
This follows on from planning your perfect week above!
Your time is finite. There is only so much of it to go around.
You need to be able to make a living (and some profit too!) within the time you have set aside to work with or for your clients.
If you’re finding you’re working every hour you possibly can and are struggling to earn enough, you know something needs to change!
When you’re busy it’s tempting to forget to do all the things you need to do to run your business. The marketing, finance, admin, sales … You get your head down and focus on doing a great job for your client.
That’s when the cycle of famine and feast starts up. You’re too busy to promote your business, then that work ends and you have no clients lined up, so you do some lead generation activity, get busy and stop promoting your business …
Give yourself time to consistently promote your business, convert your leads, plan, do your admin and everything else you need to and get paid for it!
Yes, you can do this!
How much you charge needs to cover everything.
Even holidays. Yep – time off! Getting paid even when you’re lying on a beach catching up with your reading.
It’s simply down to planning. Knowing what you’ll do with your time each year. Because sometimes you’ll have a day off, sometimes you’ll spend the day planning, sometimes you’ll go to a conference or do some self-development.
Let’s say you know that in your perfect week you’re going to work 25 hours and of that 15 are chargeable. Chargeable hours is the time you have each week when you’re working for or with your clients. If you’re doing client work for 15 hours every week, you’re working at capacity.
How often do you work at capacity?
You can work out your hourly rate based on any % of your capacity you like. This will mean your costs will be covered when you hit that target and any extra work you do on top is profit.
Where did you want to go on holiday?
This works even if you don’t strictly exchange your time for payment.
Put all of this together, like I have in my calculator to help my clients and you will know your value and your price.
You might be wondering why this is here in a post about aligning with your business!
Imagine if you have everything aligned. You’ve created a business that motivates you every day. You have found a way to harmonise your work and your life. You are charging your value. You are good at what you do, and what you do gets great results for your clients.
But … wait.
You’re overcome with nerves when it comes to talking to other people. Imposter syndrome gets to you every time you go to hit ‘post’. You’ve spent hours perfecting one post or video and within the same time, other people have created several. The thought of sales makes you go cold and you avoid those conversations for fear of being pushy or sleazy.
Hardly anyone gets to know about you and what you do.
Your confidence needs to be aligned to your business too!
Ever noticed that when you’re speaking about something you care about the words flow easily? You get caught up in the subject and forget to be nervous. It’s another reason why it’s great to be passionate about what you do and why you do it!
If you’re getting fantastic results for your clients have you taken the time to think about it? To celebrate each job well done. To realise how great you are at what you do. To appreciate the difference you make in your clients’ lives.
Be proud of yourself.
Let that pride shine through when you talk about your business.
I’m not talking about being ‘prideful’ or arrogant. Letting your ego run rampant!
I want you to feel good about yourself. To be assured that you do a great job, have high standards because you’re conscientious and work from a place of certainty instead of doubt.
When we’re being helpful it makes us happier and healthier.
Remember reading about ‘purpose’ earlier? Your purpose is often linked to helping and serving others in one way or another. Keeping your purpose in mind helps you act confidently because you want to help others.
Your business helps others. But to make sure that they know that you’re there to help them, you have to let them know what you can do for them. Promoting your business makes this happen!
When you’re having a conversation with someone who’s thinking about becoming your client, you can get caught up in the ‘icky sales’ mindset. That person is there talking to you because they need your help. Even sales is a way of serving your perfect client.
Change how you think about it and you’ll feel better about it – and more confident!
This applies to your content too – blog posts, social media, emails, your ‘about me’ page, … You are writing or talking to serve your clients. Even if you’re posting about yourself, what you tell them needs to help them in some small way. If you’re not sure, then ask yourself “Why do they need to know this (about me?)” “What could change for them after seeing this post?”
Don’t feel pressured to apply a ‘perfect life’ filter to yourself or your life.
Don’t believe you have nothing to share.
There is so much value in the smallest point or the simplest of things. For many being genuine and showing up trumps big, bold and brassy every time!
At the beginning of this post I mentioned being more ‘you’. If you read that section and your first thought was “what if no one likes me?” or “I’m not interesting enough” or “I’m not good enough” …
You are likeable.
You are interesting.
You are good at what you do.
You are enough.
It’s tempting to look at other people and want to emulate them. To see their success, want that for yourself and believe that being like them will get you to where they are. To see their posts and compare.
They’re busy being them. They’re on their own journey.
Keep your eyes on your horizon.
Did you know that 91% of consumers look for authenticity from brands?
Your struggles, your imperfections and your weirdness are all part of you. Don’t hide them! Imagine there’s someone out there afraid to take their first step because they can’t find anyone they can relate to. Would you want to help them?
Your people will find you. Being something you’re not or shying away from being you won’t attract the right people.
You’re amazing. Be you.
It’s your business make it truly yours!
Create and shape your business so that you benefit from it as much as the people you serve. Be fulfilled! Be joyful! Align with your business.