What I wish I’d known when I started out in business

In their crisp, clean school clothing and renewed spring in their step, I watched my teenage children smile and leave the front door, their happy chatter slowly fading as they walked on towards school in the morning sun. Left alone early for the first time in what felt like months, I sighed, contentedly, and reflected. They’d grown up so much since those first days of schooling.


September has a habit of making me reflect. Maybe it’s the influence of the Virgo energy at this time too, encouraging order, refinement and cleansing, supporting new intentions, or the planning of new dreams with refreshed energy. This moment of solace reminded me of how far I’ve come, particularly as a solopreneur.


Hindsight is such a gift, our journey’s teach us so much. So here is what I reflected on and wish I’d known when I started out in business.


Trust and believe in yourself.


Our society conditions us to believe that education is king. Organisations require qualifications as part of their job criteria. The working world has us believe that we must turn to experts for advice. So it’s no wonder that when I left my corporate career to set up my own business, I looked outside of me for the knowledge, the know-how, and advice. It quickly took me along a path of creating a business, with structures, processes, and routines that worked for other people, but not for me.


‘I love being my own boss,’ I’d say to anyone who asked how I was doing. But in the early stages, I was conforming to others standards on HOW to be in my own business. I wasn’t being my own boss in the truest essence of the phrase, rather I was mimicking other people. In the process, because my business wasn’t working for me it caused me the biggest levels of self-doubt and a belief that I wasn’t cut out for the entrepreneurial life. Numerous times I nearly jacked it all in.



When it finally dawned on me that I had all the answers inside of me already, that I just needed to tune in, listen to my intuition and own my uniqueness, I began to create not just a business, but a life, that supported and embraced all that I am.



When it finally dawned on me that I had all the answers inside of me already, that I just needed to tune in, listen to my intuition and own my uniqueness, I began to create not just a business, but a life, that supported and embraced all that I am. I didn’t need to look left or right at others and what they were doing, I needed to look within, for that’s where MY clarity and truth lay. I’m still evolving on that journey, finding what works and what doesn’t for me, but it's exciting to try new ways and learn more about myself as I go. I wish I’d known that you can ‘do’ business anyway you like - as long as it works for you, anything goes. And this means, what you do, how you are, when you work, what systems you have or don’t, how you market yourself … there is no ‘right’ way, there’s simply, your way. Try new approaches, by all means, but if they don’t feel right, try something else until they do. There are many ‘successful business gurus’ out there sharing their silver bullets, but just because it works for them doesn’t mean it's right for you.





Simplicity and joy are the keys to success and profitability.


How often do you hear, ‘You need a funnel,’ ‘You need a website,’ ‘You need to automate,’ ‘You need to be consistent,’ ‘You need to look professional and polished?’ It might be advice or it might be your inner critic speaking. So you invest time, money, and energy in getting these things in place, over complicating your life, piling on the extra pressure, never feeling good enough.


What I now know to be true, and use as my guiding principles for everything, is that simplicity and joy create an aligned, happy, profitable business. Whether I’m prepping for a new client, planning out a launch, setting up some new process or system, or creating a lead magnet, I come back to the questions ‘How can I make this more simple and how can I make this more joyful?’ When I catch myself in a stressy swirl and my head is beginning to fizz with the idealistic and perfectionist traits I’m prone to, these questions centre me on getting the job done quicker, more profitably and in a way that I actually enjoy. They focus me on what’s really important. There’s nothing now in my business that I don’t love doing. For me, good business isn’t about complexity or working hard… It's about simplicity, joy, and working smart.


Your health is your biggest asset.


I’m a recovering perfectionist and people-pleaser. My life has been about over-giving, over-achieving, over-thinking, and overwhelm. It’s taken me the last three years to recognise and truly believe that I don’t have to work hard or be anything more than I already am to be a success. And it’s only in the last year or so, that I can say that I put myself first above everything; and that includes my children. I have no guilt or shame in admitting this. In fact, I am proud to say it.


When you give your all to everything and everyone before yourself it’s a free and quick ticket to burnout, depression, self-doubt, and discontent. I wish when I’d started out on my own that I’d prioritised myself, my needs, my intuition, and my health sooner. I knew I was my business’ greatest asset, but I didn’t embody that belief until more recently. That’s also why simplicity and joy mean so much to me, for I always tune into them, listening to the nudges from my body and soul to do what feels right and good for me.


So, next time you’re faced with a request, an ask, a choice, take a moment to tune in and feel into what your body needs and calls you to do. If it’s an immediate ‘Yeah’ and you feel lit up by the prospect, then by all means, say ‘Yes,’ but if it’s anything less or a niggly, doubting feeling, then say ‘No.’


Self-care is all about saying ‘No’ to things that are going to add to your stress and chip away at your well-being. It’s ‘No’ to the extra work request from a client, the late meeting, the party invite when you haven't the energy. Setting and honouring boundaries that serve you best are a vital component of being and staying healthy. And that includes saying ‘No’ to things that are personally harder to decline… the alcohol, takeaway food, sweet treat, not exercising, and late nights. They’re fine in moderation, but not at the expense of your well-being.

When I come from within, rather than outside, I know I’m sowing the seeds of sustainable, holistic health within me. Then not only do I serve myself well, I serve my clients, my family, my friends better by being the strongest, best version of myself. THAT is a win-win I am happy to role-model!





Jo Hall is an intuitive, multi-dimensional life coach who unites science and spirituality. Trained in ICF, NLP and Cognitive Behavioural approaches & an energy and breathwork practitioner, Jo empowers her clients struggling with imposter syndrome, self-doubt, over-work and perfectionism to reconnect their heart, mind, body and soul on a holistic level so they can embrace their true self, gain momentum and ignite their calm, inner confidence to create a life of ease and joy. https://www.joannahall.co.uk/




 

Article originally published in the Sept/Oct 2021 issue of SOULACY.


SOULACY is a monthly digital and print magazine for entrepreneurs. In each issue we bring entrepreneurs articles, stories, and inspiration to spark insights on generating more wealth, personal and business growth, aligned strategies, equity and diversity, entrepreneur wellness and mindset, leadership, creating a legacy, and more, written by a global network of women entrepreneurs.

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