thanks for your patience on my next episode!
As you might have heard I have broken my leg on new year’s eve, so this year so far has been a great lesson in taking it slow and really thinking about the foundations of my business and how they stabilise me. I have talked about this before, but between the pandemic and my accident I have really wanted to revisit the subject of resilience for small business and share some ideas. Here is what I talk about in this episode:
- A key question I think we should all ask ourselves to identify where we need more resilience
- What it can look like to make space for restructuring and evolution in your work
- Some thoughts on insurance and risk mitigation
- Working in cycles, making space for the unexpected and staying in touch with our numbers
- Why building a list and having different income streams is so important
Enjoy and let me know what you think!
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⋒ Hi, my name is Yarrow and I am your host.
My Embodied Business podcast explores what it means to build a small business with integrity, joy and anti capitalist values. I interview other small business owners and offer solo episodes in which I am answering questions around tech, strategy, more ethical marketing and creative livelihoods.
You can learn more about my web design, tech support, mentoring and community offerings at YarrowDigital.com
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Hey, everyone, my name is Yarrow and you’re listening to the DIY small business podcast. Thank you so much for joining me and also for your patience. It’s been a little while since my last episode. And you might have heard that I broke my leg on New Year’s Eve. So I’m still taking it pretty easy. And I’m not as fast as I usually am with new episodes. But I’m excited for this year, I have real ideas. And I’m doing another interview today, for example, I’m excited to share. So it will all come trust the process. And also, it’s given me so many thoughts around, how do we build more resilience into our businesses, because I’m really relying on this kind of groundwork that I’ve done for myself in the last few years at the moment. And I want to share some ideas and resources around that, that I hope might be helpful for you, as well as we all are navigating pretty uncertain times at the moment. So before I begin just a few small updates, the embody business community has sold out last month, and really grateful for amazing people that have joined us. And yeah, we have live calls almost every week workshops, co working spaces, really good discussions around things like pricing, and accessibility and marketing that feels good, and all that kind of stuff. And we’re gonna open 15 more spots again, later, in either late April or early May, I haven’t decided yet. But if you’re in the newsletter, you’ll be the first to know. Otherwise, I’m looking further into for the future for web design projects. So at the moment, I’m blogging for me. And that’s just because again, I’m taking things a little bit easier. I’m doing just one project at a time. And I have some ideas around restructuring in my business that I also want to give some space to. So if you’re interested in working with me in the summer, do reach out now book a feeler call and we can talk about it. Alright, so I’ve already mentioned the word restructuring and evolving, I’m approaching my sixth business birthday in just two weeks, which I’m really excited about. And I’m going to record a kind of bigger, looking back at the past six years kind of episodes around that time. But for now, I just want to say that that’s This is such a great milestone to reach. As you surely know, not many small businesses make it that far. And and it’s also been a really tricky time in some ways for many industries. Not necessarily including the web design, online space, you know, but generally, it’s been a wild year. And I was just so glad that we’re all still here, you’re still listening, I’m still moving and shaking things in my business despite my broken leg. And that is just something to celebrate. I think that’s really important. And as I kind of am home now, having left my house in five weeks, and cannot walk and won’t be able to walk for another few months. I’m obviously thinking a lot about, you know, what, how can I create spaciousness for myself right now? And how can I make sure I’m still being creative, and responsive and open rather than just reactive to these different kinds of crises between the pandemic and not being able to walk and all that kind of stuff. And I want to talk about how you know what I’ve done in the past two years, not necessarily to prepare for this particular kind of situation, but just generally for myself to create a base of stability that I can now lean into. And so as I share kind of what comes up for me, I invite you to maybe even visually, or at least in writing, map out what comes up for you, because those are the three key questions and your business, right? They’re not things that you just want to do. Kind of like in the two,
two minute thinking out loud kind of situation. This is important stuff. And so the first question I want to share with you is, in what ways is your business vulnerable? And I know maybe, you know, maybe there’s some resistance or even looking at that, and that’s okay. But give it some thought really, and and ideally made me make a mind map or a beautifully colourful illustrated map, talk to a friend. You know, really think about this, and I’ll share a little bit of what comes up from me that I’ve identified as kind of vulnerabilities in air quotes. Though, I don’t see them as something negative I have, I feel like I have a good relationship with that work and word and if you don’t feel that way, maybe choose another word. But anyway, one of the vulnerabilities and accurate and my business is that I don’t really have a team and so if I get sick like I did, when I spend 10 days in hospital at the beginning of the year, it’s not that easy to delegate stuff very quickly. And there’s not a team of people that’s kind of really in the depths of my work, having all my passwords, having access to my email, inbox, all that kind of stuff. So that’s something to think about. And I am still really happy with my decision of not building a team. I’m not really good at delegating. And I know that something that I could learn and it is important, and I know I’m here for the emotional labour of that work. But I just also feel really happy working with myself by myself 100% in my own wisdom, and feeling really happy around minimising the amount of cause I do each week so that I can be really present with the calls that I choose to do, for example, in the embody business community, or with my clients, when I just feel that I really don’t want to add, having to communicate a lot with my own team. And I also know that if I had a team and I hired people regularly, I would really want to have good, ongoing, connected working relationship with them. And that’s not something that I have space for, I want to make space for my life right now. I have hired someone wonderful called Emily Crosby. And we’re working together on my podcast, which I really want to dive deeper into. But this is kind of project based work. And it’s not, you know, it’s not a part of my day to day business operation at the moment. So that’s where I’m at. And I’m just kind of really openly identifying that as a small vulnerability, if I’m getting sick, then there’s not a lot of people that can pick something up for me. So it’s one thing that would be on my vulnerability list. Another thing that I’m identifying or have identified in the past is not so much an issue for me anymore is that a lot of my kind of engagement or space to share my work was coming, especially in the beginning of my business, from social media, and I identified that, that can affect my mood in some ways, like I have definitely, like I said, and mentioned before, had good times on social media, make great connections, received inspiration and all kinds of ideas. But it’s also been really draining at times. And there’s definitely been the first three years moments where I just didn’t feel like posting, I felt private and didn’t really have something to share. I didn’t want to make something up. I wanted it to feel meaningful, and it felt like a lot of work. And so back then I ended identify that as a vulnerability that I really wanted to kind of resolve in some way. And the several things that I’ve done around that, for example, podcasting, writing my book and my other business, really building my newsletter list and making sure that social media was never the only space I shared my work. And so this is kind of also around I think diversifying the kinds of spaces that we inhabit, and really being mindful with how and where we’re spending our energy and how that’s feeding for us. For us as people you know, who are people within our businesses, which is so important to remember. Another thing that came up for me is the amount of structure that I need really shifts and changes. And so I think, in the beginning of my business, I was much more focused on linear progress, I was making goals based around what I’ve seen other people do. And you know, I didn’t really make a lot of time for rest and downtime, and just having cycles of joyful stagnation, I almost want to call it and I’m doing much more of that now. And that really feels like a big piece of resilience for me and my business. And so I think goal making Yeah, that’s, that’s really important to me. But I haven’t, I have kind of found my own way of relating to numbers, two episodes back,
you can hear me talk more about numbers and how I relate to them and my business. And that feels really important to me, it has eliminated a lot of I don’t want to say negativity, but just complicated feelings that felt like heavy weight I really didn’t need to carry around with me. Another thing that’s probably true for not just me, but a lot of people is that there’s a vulnerability and having a good chunk of your income come from services when you’re getting sick or for whatever reason, you can’t work or need a break. And that is true for me and I still really love my one on one web design work. I’d certainly want to update my web design course when I have time probably next month. But really still love working with people one on one I love supporting them with business mentoring. I don’t offer tech support to non hides anymore, but that’s for different for different podcast episode. So I love this work but I’m obviously also noticing right now if I can work less than there’ll be less income as you Very simple. And so insurances in the last few years have become a bigger focus for me, it took me a while, but I finally took out income protection insurance. And so in UK, and then my policy, how this works is that I pay a monthly amount, which is, is not so low. But but then whenever I’m sick for more than four weeks, I receive a fraction of my normal income paid by the insurance. And that just feels really good. I mean, this is great to be able to rely on right now. And it just kind of also takes a lot of fear off the table for me, I think in the bigger picture of my business. So I think, you know, insurances always have these different layers, is it really about the money or is it maybe also, the feeling that you can buy yourself knowing that you have created a sense of stability, for for things that could happen in your future, and for me, it really feels like that’s making me a little bit more creative. And that’s obviously amazing for my business, that’s the space I want to be in. Another insurance that I have that feels obviously really great right now is accident insurance. So this covers me if I have a permanent injury from an accident, and it doesn’t have to be big and dramatic, a car crash, I just slipped down the stairs on black eyes. And so if, for example, I wouldn’t be able to walk anymore after this accident. And I would need a significant amount of cash to remodel my house so that it’s fully physically accessible in a wheelchair, then that would be my security net. And that x axis insurance is pretty affordable. I think I pay about four pounds, because it’s just so unlikely that that would happen. But you never know, right. And so I can’t speak for insurance options in different countries, of course, but I just invite you to think about whether it is any fear that you’re holding, or any risk that maybe you could build an insurance around that would feel good for you. And as I mentioned, income protection insurance is a little bit more expensive, because naturally, the risk is higher. And I just want to name that I wasn’t afford, I wasn’t able to afford that in my first year in business necessarily. So if that’s you right now, you’re not alone. But I think there’s just something that’s good to keep an eye on and make a party, you want to be able to really put that on my on your goal list as part of other things to make sure that you can afford the level of insurance that you want and need in your business. And, yeah, so So again, I would invite you to map that out to a little bit of research around what you can find out and really think of your goals as something that’s very holistic, I think, sometimes we think just about, you know, putting a number x on how many clients you want to enrol this quarter, or how much money you want to make. But it’s so reasonable and important to identify other needs as well. Like maybe this is something like I want to feel like I’m able to take time off, I want to feel that if I have an accident, or I get ill, there’s things in place for me to let that be okay. And that makes me feel good, right. I think another thing that many people identify as a vulnerability that they could build more resilience around in their business is the fact that we often work kind of in our businesses, rather, on our businesses. So practically, what that would look like is that you may be really engaged with your client work, you’re creating, you know, new staff you’re teaching, you’re educating, you’re reaching out, and that’s your day to day work. But how often do you make time to really look at your year head at your bigger picture visions,
and maybe your your vulnerabilities that I just mentioned, and that’s just important work for any business owner. And it’s, I think it’s, it’s really vital that we schedule that into our calendar, it builds resilience, because it means that we’re spotting structural problems or things that are misaligned much quicker than we do when we just kind of our, with our heads down in our day to day, business work all the time. Another thing that I think is important about overhead is to find a way of staying in touch with our numbers. So this is really unique, right? Like everyone is different and how we relate to numbers maybe looking at your ex she doesn’t feel that great. Maybe you actually really beautifully set up with a software system that you use for your bookkeeping, maybe you met you know what you make and don’t make every day or maybe it’s something that you only visit once a month but you need to decide for yourself how much information or how much kind of real life info you need around your money and relief. The rhythm of staying in touch with that. So I think when we, when we get into this law where we’re like, oh, I think I make enough, you know, you know, this is X amount amount of money on my account right now, that feels right. But we kind of are not really clear how much we’re making week by week or month by month. And there can, again be structural problems, I think that take much longer to spot. So one thing could, for example, be if you’re not tracking the time that you’re spending on each project, and it’s kind of bleeding into time that you had allocated for other things, then maybe it will take you longer to recognise that actually need to up your prices, because the way you’ve worked on each project has changed. I know that was definitely true for me in the first three years of making websites for people where things would just expand and expand. And I wanted to be generous and do another round of this and another round of that. And before I knew it, I was really spending much more time on each project and it justified that I was asking more in constant compensation for that. So I really invite you to have a routine of checking in with yourself. And the number is another thing that’s I think, quite important as being able to ask for help. So that doesn’t have to look like hiring out it can do if there’s tasks that you feel you don’t want to do and your business anymore, or that feel just overwhelming and you have the budget for that by all means that’s great. But it could also look like just swapping logins with someone. So when I was in hospital, for example, I had a live class schedule that week. And I luckily had a friend that I really trusted and shared my password with and I just messaged her and said, Hey, can you log in there and just leave a message for people to know what’s going on with me. And yeah, that was heaven sand. And it’s also made me think that, you know, the next time this happened, I actually want to have a weird system in place where maybe I messaged just one person, and she has all my logins totally trust her. And and then everything, you know, the most immediate stuff will be taken care of, we have hopefully I won’t have to go back into Hasbro at any time, I don’t plan to have any more accidents, but you never know, right? And it might be really nice to have that in place for you as well. Another area that’s good to think about I think is building in different income streams in your business. So obviously, the pandemic has changed so many things for so many of us real life interactions, as I just find few in between many people have had needed to cancel local classes, or retreats or just in person work that they would have usually done. And so I think now more than ever, it’s a really good time to think about different income streams that you have. Is it just one on one services? Can it be online and local? Are you maybe wanting to teach classes? Do you maybe want to lease some products into your business that you’re shipping, as a really mapping out where your money is coming from right now. And what would happen if one of those income streams would fall away? Maybe that’s a scary thing to think about right now, you know, but if you have the capacity and the headspace, I really invite you to just explore that a little bit more.
And then finally, what I want to share is that building a newsletter list and I have shared many episodes about this is so important because it’s it’s a resource and a way to connect with people that is really resilient, because it doesn’t depend on the algorithm, or the rules and trends on any kind of platform just gives you a way to stay in touch with people and share what’s going on for you. In a way that’s pretty intimate because our inboxes are kind of sacred, right. And that also gives you so much space to express yourself in the way that you want to express yourself. You can embed videos, you can record audience, you can make graphics, you can really just make your newsletter completely your own. And I think that is quite special. So to recap, I’m really inviting you to my time and space to think about vulnerabilities and how you can vote within and around them in your business. And that could look anything from like anything from asking for help sharing your password with a trusted person. Thinking about income streams, think about insurance, thinking about just making space for yourself to be human in your business to need downtime and to have periods of rest and rejuvenation. I really wish that for you and for everyone. And I hope that this episode has been helpful.