I’m just coming out of a class on creating evergreen classes in the Embodied Business Community and wanted to expand on a really great question that came up – what kinds of topics can actually work as evergreen classes?
I know for myself that sometimes I really need the accountability and the witnessing of a live group, but in some cases being able to take a class in my own time, with privacy and some guidance is a better and more economical option. I don’t have a black and white answer for you on what works, I think it really depends on the subject and the person who wants to explore something new, but I am sharing some useful ideas, questions and experiences in this episode to hopefully help you get a clearer picture on what kinds of things you might want to teach and how.
Here is the Create & Launch program that starts on July 5th with early bird pricing till June 18th: https://yarrowdigital.com/create-launch/
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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.
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Hey, everyone, my name is Yarrow and you’re listening to the embodied business podcast. Thank you for joining me, I hope this is going to be short and sweet and also really motivating episode for you. So I want to talk about five things that I find really helpful in creating structure for my business, like keeps me grounded and kind of on undergone, but also motivated in a way that feels good. And I think the differences, I have sometimes just been kind of driven by fear, which is really different to feeling good about your goals and being motivated by them. Before I get into it, I want to announce two things. So thank you to everyone who came for the intro to branding workshop that was really good fun. And like I said, I’m going to run more of these. But the next thing that’s coming up is the free virtual business retreat and the 24th and 25th of July. And I’ll link to that in the show notes, I have planned a really beautiful we can pack with workshops, and co working spaces and little corners to get to know each other and maybe find people that are in a similar path as you are. So I really hope you can make that. And the other announcement is that my programme crate and launch is starting on July 5. And it’s an early bird pricing till this Friday, June VAP $280 instead of 240, which is the price it’s going to be afterwards. And this is a pre recorded four module course that you can take you in your own time plus, there will be four weekly sessions on Monday that are live on zoom, where you can ask questions and get gentle group accountability and feedback and kind of just be guided through the process. So the idea is that through create and launch, you’ll be developing your own first evergreen product. And that could be a class or course or a download. And I think that that’s something that many people I know have been wanting for a long time but haven’t really gotten around to and in my last podcast episode, which you may have heard, I talked about what kinds of classes or ideas might work as an evergreen, I think not everything does, you know, there’s definitely things that I think are better done live together. But there are also really beautiful things that you can teach, that are always available. And that that could make a difference to both your community and your business and the way you rent things. So if that’s interesting to you, I would love to have you and I’ll link to that in the show notes as well. Alright, so five tips to stay motivated and create supportive structures. The first one is to really know yourself and why you’re doing this. And maybe that sounds like common sense. But in my experience, it really isn’t. It took me years to really get to know myself as a small business owner with the things that I find easy and hard, the things that I need and the things that I’m good at, and also the things that I really need support with. So what has helped me to now be in a place where I’m much clearer on what my zone of genius is, and isn’t, is to have regular reflective practices. So, for me, that’s journaling. I also like working with the Tarot, I have really wonderful business friends, shout out to those amazing people that are happy to talk about my business with me, and reflect. And so that is really helpful for me in observing my own patterns. And over time, kind of better understanding what drives me, and what I need in order to succeed. And I think that’s such an important mindset or approach that you really want to set yourself up for success, right? Like you want to create a structure that makes you feel good, and that makes your work or your goals doable for you. So that might not be journaling terror or anything like that for you. But you need to find the thing that helps you stay connected with yourself and your experiences in your work, and also your bigger picture. So for me, it’s also really important to stay engaged with why I’m doing this. And of course, my motivations are fluid change over time. But there’s again, certain patterns, I think, that have emerged over the years. So I really love my freedom. I love working from home having a flexible schedule. I really love working creatively, I work with like minded people who I love. And I get to be a human and experiment and play. And that feels really important to me as well. And it’s also really clear contrast to the jobs and employment I had in my 20s. So that drives me and that’s really important to me. And another aspect is that I really enjoy supporting people in creating working conditions that work for them as well. That feels really rewarding to me to see people succeed and build businesses that make them happy and support them financially.
And then It’s not to be underestimated. I think it’s easy to think that we’re all just driven by money. But actually, you know that is important is super important to have your basic needs met and to feel secure and safe in the world. But beyond that, it’s also really important to feel rewarded by the work and the change that you see yourself making to other people’s lives. The next tip is to break your goals into doable chunks. And I also wish that I had followed that advice sooner. I’ve always loved journaling. And I always love kind of articulating my bigger picture goals or make like a five year plan. But I have always been really good in breaking that down into smaller doable chunks. And this year in March, I will I had an accident in December last year. And then in March, I took a five week break of Kleinberg. And that’s been a real eye opener to me, because there’s been so many things in my business that had been kind of thinking about but not really acting on for years. So one major part was me re recording my evergreen classes, for example, which I did, and it was really great. And it really helped me to utilise these five weeks that I had, without bigger client projects to really have a beautiful colour coded exit sheet where I wrote both about my big five year plans and then broke that down into one year plans and then broke that down into months, and also organise the tasks in a way that made sense to me. So Divi an example with the course creation, my overall goal was to be able to offer a wider range of of products and services, because I obviously always knew not everyone can afford working with me one on one, and I don’t want to turn anyone away, that doesn’t feel good. I also, of course, enjoy making some additional income. I love teaching, I actually really enjoy making these videos. And so those were kind of the the overall goals there. And then I broke that down into smaller chunks like doing research around what has changed in Divi that I’m creating a lesson plan, researching the software that I want to use for my recording and editing this time around, which is different to the first time I did them. Then I researched different quiz platforms. And then I started recording, and I broke the videos that I recorded into smaller channels. So I did about three or four a day. And then I pass it on to someone else to be captioned. But I edited that when I got the bag and to kind of also work on the branding and the captions and all that, then I created graphics for each of them. So as you can see, I could go on and on. But there’s always several pieces. And I think just writing down I want to create a course is probably going to feel a little bit daunting to you say when you usually have a day job or other commitments or client work that you’re doing. Just having this like list that says create a course is just to wait to actually get something done when you have two days to yourself. And you want to utilise that time towards that goal. So breaking it down into smaller chunks is really just not to be underestimated. And it’s powerful simplicity. But I also find helpful sometimes is reverse engineering. So there’s just the idea that you set a bigger goal, and then you reverse the steps and trace them back to see where you land in the present day. So if you want to be at a certain point one year for now, what needs to happen 11 months from now, and then 10, nine, eight, and so forth. You might also want to dig deeper into your motivations, if that’s not totally vivid, vividly clear to you right now with bigger y questions. So maybe you’ll say something like my goal in the next year is to make $2,000 a month from my business. So you can ask why, you know, why is that? And then you might say, Well, in that case, I’ll be able to quit my day job. And then you can again say why is that important to you? And you might then say, because I actually really want to fully commit to this work, and I love it and I’m ready to let go of my job in that timeframe. And then you can again say why is that going to feel good to you. And you might say something like, I’m just ready for that kind of freedom. I want to work from home, I believe in my idea. I want to make this happen in a year. So this is a super generic, possibly a little bit cliche example. But I just wanted to illustrate what it could look like to ask more why questions and get clearer on your bigger picture and then break that down. I love working with both mind maps that I draw by hand and extra sheets and to break things down. But whatever you choose, just have a think about what feels playful and fun to you and then really commit to that. My third tip is to track your energy, time and money in a way that feels motivating.
And I didn’t do this at all in the first years of my business. I kind of randomly That’s my prices, and never really clocked how much time I was spending on each project or each client or, you know, whatever we anything, I just had very vague ideas. And that really didn’t have me to make clear and intentional decisions in my business. So even though that may sound boring to set up initially, once you have a system up and running, and that could be again, just a simple excel sheet where you’re tracking exactly how many hours are you spending on admin each month, how much time you’re spending on social media, podcasting, sending newsletters, other kinds of marketing, client support, and so forth, and so forth. If clearer you will be on what is actually working in your business, what you need to charge and where you might need to get support. And I think, especially when you’re looking to feel more motivated, and you want to create support structures, having this kind of understanding of the numbers in your business, where your energy and time goes, is really important, because you’re otherwise always feeling like you’re treading water, you’re kind of maybe signing up for courses or classes, but never really making time to implement the stuff that could really make a big difference in your business. And it’s easier said than done. I know that again, I just want to say that it has taken me years to be in this place where it really easily track all of that. it’s second nature to me now, I don’t even think about it anymore. But when I do make decisions, I look at that sheet, and I’m very clear on what I need to do and what feels good for me. I think, yeah, with that, it might also be nice to to make a commitment to inform your pricing with those numbers that you’ve been tracking. So like I mentioned, it’s really hard to said, you know, your prices when you don’t know how long something is actually going to take tell you. And I think when it comes to staying motivated, feeling resentful is something that’s really unhelpful, right? I know, in the beginning, I often set my prices way too low, and just wanted to get the client or excite someone, you know, make that deal because I had to pay rent. And then towards the end of the project, as it became bigger and bigger and more drawn out, I realised I really hadn’t charged enough, I became resentful, I still showed up, of course, and I tried my absolute best to complete the project and make it great. But overall, I just felt really defeating. And I’m happier now that I have, you know, figures in which I can ground those decisions around pricing that I’m making. My fourth tip is and you’ve probably have heard me say this many times before is to make time to work on your business rather than just in your business and to create structures that work for you. And with the structure piece, I don’t want to be too prescriptive, because I think it can look, you know, it’s just different for everyone. There’s no way I could ever say you know, Monday needs to be you’re working on your business day. And that’s just what it is. I know that’s not the reality for so many people. But if you find yourself signing up for classes, or taking courses or joining communities, and you just don’t get from from them what you need, or you don’t feel that you’re moving forward in your business, or you feel like weeks and months passing by without things really tangibly getting easier, then something to look at is really kind of Do you have enough structure? And how can you create that for yourself? For me, it looks like locking regular time in my calendar each week. And that’s just an hour or two. But then also, I tried to keep the last week of each month of client calls, so that I have a whole week of just kind of catching up with any kind of work that hasn’t been done that month. And otherwise, just working on on my business, you know, doing bookkeeping admin, reaching out to other podcasts, planning my next launch, thinking about marketing, sending newsletters, that kind of stuff. And I find that when I try to do too much of that stuff kind of in between teaching and client work, it just gets messy. And I always prioritise my clients, of course, because ever committed to someone else. And so the things that I want to do for my business and on my business, are kind of always, you know, we’re sorry, that’s my dog, they kind of always the last thing or the first thing to go when I’m lacking time. And so having these like committed chunks of time is really important. And the same is true. I think when I try to learn something new, I sign up for a summer SEO camp, which I really enjoy. But I’m really just noticing how I absolutely have to make time to actually do the work watch recordings in them and what I’m learning there, otherwise, there’s no point and I have committed to to that right. It is important to me, and I’m excited to learn something new. But that’s not going to happen if I don’t commit to regular chunks of time to really show up for this.
Other things that might help you with that. You know, in addition to blocking time in your calendar would be maybe joining co working spaces, maybe finding an accountability buddy or a small mastermind which you can Create for free, and I have a podcast episode quite like a year back. So imagine talking on just that. But maybe you just want to talk with a friend, maybe you want to hire a coach, maybe you want to, I don’t know, you know, create yourself, email reminders or something, but just give yourself both the structure and the flexibility you need, I think what I really want to kind of hold here is that we need to set ourselves up for success. And if you’re too strict, if you say, you know, block a whole day a week, and you just can’t make that happen, it’s going to start feeling frustrating over time, right? So I think for me, there always has to be a balance between commitment and the flexibility that I need. And even if I move those chunks of time that I’m working on my business around, sometimes at the end of the month, I always know that I have made good progress on the overall picture, I learned something new, I developed an idea further I connected with people. And that feels really important to me. And you really need that in addition to the ongoing creative work, which I also really enjoy. And and finally be clear on what support you need and really asked for it. And so I know again, that’s easier said than done, I find asking for help really hard. But if you are someone who struggles with a particular aspect of your business, be that building your website or reaching out to people overcoming fear of rejection on social media, making a marketing plan, or just generally getting organised and sticking to a structure and a schedule that you want to commit to, then it’s important to own that, right. Like if this is a pattern and it shows up for you over a longer period of time, then I really hope that you can meet that with self compassion, because we’ve been through so much this past year. And we all have different access to resources and energy levels and time. We all have other commitments in our lives. But yeah, if you if you can, and you notice this pattern, then really own that I think that is something that can really set you free. And there’s no shame in saying Actually, I love my work. I love being creative, but I just I’m just know that I need outside support to stay motivated because I otherwise won’t get done what I need to get done. And that’s really, you know, the first step that you can take towards making that happen. And that support of course doesn’t have to be paid. But it could also be a trade you could make a commitment to learn something take a class or course you or you could hire someone and so yeah, you know maybe I have a friend or someone who wants to be in some kind of accountability arrangement with you but I really hope that you find what you need this summer. And this is my dog again I was there and they you Yeah, you get this feeling of forward momentum and excitement that you may be firsthand when you when you decided to start a business and really to stay connected and grounded in that bigger picture and the why. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you got something useful out of this again, a reminder to please join the free summer retreat at the end of July if you like and also to consider joining creating launch which starts on July 5 if you want to create an evergreen product