Sometimes being your own boss can be a tough ride! We all know it has it’s ups and downs and today the wonderful Fifi Scarlett who’s the writer and visionary over at fifiscarlett.com. is here to share how to turn those negatives into positives asap! Her passions for people and dreaming big have been uniquely combined to create a space of positivity on the world wide web, where women can leave after receiving a small dose of happy vibes! Make sure you check out her awesomely positive blog after this post, for now though, over the Fifi…
Photograph by Lachlan Bailey
Being in business can be hard, especially when the one you run is service based and client orientated. With the nature of these kinds of businesses you can get very caught up in it all, you do it because you LOVE it and because you’re a free spirit. But like any creative entrepreneur, when your heart and soul is so entangled in what you do for a living it can become a burden. Today I want to talk about the top things that can become HUGE negatives in business and how to turn it around.
How to live life through rose tinted glasses and truly ENJOY the world you have created for yourself. Sound good? Well let’s dive in…
If you have this, I’m sending you a round of applause. Because most small business owners lose sight of one of the main reasons they set up in the first place: so they can have a better work/life balance and more flexibility in their existence.
Yep, admit it. You wanted the creative freedom, the ability to up sticks and travel, the option to lie in on week days. You wanted TIME. Time to do the things you had never done before, time for loved ones and most of all time for yourself. And what is the one thing you probably lack. TIME!
How has this happened?!
Even when you are in charge of your lifestyle it can sometimes slip back into something that resembles the 9-5. We have been conditioned from a very young age that working ourselves to the bone is an admirable thing. We are taught that money is earned, you can only have a comfortable life with it, and that means you have to put in all the hours to achieve anything you ever set out for.
But it was probably this thinking that led you out of a cushy office job, the safe environment of employment. Think of what you sacrificed in terms of pension and benefits and reliability in order to have your business. In order to have a better work/life balance.
So, your only choice is to break the cycle. Set BOUNDARIES. Eeek!
(I’ll yammer on about boundaries a lot in this article. Bear with me, it’s worth it.)
If any of this is striking a chord with you, I urge you to go back to the drawing board. What did your ideal work/life balance look like BEFORE you got so entrenched in your business? More time for exercise or hobbies? Extra time with your family and children? The opportunity to jump on a plane and go exploring?
Whip out your diary and block out time, if you can’t do it naturally you need to structure your ‘play’ time into your life. Give yourself that gift. Go on an adventure. Create some balance in your life. Put some boundaries in place and learn to say ‘NO’ to things that don’t fit into your ideal lifestyle.
It’ll be a revelation!
I know what you’re thinking… ‘But if I’m not working then I won’t be making MONEY!’
I could go on forever about money, valuing yourself and your service, pricing… Blah, blah, blah!
It is something that I’m very passionate about, you should be charging your worth and NOT haggling! You should be putting some money BOUNDARIES in place. (There she goes again!)
The first thing I’ll say is that you probably shouldn’t be charging by the hour. Controversial thinking maybe but you are worth MORE that ‘xyz’ quid per hour. Plus people don’t buy time, they buy SERVICE.
The typical person will look at hourly pricing and go: ‘£50 an hour?! That’s extortionate! Maybe I can knock a tenner off per hour…’ And if you agree to that and you’re working a 7 hour day, you’ve just let £70 pass you by.
What does £70 mean to your business? What could you buy with that money?
It might not seem like a lot to you but if this became a recurring theme, you could easily be losing thousands per year. That means the business will be haemorrhaging money. Just because it might not cost you much to produce your service for your client doesn’t mean that it’s not worth as much.
Anyway, back to hourly thinking. If instead you are a photographer that decides to charge a certain amount for a certain package (ceremony through to first dance) people are FAR more likely to go in for a deal. Rather than charging per hour and putting people in ‘haggle mode’ which could potentially hinder your entire business if you allow it to become a habit.
Once you have eradicated the idea that time = money, your work/life balance will become a breeze!
I believe that most small business owners work because they love it. And this is why service is always so tip top when you buy from a person rather than a company. That is after all why Brides and Grooms come to you, for that special something. To work with a person that GETS them on their special day. It is so special for them to choose you over anything else.
And because of that your service is going to be awesome! So therefore you can charge that little bit more for it, or A LOT more for it. It doesn’t really matter how much you charge, someone will pay for it.
I’m not encouraging you to be materialistic about this, but to value yourself so then your client will in turn value you.
Because the more people pay the more they enjoy and value it!
If you feel undervalued try pushing your prices up a little, see how you feel about it. If it feels right, and people complain, then they are not the kind of client you want to work with anyway. The ideal clients will always pay you your worth.
Which brings me seamlessly onto another stressful and sometimes negative aspect of a service based business. Clients!
Not all clients, some are just perfectly darling! You will click with them, they’ll take your lead and your advice, they’ll value you as someone who is making their day even more special. And the wedding is usually a ball!
No. I’m talking about those clients who make you feel like crap. The ones that question everything, the ones who want massive discounts, the ones who completely ignore what it takes for you to provide this service and think only of themselves.
We’ve all had them. And we all deal with them in different ways. But it is perfectly acceptable for you to NOT have to deal with them.
Look, you can spot them a mile off. Let’s face it, you know if the working relationship is going to WORK or not. And you’re doing them absolutely no favours by working with them if you don’t think it WILL work. You can tell if it is all going to end in tears. You can tell if your service is not quite right for them.
So, POLITELY, tell them.
You don’t have to be nasty about it, nor are you being ungrateful. In fact, you’re doing them a massive service and sending out a message to yourself and the universe that you will only work with clients who light you up.
If you struggle with this idea then here’s a little script:
“Thank you so much for thinking of me and inviting me to be a part of your special day. I am really pleased that you liked (xyz) about what I do. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can provide for you what you need. (You can go into a bit more detail here if you want). However, I think (abc) might be more suitable, or I could (insert small something you COULD help with without getting too entangled). I’m happy to answer any questions about (field that you work in) and I hope that you find someone who can deliver you your perfect (outcome of what you do).”
Okay, it might be like turning away good work or money that you need, but your happiness is WAY more important. The more you exercise this muscle the easier it will get. By doing this you are putting a BOUNDARY in place and focussing on clients that appreciate what you do. Making you feel awesome about what you do! Win-win!
(P.S. if people get arsey about it, then you know you’ve made the right decision. This is NOT your problem but theirs, so no feeling bad about it! Nice people will understand 🙂
There are many more things that may really stress you out about your biz, or maybe some things just feel like a chore. Well, you know what, you can change that.
Hate admin and paperwork? Hire a VA or admin gal for a few hours a week. Do your accounts send you into a spin? What about getting yourself a book keeper?
I know money will always be a worry, when is the next pay cheque coming? Will I always be able to put the food on the table? But by investing in your business you are investing in your life.
The above are the three things in business that can really make you wonder why you bother. And they all go hand in hand. You can’t really have one and not the other, they are the ultimate love triangle. If you get them all spot on you will absolutely adore the life you have created for yourself and fall back in love with your business.
And that is ultimately the beauty of owning your own biz. You get to choose what it is, who it serves, how you do business, how often you work, and WHY you do it.
Remember who is in charge. Set some boundaries, and create a life and business that you bloody LOVE!
Amen sister! Got a question for Fifi? Tweet her @fifiscarlett.
Much Bespoke Love