You know when you’ve got a holiday coming up and you work like CRAZY to get everything prepared for it? You use every available hour and minute to hit those pre-holiday deadlines and then finally, you’re done. All finished. Or as much as you ever will be.
And then you enjoy your holiday break. You wind down. You relax. You leave all thoughts of work and business behind while you take a well-earned rest. You spend time with the family. You catch up on hobbies. You find yourself getting quite used to this ‘doing nothing’ lark.
But then you get a niggling feeling. You know you need to get back into the business. There is marketing to be done. Orders to fulfil. Tax to sort out. Things to make, things to sell.
The only trouble is you feel as FLAT as a pancake.
That rest and relaxation you needed so badly has drained you of all your enthusiasm for your business. Your mojo has vanished and you can’t even vaguely think about doing anything work-related – you simply don’t have the energy for it. Then often you get hit by bugs – cold and flu is my bug of choice each year – because as soon as you relax it’s like your body decides now would be a great time to knock you down, seeing as though you’re having a rest and not so busy. Aaaaaagh!
Then the panic sets in. What if I can’t get rid of this flat feeling? I have so much to do- I need to be DOING but I can’t! I’m wasting so much time doing NOTHING when I’ve got a to-do list as long as my arm. Why did I take that time off? I should have kept going! Guilt! Guilt! Worry! Worry!
STOP! Stop stop stop stop. Wooooah.
There are some things you need to know.
First of all, this is totally normal
I feel like this every Christmas and every summer and every blummin holiday and I LOVE my business, just like you. But having some time off messes with your mind. We are so used to being in a flurry of activity, being crazy busy and playing catch up all the time that once we stop our brain and body let out a sigh of relief (metaphorically speaking).
Second, it doesn’t last forever
It will pass and there are things you can do to help that happen.
Third, this is your body telling you to take it easy
Running on adrenaline shouldn’t be your normal state, and yet for most of us business owners it is. It’s a safety mechanism and a warning.
So what can you do about it?
- Well the first thing you can do is shut up those mind monkeys that are telling you you’re ‘wasting’ precious time by having a rest. You’re not. You’re looking after yourself and the business can wait.
- Remember why you are doing this. You’re building a business BECAUSE you want that precious time with the family, you want that precious ‘me’ time, you WANT to be able to have time off. And yet when you get it, you can’t enjoy it. So, enjoy it.
- Keep a notebook or planner handy so when your brain goes into overdrive or the mind monkeys make you panic, you can write down things you need to remember and you can tackle them when you’re back at work.
- Give yourself a specific day to start back in the business – say you’ll start back on THIS date and stick to it. The rest of the time don’t bother with business stuff, just enjoy yourself and stop worrying knowing you can deal with the business on that specific day. It’s about setting boundaries.
- Don’t let customers bully or pressure you into going back earlier than planned. Boundaries, remember? You’re off until THIS date and you can help them then. If they are the right sort of customer for you, they will understand. If they don’t understand and start getting nasty, you are well rid!
- Start with the fun stuff. Then do something you’re not looking forward to so much. Then another fun thing. That way you can enjoy getting back into work but also don’t store all the horrible jobs up. Mix them up and treat yourself in between.
- Treat yourself to a planning day. No pressure. Nothing but big dreams and grand plans. Do some colouring, make a vision board, work out how you would love to spend your time each day. Get yourself reinvigorated and excited about what lies ahead.
- Finally, stop comparing yourself. It’s not about what everyone else is doing. It’s about you doing your best with what you have. You’re not ‘falling behind’. You’re not leaving things too late. You’re not wasting time or letting yourself down. You’re having a much needed break that will give you the energy to keep going later.
Oh, and you’re a business owner. You are running your own business. That means you are officially awesome.
When you are ready I have a load of blogs and articles and resources to help you get back into the swing of things. I’ve also got my fab 2017 Awesome Marketing Planner System if that’s what you need. But for now go back to having a rest, stop worrying, start having fun and I’ll see you on the other side. Happy zonking!
I had a question this week from a lady saying someone had copied her entire business, from her website to her social media posts – there were just enough differences for it not to be a direct duplication (she had used slightly different images) but to the casual observer, they may as well have been the same business.
This was no coincidence. The copycat had been a ‘fan’ of this lady’s business for a while and clearly loved it so much that she decided she’d do exactly the same thing.
Now, I totally understand what this feels like. I’ve had it done to me several times, even by people who should know better, but here’s the thing. It’s complicated.
It can drive you mad or it can drive you on. It’s your choice.
I’ve had weeks where I’ve been CONSUMED by someone copying me. It’s driven me crazy. I’ve deliberated about what to say to them. I’ve thought about how to respond. I’ve grumped and grouched and grumbled about the CHEEK of them. How bloody dare they?
The trouble is, when I’ve done that I’ve been SO consumed by grouching and anger that I didn’t focus on my business. Blogs went unwritten. Plans weren’t actioned. I was too distracted.
Which is interesting.
Because the actual copycat didn’t NEED to have any effect on my business. I could have ignored them. I could have put them out of my mind and let them stew. I could have chosen not to give them any attention or energy.
But by grouching and grumbling, and looking through their social media and website to see exactly HOW much stuff they had copied I gave them LOADS of energy. I also got myself totally wound up. And MY business suffered because of that.
So I actually LET the copycat harm my business when I didn’t need to let it happen.
Now, I understand that sometimes the copycat is someone you know. Sometimes it’s someone in the same town or social circle. Sometimes they are too close for comfort. Which makes it awkward.
I understand that sometimes trademarks or plagiarism are involved and you have to take them seriously and go legal. I understand that people stealing your photos is definitely NOT ON.
But, here’s the thing.
You are the original. You are the one being copied. And it’s up to YOU to rise above it.
You can choose to bicker and grumble and fight, but your business will suffer.
Or you can raise your game. As Michelle Obama said ‘when they go low, we go high’ (my absolutely new favourite quote ever).
So however angry and annoyed and frustrated you feel, you can choose to direct that energy at them or you can choose to use it to fuel your business.
You can choose to GO HIGH.
What does that look like?
It means you don’t get emotional with them. It means you deal with them like a business owner and keep things professional. You can email them and tell them to cease and desist from using your photos and intellectual property – it’s good to get legal advice on this if you can afford it. RocketLawyer sells templates online for all the main legal letter types in the UK.
It means you don’t lower yourself to their level and have a slanging match.
It means you stop looking at their stuff and stop thinking about them. It’s not easy but it’s your choice to do so. Block them on social media and unfollow their accounts. Choose not to look at their website or Etsy shop or whatever. Choose not to have them in your life. If you need to keep an eye on whether they are stealing your images, ask a friend to do it for you so you don’t get consumed, then go back to point one and deal with them professionally and without emotion.
That way you’re not driving yourself mad.
It means raising your game by coming up with new, better, things that are YOU, through and through. Develop your brand so that people know you for it. Put all your energy into making your business strong and well-known. Put your energy and passion into creating something that nobody else can come close to. Be the original.
There will always be copycats. And the better-known you become, the more copycats you will attract. But they don’t have your passion. They don’t have your ideas. They don’t have your experience and knowledge and imagination.
They are not you.
And because they are just copying and not putting their own ideas and imagination and passion into their business, they are setting themselves up to fail. I see it time and time again.
A business like that can only compete on price, which is a bad business model – they can’t compete on being better or different or unusual because they are copying someone else.
So, it’s a tough one but here are my thoughts.
It will HURT when you find someone blatantly copying you.
It can drive you mad or it can drive you on. It’s your choice.
I would choose to put the energy into MY business.
I would choose not to fight, but to HARNESS my anger and frustration and make my business even better.
I would choose to go HIGH.
Why does that happen?
One day we’re full of enthusiasm, bursting with energy and raring to go. We feel like we can take on the world!
The next day we wake up and feel, well, STUCK! Like we’ve lost the plot. We feel blank, panicky and scared. We feel overwhelmed and fed up. And most of all we can’t think what we need to do next, so we just stay where we are, in that stuck place.
The trouble is, being stuck is bad for business.
Not only does it stop you getting things done, it also plays havoc with your confidence. You get that little voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough to do this. The more you try to get unstuck, the more you panic when it doesn’t work and before you know it you’re in a full-blown crisis and feel like you will NEVER be able to make this business work.
What can we do to get UNstuck?
Well, first of all you might find that it’s nothing to do with the business.
Your being stuck might be to do with everything else APART FROM the business, but it’s the business where you feel the effects.
It’s difficult to focus on your business when you’re working full-time in another job, have a young family or elderly parents to care for. It’s REALLY hard to focus on your business when you have money worries or health worries.
It’s HARD to find the time, ANY time to spend on building our business when so many people and things need your attention.
Let’s face it, the only ‘ME’ time some of us have is after 10pm once we’ve seen to everyone else and by that time we’re too exhausted to think, let alone do something useful for our business.
If you’re anything like me you’ll often find yourself falling asleep while putting the kids to bed and then waking up an hour later feeling totally groggy & disoriented and completely unable to do anything useful for the rest of the night.
And that’s not even touching on the rest of the stuff we have to do – mums or otherwise – just to keep the house going, people and pets fed and watered and life carrying on as usual.
No wonder we’re worn out!
I know you’re amazing (you’re running a business, despite everything else you have going on in your life), but I also think you have to be realistic about your situation.
If you’re constantly trying to prove to the world that you’re an all-singing, all-dancing superstar every moment of every day, pretty soon you’re going to get tired.
And when you get tired, you get stuck.
Head of finance, social media queen, marketing guru, super saleswoman, team leader, designer, manufacturer – how are you supposed to be ALL of these things at once?
Again, this usually happens by necessity at first because finances are tight, but even as your business grows you may tell yourself ‘this is how I’ve always done things’.
The thing is, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.
How Can You Get Unstuck?
1. Well, you could ask for help!
It won’t kill you to put your fierce independence to one side occasionally and admit you could do with some moral support and hands on help.
And don’t be afraid to outsource, swap skills, seek a mentor, work with a coach or ask for opinions on your Facebook page – anything that will help you share the load.
[Tweet “When you’re caught up in the details of your business, you can lose sight of the big picture “]
2. You Could MAKE An Hour To MAKE A Plan
Every day, I work with incredible, capable, determined women who have forgotten to take a moment to think about their goals for the future and where they want to take their business.
If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know which direction is the right direction?
It’s like expecting your sat nav to guide you from A to B when it doesn’t know where B is! You would just drive aimlessly or end up going round in circles. When you set clear goals, you will find yourself becoming unstuck and sometimes everything else needs to wait – if you can MAKE an hour to do this, you’ll SAVE many hours down the line.
3. Get Rid Of The Mind Monkeys
Mind monkey chatter – those little voices in your head. Those disempowering, nagging, miserable beliefs that rattle about when you least expect it and certainly could do without it – ‘You’re not good enough’, ‘you’re not clever enough’, ‘you can’t charge that’, ‘when are you going to get a proper job?’– you know the ones I mean.
Mind monkeys play on your worries and insecurities and take you down when you least expect it. The thing is, mind monkeys love it when you’re feeling confused. They love it when you are floundering. They HATE plans. So guess what you’re going to do? Look to the point above and make a plan – the mind monkeys can’t come and cause panic if you know WHAT you need to do, WHEN and HOW you need to do it.
To ‘unstick’ your business, you have to challenge those monkeys – gag them, shoot them, send them on a one-way ticket into outer space. They’re not welcome here.
My best advice when you’re stuck is to be kind to yourself.
To stop beating yourself up.
You’re doing the BEST you can in your unique circumstances and sometimes it means you go slower than you would like, and sometimes it means you need to park up for a short time while you clear your path of obstacles. We all have to do it from time to time. Life doesn’t stop, the business will still be there when you come back.
Once things calm down a little you’ll feel ready to tackle the business again – not only that but the time you spend NOT focusing on your business will sometimes actually help your brain come up with loads of new ideas, so when you DO come back you’ll be raring to go. It’s never usually as bad as you think – your job is to look after yourself amidst the drama and make sure you can hit the ground running when the time is right. Look after you, awesome business girl!
OK admit it – how many times lately have you looked at someone else’s website, or products, or business card or shopfront and thought to yourself, with a heavy heart ‘she’s better than me’?
And how often have you thought about doing something new or different and then thought ‘I can’t do that because…I’m not clever / businesslike / techie / young enough?’ (delete as appropriate)
OK we need to talk.
I was chatting to a lady in one of my Facebook groups recently and she admitted that the BIGGEST THING holding her back was that she kept comparing herself to other people and coming up short.
In fact she was really hard on herself.
- She would browse competitors’ websites and pick faults with her own.
- She would look on Pinterest and see a hundred beautifully shot products that were ‘better’ than hers.
- She’d find herself trawling Facebook looking to see who was making what, how much they were charging and whether she thought she was as good as them.
- If it wasn’t the products she felt inferior about, it was their marketing, their copywriting, their design work.
When I asked her how often she found herself checking out other people’s stuff, she said ‘I do it every day’.
When we chatted about it, it turned out she was spending at least half an hour (that she would admit to) and probably more that she was in denial about, EVERY DAY measuring herself against other businesses and people and feeling fed up.
Let’s do some maths – 30 minutes every day, for 5 days per week is 2.5 hours per week (and let’s be honest, it was probably WAY more than that). That’s 10 hours per month. That’s 120 hours per year. That’s 5 DAYS A YEAR!
5 days a year NOT working on her business. 5 days a year NOT having a rest. 5 days a year NOT doing something that made her feel good or helped her build her business. 5 days a year beating herself up.
Makes you think, doesn’t it?
When we put it in perspective like this, she went very quiet and then got quite upset.
She realised she was wasting time and not JUST wasting it, actually spending time on things that were harming her business because that’s exactly what was happening.
When you spend time measuring yourself against other people or feeling you’re not good enough that’s you’re choosing to spend making yourself feel bad.
When you get obsessed with what your competitors are doing, thats time and energy you’re not spending on YOUR business.
When you waste 5 days a year dragging yourself down and feeling inferior, that’s not healthy and it doesn’t make you happy. And it all starts with spending half an hour a day ‘just checking’ what everyone else is doing. Before you know it, it becomes a habit. Then it turns into a little obsession. Then it turns into 5 days a year of self-sabotage.
So, I want to ask YOU something. Are YOU guilty of this? Are YOU falling into a habit of ‘just checking’ other people’s stuff and wishing you were them?
If so, I want to challenge you. Ready?
I want you to spend HALF AN HOUR PER DAY working ON your business or ON yourself – making yourself feel great and helping your business to grow. No checking competitors (it doesn’t matter what they are doing), no beating yourself up.
If you spend 30 minutes every day on POSITIVE things rather than NEGATIVE things, you’ll see a BIG CHANGE in your business and your life, very quickly.
Are you up for the challenge?