So You Think 'You've Got This'?
So you think 'you've got this'. And you think you can do it all alone, be the healthiest/happiest/well balanced version of you, maintain your relationships and social life AND have an interesting hobby... whilst running or maintaining your creative business!? Did I mention occasionally cook dinner and keep your inbox in check too?
When was the last time this was actually a reality? Even 50% of the above? If you've got these things covered or have help with some of the important bits that's fantastic news... email me your tips please!
But if not, and you are feeling overwhelmed on a semi regular basis or know you are not performing in work or life to the level you aspire to... or feel like all you do is WORK. Then something has to change. Right now.
You might however, be so deep into your hectic schedule that you alone just can't see what damage the imbalance is doing to your health and business... sometimes it takes someone on the outside looking in to give you a wake up call. Or worse, for a friend or family member to 'have a chat' with you or ask where you've been for the past month? And why you missed their birthday/picnic/event (fill your version in here) Why you can never hold a decent conversation anymore without checking your phone. Or real rock bottom, they stop even calling you.
Who told us this was an acceptable standard to set ourselves? More importantly, are you happy?
This is something I certainly struggle with on a regular basis. As the only person in a new and growing business who also works a part time job and just launched a podcast.... I myself have always been a culprit for taking on too much, trying to do it all myself, not wanting to trouble anyone for help or give myself a break when inevitably sometimes I can't do it all.
Does that make you a control freak? Are your standards too high or unrealistic? Should you give up or lower the bar of your shining vision for the future of your creative business?...
But I can tell you now it means you need to get some help... more specifically outsource/schedule and prioritise. Focus on your strengths and give someone else (who is an expert at the other stuff) the opportunity to help you flourish. Bringing someone else in to free up your time a little so that you can see the woods from the trees, or at least help get your emails in order?
Don't get me wrong I am in the middle of this process and am learning daily as I go. I also, like many of you my fellow brilliant business women, have little spare cash, and gaps in my knowledge that can sometimes create barriers. But I am now very clear about what I CANNOT do alone and am focusing in on those things one by one.
I am not striving for perfection! I am actively working towards a healthy balance and sometimes a compromise. As I personally continue to grow the WWC UK website and community I am putting energy into the things that feel right and asking, buying or swapping skills and services that appear to be needed.
For example this website. I built it and it works for now... but after meeting with a brilliant web design strategist Amy from Creative Magic Marketing last week I can now clearly see what I have done oh so wrong (and a little illegally) and also where her expertise can lift this little site up inline with my vision for the future of WWC UK. This is a priority for me and something I am prepared to budget for to make my life AND business flow more smoothly. It was a total breath of fresh air meeting with her and really helped me re confirm what I want and what I know I do not have the skills to do. That's why she is the expert.
Recognising when you are struggling in your creative business can be more difficult than we let ourselves believe. When you are in the midst of an exciting opportunity, brand new commission or new venture it can be all consuming. Exciting, challenging, adrenaline pumping...
Being held back by not reaching out and asking for support or employing someone who's expertise is greater than our own can be down to pride, stubbornness or cash flow.
However ignoring the signs can quite quickly lead to...overwhelm, lack of time, anxiety, feelings of failure, very long work hours but to name a few. You can read more about recognising burnout here
So when should you look at giving someone else the chance to help you out? As often as you can is my advice! When its not your skill set/area expertise, for growth and up-scaling, when you are stuck in a rut and need new perspectives. When you feel lost and need the support of a community who can offer experiential advice.
Reaching out even to ask for free advice can be an amazing thing! If nothing else it highlights that recognition that you are not where you want to be so you can start to make changes in your routine. It may also free up time and allow room for growth and creativity, strengthen your delegating skills and grow your tribe, allow you time and space to focus on your own personal strengths and personal development. Time to build connections in work that might lead to lasting friendships!
If any of this has rung true with you, my advice would be...
Look at your networks/peers and biz bestys, who can you call on for impartial advice?... Let them know when you are struggling!
What kind of things do they outsource? How often and what are their recommendations?
Ask someone you trust to do a business audit, an outside perspective is always important
Weigh up the pros and cons
Take a step back and allow yourself to see the wider picture of your biz... what parts are you passionate about? What parts give you an anxious twitch, what parts are just technically out of your skill set?
Streamline your processes... cut out any necessary tasks or projects.
Set realistic expectations - deadlines and maybe a couple of goals
Be super honest about your needs v.s your budget
Join a course or attend some training to help boost your confidence and increase your personal expertise
Communicate well about your vision and needs to those who's services you are employing
Trade skills instead of money
Let go! Trust in the expertise of others
So with all this in mind you will be seeing some big, some subtle changes over here in the coming weeks and months... and as this community is at the core of what WWC UK is about I will no doubt be calling on some of you for skills, services or a good cup of tea and a chat.