Let’s get stuck in.
Our first module is all about getting crystal clear on what we want before diving into how we can make it happen.
To start, we need to figure out what your version of success is and why you’ve chosen to be your own boss (or if you have a side hustle alongside a full-time job at the moment- why you've chosen to start your side hustle). Knowing exactly what we’re after and why we’re doing it the perfect antidote for those days when we feel overwhelmed or stuck. It brings us back to why we’re going through the shit and the drivel and what will happen if we just keep going.
Side note: If you’re wondering ‘erm, why don’t you just say ‘success!?’, there is a reason- I’m not just trying to add up my word count. I make a point of saying ‘your version of success’ because I believe we all have different versions of what we perceive to be successful - I feel if we generalise ‘success’ we run the risk of stating that there is only one way, path, journey, method to be successful and that amps up the pressure; the pressure to be perfect; to be untouchable; to be successful; and that’s not a kind of pressure we need in life (we’ve got enough, thanks!).
Some might want to be on the telly, be featured in magazines, travelling abroad and reaching a status of celebrity in order to feel successful. Some might want to be able to buy their own home or have enough time and space for their family. Others might want to be simply doing what they love. There is no wrong or right answer here. The thing to remember is that every single version is completely individual and the most important part of that version is that it is true to what you desire. We’ve all grown up having the cookie-cutter image of success being shoved down our throats. Fancy job, fancy house, fancy car, fancy clothes. Consciously or not, we tend to hold our versions of success to those. If we’re striving for something we think we ‘should’ want rather than something we truly desire, we’re not going to get very far. Your version is yours, and that’s where the magic happens.
Lesson One: Your Version of Success
Now, let’s get to it and figure out what your version of success is.
Step one: Take a minute and breathe.
Hopefully you’re in a quiet place already but if not, find somewhere where you can just be with no distractions. Close your emails, turn your phone off (or put it in another room) and take 3 deep breaths. It’s important that we’re in a space of reflection here.
Step two: Brainstorm.
On a blank piece of paper, create a mind map with the words ‘success’ in the middle. Use the empty spokes to write whatever comes to you when you think of success. Does success mean money? Joy? Time? Freedom? Family? Try not to worry too much about your answers (this isn’t your final version), just let out whatever is popping up for you. Scribble as fast and as far as your mind can take you.
Step three: Below are some questions I’d like you to answer.
What are some definitions of success that others have ingrained inside of you? Think in specifics — are there certain people (like parents, friends, etc), who have made you feel that in order to be successful, you need to follow a certain path?
Describe that ‘successful path’ that others have pushed onto you. Is this path something you’re interested in deep inside? Do you experience a ‘sense of flow’ when you’re on this path? A sense of flow is the feeling you have when you’re pursuing something that excites and thrills you terribly. You feel like you’re in your element and that there’s no stopping you. It’s when you get so wrapped up in an activity that time passes freely and you fully enjoy the moment you’re in.
What would happen if you didn’t follow that particular path of success? Think critically. Where would you be? Would you be happy? How much money would you have? Would that matter?
Now, think about the last time you truly felt successful, accomplished, and beaming with pride. What were you doing? How can you add more of that experience into the rest of your life?
Step four: Draw another mind map, separate to the first.
Now, head back to your piece of paper and draw another mind map with the words ‘my version of success’ in the middle. The difference is with this mindmap is that it contains all of what YOU believe is your version of success-- not what you’ve consciously or subconsciously believed you ‘should’ be going after. Use these questions to help prompt you:
What is YOUR dream? Hush the voices that are trying to convince you that their version of success is your dream, or the voices that try to tell you you’re not capable of it. Dig deep — what would make you feel accomplished and joyful if you could do it everyday? No matter how big or small that dream is, you’re capable.
How will you feel when you accomplish your version of success? Imagine the moment and describe it in detail.
Only write down what is true to you; what makes you excited, motivated and inspired. Once you’re done, look back and compare the two mindmaps. Is there a huge difference between the two, or not? Remember, there is no wrong or right answer here so try not to worry if there isn’t or is- as long as you have written down what you truly believe is your version of success.
Now, it’s time to state your version of success boldly:
My version of success is __________________
This is what we’re going to come back to time and time again during the course to make sure you’re creating a workweek and schedule that it’s in alignment with what you want to make happen. It’s also important to note that your version of success may evolve over time or with different situations arising in your life and that is ok. It’s more than ok- it’s life. Our minds and situations evolve to a point where what we once defined as success is no longer the case, and that’s ok. As long as you are always striving for something is truly what YOU desire, that’s all that matters.
One last thing on version of success: we all get caught by the comparison bug at some point or another in our entrepreneurial journeys. We see fellow business owners in our fields who do similar things to us and wonder why they’re getting the exciting, ‘bigger’ opportunities rather than us. The key thing to do here is ask yourself: "but is that my version of success? Is that what I truly want?". 9 times out of 10 it isn’t and you can get back on the path of working towards your version.
Lesson Two: Finding Your Why
Next is your Why.
Everyone has a Why. Your Why is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you- it’s what gets you out of bed in the morning. It’s what drives and motivates you -- it is why you do what you do. It’s how leaders inspire and it’s why people buy from us. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. But your Why isn’t just about business. It’s a statement of who you are. And you are who you are no matter what you do or where you go. Your Why is applicable in every aspect of your life, not just your work.
Here’s my Why…
I do what I do because I want to help female creative entrepreneurs grow their businesses and their confidence so that they can live the life that they deserve and desire and know that they are capable of amazing things. I want control, to be financially independent, I want to have flexibility and freedom in what I do and I want to live a life that I deserve and desire, too.
But how did I get to that? Well, long story short. I kept asking why until it hurt.
When you reach that point- you’ll know what I mean. You have an emotional response to it. I started with: I want to help female creative entrepreneurs grow their businesses and their confidence.
So that they can live the life they deserve and desire.
Because I know what it feels like when you’re told, ether by yourself or outside sources that you’re not capable of anything.
Why do you want to be your own boss?
Because I need control and flexibility.
Why? I can’t function in a 9-5 job because of my depression and anxiety that likes to pop up.
Yeah, but why? Because there is no plan B, and I don’t want to live my life creating something for someone else- I want to create something for myself and make my mark. Dun dun dun! Emotional response. Do you see what I mean?
To be true to yourself and your clients and to create an authentic brand you must find your own purpose, your own Why. Now it’s your turn.
Step One: On a new piece of paper, start brainstorming your Why.
Think about what you do and the true reason behind your passion. Ask why until it hurts. Your Why may change throughout your life, as you get married, have a family, have to care for aging parents, etc. but the questions you have to ask yourself in order to stay focused on it and overcome all the obstacles you will inevitably face remain largely the same.
Step two: Here are few questions that may help prompt you to find your why. I encourage you to keep on asking until you get to the very core of why you’re doing what you’re doing.
1. What am I passionate about? What is most important to me?
Skill and passion are often confused for one another, but they aren’t at all interchangeable. You can be really good at what you’re doing and not only not be passionate about it but also totally loathe it. So, ask yourself if you’re passionate about what you’re doing and, if not, what you are passionate about. What excites you? What gets you going and motivates you to keep going? You will find more personal and professional fulfillment at the place where natural talent and skill meets your personal passion. That is the place where you will find your motivation and be able to maintain it for the long haul.
2. What’s most important in your life? Beyond your basic human needs, what must you have in your life to experience fulfillment?
Creative self-expression? A strong level of health and vitality? A sense of excitement and adventure? Surrounded by beauty? Always learning? What are the personal values you must honour or a part of you withers?
3. Why did I choose this path? Why am I serving my particular customers? Why do I want to have my own business?
Now, I know these are all lumped into together here but it’s to encourage you to keep asking why until it hurts. Why are you your own boss? Why do you create products or services for those particular customers?
Now, let’s get your Why down in all of its glory. From what you've just discovered there, on your piece of paper or on your document/ in your notebook, write down your Why.
I do what I do because _____________
One last thing on Why- Always prioritise your Why over your What. Your Why is what will set you apart from the rest when your products are fairly similar to others. Your Why will keep you motivated, help you stay in your own lane when everyone and their mum seems to be growing at a rapid rate, and will get you so excited that you have to tell everyone about it (more so than your product). Your what is your product. It’s the method you’ve chosen to talk about your why, to get your why in front of others, it’s not what will get people to buy from you- your Why is.
Lesson Three: How Do You Want Your Workweek To Feel?
This is where we start to get into the details of what we want our businesses and workweek to look and feel like, because guess what? We’re in control. As the One Girl Band’s, the self motivated self employed, the runners of the show: everything we do in the day-to-day action of our lives and businesses is down to us; and that doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming. It’s freeing.
When I first started my design studio, I was consuming and devouring all of this content. Blog posts, articles, podcasts and books were telling me how to run a business because I didn’t have a clue. How to find your ideal customer, how to use social media advantageously, how to make more money, how to use Pinterest to get more sales. I felt I had to follow these ‘rules’ and not steer from the knowledge I was being given because ‘surely these people know what they’re on about’? It wasn’t until I had been in business for a year that I realised I was only going to truly succeed at what I wanted to do if I followed my own intuition, values and mission. If I forgot what I was being told I ‘should’ do and instead create a sustainable and consistent business on my own terms. Yes, I still read other people’s content and I enjoy it immensely, but I don’t take it all as gospel now. I do business the way I want, because otherwise surely it’s like I’m in a conventional, 9-5 job being told how and when to work? We’ve chosen this path of entrepreneurship and self employment because we wanted the freedom, flexibility and choice to live life on our terms, right? And if you're currently working full-time alongside your business- you're still included in this conversation. You've chosen to do something else on top of your 9-5 for a reason and I imagine that was to give yourself a chance at creating something for you. Let’s honour that all the way through our approach, core beliefs and how we work.
Now, we’re going to jump in and look at what you’re currently doing in terms of your schedule, workweek and time. We’ll then work out how we want our business and workweek to look and feel like in order to help us visualise the way we truly want to be working (because we have the control, remember!).
Step One: Your Current Schedule
Answer these questions.
What does your current workweek look like?
Your workweek is what you get up to during your working hours. What are you doing day-to-day in your business and life? Get specific on what your current workweek looks like. What are your office hours at the moment? How many hours and days do you work in the week? How often do you have breaks? Do you stop for lunch? Are you working in the evenings? Be honest, there’s no judgement here.
What are some habits you feel are hindering your progress?
Are you procrastinating a lot? Do you take longer than necessary to complete a task? Do you check your phone a lot throughout the day? Think about the habits that led you to realise you need a more effective work schedule and balance. What made you think you need to buy this course?
How is it stopping you from achieving your version of success? What is it costing you- financially, emotionally, health-wise?
Think critically here -- ask yourself how your current workweek is hindering your path to your version of success. Get specific. Are your long hours draining you so much that you’re not getting any fulfilling work done? Are you working all of the 7 days to keep things going but you’re not getting to spend time with your family or friends? Is your 9-5 or your business taking over? This is a time to be really honest with yourself. Remember, this is what this course is here to help you so try not to dwell on this step too much or let it make you feel like you’re doing a bad job. You are so, so worthy.
When was the last time you experienced a sense of ‘flow’? What were you doing during that flow-like state?
Think back to a day in business where you thought ‘wow, this is a good day’. What was happening? What sort of things were you achieving? How were you working? What brought along the sense of ‘flow’?
Step Two: Your Dream Schedule
Keeping in mind what you just explored in the previous answers, let’s now think about what your dream schedule would look like. This isn’t your final schedule (we’re not quite done yet!) but it’s something I want you to keep coming back to throughout the course. Really dive deep here and peel away those layers -- the work you’ll do here is the beginning of defining how you’ll work from now on.
Sidenote: I know it’s human nature and we’re all bound to do it but try and not let your inner critic get a word in here. If she starts piping up and shouting that you’re kidding yourself if you think you can work in a certain way, tell her politely that you understand she’s a bit scared about the change happening right now but she has no reason to be - so can she please just shut the hell up? And believe it. Trust me, it works!
What do you want your business to look and feel like?
Do you want it to look like a huge, game-changing empire that is making waves in your industry? Or a business that gives you the space and freedom to live life with flexibility and allows you to thrive, not just survive?
When you think of the day-to-day within in your business journey, how do you want to feel?
Like we did in a previous step, think back to when you last felt like you’re killing it, time management-wise. How exactly did you feel? Was it focused? Energised? Connected? Empowered? How do you want to feel in the day-to-day as you’re showing up and making things happen?
What are the essentials you need for a happy, healthy, and productive workday?
Lots of breaks? A steady and calm flow of tasks and projects? A yoga session before you start the day? Get specific -- what do you need to feel like you’ve just bossed the day?
What do you want your workweek to look like?
How many days do you want to work? What sort of office hours do you want to stick to? Try and not let thoughts of ‘that won’t be enough’ and the like come into play. This is your ideal schedule, remember. How you would spend those days, what breaks would you take, what days you’d take off, how you’d fit your business around your life. Getting it down on paper can help you to visualise how you’d actually like your working week to look and feel and can give you a clear picture of how many hours you’d like to make available to your business too.
What do you want your year to look and feel like?
And to finish, let’s look at the big picture of your whole year. When would you take time off? Would you take the summers off to spend with your family? Or the Winter or Spring off to go travelling? Or little breaks throughout the year? And are there any life events you’d like to make sure you make space for throughout the year? This can help you to think about the bigger picture of how to map out your projects, services, and launches and so you can be prepared throughout the year to take a break from your business when you want to without it falling apart behind the scenes.
How does that feel? Your answers to the above should help to create more of an idea of what you truly want your workweek to look like.
Recap of Module One
To recap, let’s complete the sentences below in order to reflect on what you’ve explored and discovered in this module.
My version of success is…
I do what I do because…
My current schedule is stopping me from reaching my version of success by…
In the day-to-day of my business, I want to feel…
I want my new schedule to look and feel like…
Anything else that came up?
That brings us to end of module 1. You did it! Celebrate that win with a cup of tea and a biscuit. In the next module, we’re getting to the juicy stuff (your goals and aims).