For many of us, our business is just one of many moving parts of our life.
More often than not, we might go through things outside of the business that feel difficult or challenging. During these periods of time, working on your business or showing up can feel pretty hard.
This episode is for anyone who wants to keep going in your business, even if you’re in a season of life right now where things feel harder than usual.
This one’s for you.
If you’ve been in this game of building your business, you may have experienced times where you just feel like your life is a hot mess.
Whether it’s because you had an argument with your partner, or maybe there’s a health emergency happening in your family, or maybe you have to bring your cat to the vet everyday because it’s got a bladder infection, or maybe you’re extremely stressed with your 9-6 job.
Whatever is going on, my guess is that during these times, you may have found yourself thinking, “I just can’t do anything for my business”.
I find that we tend to make such statements because we feel like those things going on outside of our business are taking away from our capacity to work on or show up for our business.
At the same time, what also tends to happen is that because we don’t work on our business or post something on social media for a week, we feel super frustrated and upset at ourselves.
Then you sit down at your laptop and try to create content, but because you’re already really overwhelmed with how “behind” you are, you end up not producing any content at all.
And the cycle continues on for a bit more. Sometimes, we might even arrive at the conclusion that right now, you just don’t have time for my business because you need to focus on your life problems.
So it’s like, if I focus on my life and taking care of myself, then I can’t show up for my business.
But the thing is, you CAN.
You CAN continue building your business even if there are life things happening.
But the way you build your business might have to look different from what you think it’s supposed to look like.
I’m going to share different examples to show that it is possible to take care of your personal needs and give attention to the other parts of your life, while building your business and creating results in your business. I will also offer a few practical tips or perspectives for you to consider.
When I think about the clients I’ve worked with, it’s super common for life to throw curveballs at them during our time coaching together.
My job as the coach is to coach them to adjust their plan of action and also expectations of their business during these particular periods of time. And also, I, the coach, have to continue to hold the belief for them even when they might feel so swamped with everything going on and want to just shut down their business and sleep.
I recall recently, I worked with a client who had a lot happening in their work life. It was a really emotionally taxing and difficult time for this client. This situation lasted for almost a month, where the client had to “take steps back” on their business to prioritize their mental health.
For example, they didn’t really post on Instagram at all during this time. On our coaching calls, we discussed what the client will and will not do for their business so that they can really take some time for their mental health. There were also discussions on not shaming themselves for having to take time away from the business during this period.
You may be wondering, wait, but Cheryl, aren’t you a business coach? Aren’t you supposed to hold your clients to the highest standard so they grow their business and sign clients even when life happens?
Well, yes. That’s exactly what happened here.
First, this was a decision that the client fully backed and they believed it was what they needed the most.
Second, as the coach, I truly believe that for this client during this particular season of their life, taking major steps back temporarily in their business was exactly what their business needed.
Because if the client’s goal is to be a coach and business owner for the long haul, taking steps back for a month is nothing. It’s like the saying, sometimes you gotta slow down to speed up. That’s exactly what happened here.
Finally, I, as the coach, have to hold that belief for the client during this time. Because I’m sure as hell that thoughts of “Omg I should be selling my offer” or “I should be posting something on Instagram stories”, came up for this client during this period. Even if she had intentionally decided to take steps back from content and marketing in her business.
Guess what happened soon after?
First, the client felt better. That’s most important.
Second, apparently things at work also improved.
Third and finally, the client had the emotional capacity to create content for her community and make offers again.
Because we’ve spent so much time coaching the client to identify her own unique thought leadership and we’ve spent months building up her reputation as a leader in her specific niche, this client literally started signing clients again, despite basically not doing much for a month or so.
I actually remember we started having to coach the client on her mind drama on raising her prices, but that’s besides the point of this conversation
I also want to share a tidbit of their testimonials from our coaching together: When I feel the lowest in confidence and overwhelmed with other things in life and career, Cheryl was there to support me. I like that you always have an analytical approach, encouraging me to see things from different angles, while empathetic of whatever I was experiencing. You held the confidence in me, for me, in times when I felt that I couldn’t hold it for myself.
Before we move forward, I want to say that when I share about my own experiences or challenges during my entrepreneurial journey, or examples from clients I’ve worked with – the point is not to say that because someone else has it hard, it means that you or I should discount our own experiences.
I share examples not to make us feel that this person has it harder than us or they’ve gone through much harder life events than we have but they’re still creating results… And I’m over here being a hot mess and not moving forward in my business.
The point here is not to look at someone else’s experiences just to invalidate your own.
I trust that we each go through our own shit and we all experience those things very deeply.
So please don’t diminish your own past experiences or current situation just because another entrepreneur’s situation seems different or “worse” yet they still made their business work and are continuing to grow.
I invite you to be open to the idea that you can still do both. You can go through life things and still grow your business, sign clients, help people, and make money.
Rather than trying to solve all of your life problems or feeling 95% better before you get back to your business, I want to offer the possibility that you can have shit happening or you can feel shit about things going on in your life, and still create amazingness, help people, and grow your business. They are NOT mutually exclusive.
I want to share another recent conversation I had with a client where they shared that right now, when she thinks about the vision she has for her business and life versus where she is right now, at this moment, she feels like she is nowhere close to dream life and dream business.
Thoughts like “What else can I be doing? What more can I do? Am I not doing enough?“ have also been very prevalent for her. She also said that her life and business right now doesn’t feel like her dream life or dream business.
I remember being on the call a few days ago and I paused, then I asked her, “But how are you already, right now, seeing elements of your dream life or dream business?
Because compared to a few months ago when we started working together, so much has changed for you in both life and in business. Your relationship with your job, the content you’ve been sharing and how you now feel really proud to show up online to share your ideas, experiences and talk about how you can help people.
How you now feel much more relaxed and calm overall on a day to day level.
How you recently worked with a client who found you from LinkedIn, even though you had so much fear about even posting something on LinkedIn just a few months ago.
You have seen massive changes and growth in just months, let alone years, and many parts of your current reality is what the past version of you wouldn’t even fathom possible.
So how are you ALREADY living elements of your dream life and creating elements of your dream business?”
This particular conversation serves as a reminder to me that it’s never 0 to 100. It’s never black or white. It’s never you’re this or you’re not this at all.
Meaning: Why are we thinking about whether we HAVE created our dream business or not? Why are we thinking either we are living our dream life, or we’re not?
But rather, why can’t life and business be incremental? Why are we discounting the increments we’ve already built in our life and business? Because without those increments, we can’t get any closer to our dream life and dream business.
This actually ties into the idea of how entrepreneurship will often require us to be open to thinking about our business differently or be open to reviewing whether our expectations of our business is even helping us or not.
That leads into the next point I want to unpack more, which is: Being okay with NOT doing things perfectly or NOT doing it the way you imagined. But rather, just get it done.
Here’s the thing. More often than not, we feel like we don’t have the capacity to work on our business or show up for our business anymore. Because our idea of what we think we have to do is much more complicated or detailed or perfected than what actually is required to take action.
But the truth is, you can still talk about your program or make a post related to something you help people with. So how can we be aware of where we are following marketing advice or best practices made up by other marketers or business coaches that we didn’t even create and doesn’t factor in the nuances of the human experience?
When business coaches teach and preach certain how-to’s or tips, they are speaking in generalized terms and aren’t catering to someone’s specific or unique circumstances.
So why would you try to squeeze yourself into someone else’s super general definition of how to do something in your business? Which has no consideration for all the possible circumstances that someone can be navigating while building their business?
All that to say, you get to define what you do, how you want to do it, and your overall experience as an entrepreneur who also is a human being simultaneously. Isn’t that what entrepreneurship is all about anyway? Making up your own rules and being the decision maker of your own life and business?
There’s always options, especially in your business.
But right now, in certain seasons of life and business, are you willing to let go of the need to do everything “right” in your business? Are you ok with letting go of some perfectionism or let go of doing it the way you see other people doing, in order to actually get the thing done?
Choose to do things differently to help yourself in certain seasons of life and business. Being open to doing or thinking about things differently, experimenting and stepping out of your comfort zone, or even taking risks.
Ultimately, you will have many choices and options when it comes to what you want to do in your business during different seasons of life and how you want to execute on it.
But you have to be okay with the potential discomfort that comes with it, especially if it might look different from how you were doing things during a different season of life/business.
I actually want to share a client example here. This client was navigating some personal health issues and I recall the client feeling just tired and discouraged overall about her personal life.
Simultaneously, the client shared on our coaching calls that she was just feeling so resistant towards selling her coaching offer because she felt that her overall energy was so low, and she had no capacity to make a “fully flushed out offer” on video for her Instagram stories a few times a week.
For this particular client, a lot of our coaching here was centered around:
1) What does it even mean to make an offer? What are you expecting from yourself when you think of making an offer? What dumb marketing rules do we think we’re supposed to follow when it comes to making an offer? Is that even true? How is it not true?
2) What if making offers doesn’t require you to be in your “best , most positive energy”? What if how you feel does not actually have anything to do with the energy behind how you’re talking about your offer? How could that be true?
These were some of the questions we had to explore together.
In the end, we came up with different ways that the client can take the easiest form of action, especially while she’s navigating things with her own health and personal life.
Specifically, we looked at different ways this client can still make offers, but do it in a way that feels a lot easier than what she initially felt like she had to do.
As a result, this client has not only been making a ton of offers, but she actually shared that making offers has never felt easier. Of course, she’s also been booking a number of sales calls because she’s actually telling people to come book a call with her. SO GOOD!
And yes, she is still making offers while doing whatever she needs to do in her offline, personal life, to tend to her health. Life isn’t always shiny and cute for this client, but she still kept going. She’s still booking sales calls and signing clients, helping people, and making money. All while working through whatever is going on outside of her business. And that’s seriously incredible.
Now, I want us to consider something that sounds opposite of what we just talked about. And please note that my intention is simply to offer you different ways of looking at your business.
Choose the option that feels most helpful to you:
1) We just talked about being open to adjusting the implementation of an action item so you can continue doing the action item.
But what if you find that right now, you legit just can’t implement at the same frequency as you normally would?
If this sounds like you and right now you are really struggling to post on Instagram stories every day or post a weekly podcast episode. Which is the schedule you were adhering to for a whole entire year but now you’re currently in a season of life where that is just not something you want to commit to.
Then this is where turning up the quality, and turning down the quantity may be especially relevant for your business.
Because if you only have a certain amount of emotional capacity or energy, or even a limited amount of time, how would you want to spend your energy and/or time first and foremost?
Second, how could you really milk that chunk of time you are able to give to your business and really create some amazing things, even if that block of time is perhaps smaller than the amount of time you can normally give to your business, for example?
Definitely something to explore if you feel that this is something that will help you and your business stay in the game for the long run.
2) Now let’s actually throw it back and think about how there was a time when you didn’t even know about the online coaching industry or that you didn’t think you could start an online business. Think about how you’ve already come so far in your business journey.
The reason why I bring this up is because, being able to stay connected to why you’re doing all of this and why you continue to do what you do, even with all the ups and downs of life and entrepreneurship, is a skill.
It’s a skill to continue pursuing a vision, a dream, even if there are gonna be times when you don’t know if you can really make it happen.
Being able to continue not just taking action on your business, but also continuing to ground back to the feelings of excitement, gratitude, possibility, impact, and everything that fuels you – this is a skill.
How can you find moments of joy in your business every day? How can you create moments of joy in your business everyday?
It doesn’t help when we see our business as a chore that is “energetically draining” right?
3) That said, we also need to acknowledge that your business is still WORK. There might be times when looking at your business like a JOB might actually be helpful.
Because there will always be parts of your business that you just don’t want to do, especially as you scale up. Or, there might be issues with clients that are really stressful.
Or what about coaching clients on something that, to you, seems trivial and you feel like the client should just do it, but the client is still struggling to “take action” and now you’re questioning whether you’re a good coach?
There will inevitably be parts of your business that are not fun, and there will definitely be times when your business feels like a job.
I was working at my 9-5 as a full-time research assistant and building my coaching business back in 2019/2020. Then I was a full-time PhD student and side hustling in my business in 2020/2021. There are 10000% days where I was like F THIS but I still went to the office. I still submitted my research proposal. I still finished the manuscript. I still got the work done. Because it’s my job.
I think that one thing we can all take away from our previous experiences in the workplace or school or any setting where we just had to show up and do whatever we had to do.
Because there will be similar situations in our business where we have to just remove the emotional charge we’ve attached to certain parts of our business, and just do the thing like it’s our job.
Here is also where a lot of coaches and entrepreneurs will feel conflicted. Because I’ve observed that there’s quite the narrative especially among business coaches that position building a business and being a CEO and being the boss of your own life/business as something that’s just really, really fun and you’re gonna love what you do all the time. Right?
There’s been such a strong anti-job or anti-corporate dialogue happening, that entrepreneurship is painted in the completely opposite light.
And now a lot of coaches and entrepreneurs end up feeling like if they don’t feel happy, motivated, excited, lit up, or aligned while doing something in their business, then there’s something wrong.
There’s something missing. They’re not selling the right offer. They question the niche they are in or the content they are creating.
You think that maybe it’s because you’re not being clear enough and your audience is confused about what you do. But honestly, in most scenarios, there’s nothing wrong.
You’re just faced with a task that you don’t feel like doing. That’s it.
Nothing is wrong. You’re not doing it wrong. You’re not doing anything wrong.
All that to say, there will be times when you have to do things in your business that you simply don’t find enjoyable.
And it’s not helpful to you, your business, your clients, or your people if you feel like you have to feel good to get something done, and now you want to burn down your entire business because it no longer feels aligned, right?
Something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently is what if, actually, contrary to all these business coaches talking about being your own boss and running your own business, what if it’s expected that you’re gonna feel meh or bleh about your business 80% of the time?
What if that could be very possible? And what if that’s actually the reality or experience for many coaches and entrepreneurs?
I want to offer that thought because I want to give all of us permission to feel bleh and meh about our business. And know that even if we do feel bleh or meh, we can still get things done.
We can still make offers. We can still coach our amazing clients. We can still have a creative spark and type up a super, super, super good series of Instagram stories in ten minutes and then go take a nap.
Definitely something for us to think about moving forward and really evaluate what sort of expectations we’re holding about our business or what we think business is supposed to look or feel like.
I fully acknowledge that there might also be times when the best decision for you is to step away from the business or scale back in the business for the time being.
I say this because that’s what I’ve done before. If you go back to some older episodes on this podcast, you can hear more about my own seven month break from the business where I literally deleted EVERYTHING because I was just so, so burnt out not just from business, but from multiple stressors in my personal life.
My mental health, my physical health, and even personal relationships and family life. It all needed me to make this decision.
That’s exactly what I did in order to be here today, years later, and still going in the business.
One of the major lessons I learned from the break is that there will often be circumstances where we simply have to allow and accept.
I will admit, I did feel really frustrated and angry at myself for closing down the business. Because at the time, I wasn’t sure if I’d come back to the online space.
For those seven months, I just let myself feel all the emotions I was going through related to my personal life. And I took action that allowed me to improve on different areas of my personal life.
As a result, not only did I process a lot of things emotionally, I also ended up restructuring my life. I lost 40 pounds and had so much more energy. I improved my relationship with my mom. And consequently, I now have the capacity to continue building something that means so much to me.
That’s why after seven months, I did what I had to do and now we’ve been back in business since.
I really believe each of us are more resilient than we think. I say this because I really think we’ve probably gone through or have done much harder things than building an online business.
If anything, let’s use that as evidence to build the belief that we can figure this business out and make this work.
There were probably many other instances where you probably felt like you didn’t know what you were doing or how you were gonna make it happen, but you did it anyway. You figured it out.
That’s why I know that we are all very capable of building this thing called an online coaching business. So, keep going.
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