Blogfest 16: Samantha Cook and Her Biz Her Way

Today Blogfester #16 is Sam Cook from Australia. Read as she describes Her Biz Her Way in a piece entitled My Biz My Way – With Freedom!

When I saw that Judith Morgan was doing a blogfest I jumped at the opportunity to be one of the 52 bloggers involved. First up anything that ends with fest is normally good fun! I am a fan of Judith’s work and with guest blogging on my to-do list it seemed like a perfect fit.

The blogfest is to carry on the conversation about Judith’s book Your Biz Your Way which I have been seeing tantalising snippets about on Facebook and have been meaning to but haven’t yet got around to reading. That pleasure and the associated wisdom still awaits me! Blogfest is taking place on Judith’s blog where lots of wonderful bloggers and business owners have been writing about how they run their business their way, complete with Judith’s insightful responses.

So I set my publishing date with Judith and scheduled in the time I was going to write my blog. Then my mind began to fill with thoughts about how I am running my business my way, with ideas percolating beautifully ready to put fingers to keyboard.

Until I sat down to write said blog and nothing, well actually it wasn’t nothing, it was lots of words but words which I didn’t like the look of much! I switched location, a trick I often employ when stuck, moving from my desk at home to the cafe at the gym, still nothing. Nothing, in the form of everything, but nothing of value. Instead of being a gleeful blogfest attendee rushing through the gate with my wellies and tent I found myself standing awkwardly on the outside, watching the other attendees happily mingling and having fun at the festival.

Between gaining my ticket to blogfest (with a simple yes please Judith) and arriving at blogfest (aka submitting my blog) I had been reading about the other wonderful business owners through their blogs and imposter syndrome had struck! Who am I to write about my business my way, I barely even know what my way is! Had I somehow pulled a fast one on Judith and illegally obtained my ticket from a tout in a darkened corner who shiftily looked over his shoulder whilst I handed over my cash?!

Then I read the title of Judith’s book again. Your Biz, Your Way. Learning to trust yourself. Relax! You’ve got this.

Truer words could not be spoken, as I’m discovering learning to trust myself is a huge, huge, part of being in business. Once again Judith had hit the nail on the head! I relaxed, the sun came back out from behind the clouds, the blogfest gate was flung open and I was welcomed in. So now the elephant in the room, or should I say the elephant in the fest has been addressed, let’s get on with this!

So, the big question, what is my way?

To be honest, as I’m fairly new to business it’s a way that I’m still sussing out. But I have already come to some big conclusions and am slowly but steadily developing others. My way comes with freedom, oodles of it, as my business is aptly named. It applies to me, my business and my clients and is summed up by a few lines in my manifesto:

Freedom to choose who you are and what you do. Freedom to quit, to persist or to try something different. Life is for the living, how will you live yours?

Freedom is the raison d’être for me stepping away from full-time employment and starting my own business, so now I’m here I intend to make the most of it!

For too long I had been a trapped employee, subscribing to the hours and location set by someone else. Even my clothes be they high heel shoes or steel toe capped boots (and I have worn them both!) were not my flip-flop of choice! Nor were the lines I had to toe or things I had to say or do. It was sometimes tiring, and occasionally soul-destroying.

Now I have the freedom to choose who I am and what I do, I can be unashamedly me and do things the way that suits me best.

My week is more fluid, somedays I will start early and work late, other days I will finish early or start late, typically with exercise or an adventure filling in the gaps in the conventional 9-5. Wednesday is currently my absolute favourite day where I get two injections of sunshine and salt water to keep my spirits up and motivation high. An ocean swim is preceded by a little work, followed by a bit more work before wrapping up early for a sail on Sydney Harbour. Bliss! Work does now creep into my weekends but I’m completely okay with that as its work I enjoy and its interspersed with fun, for me it’s all about balance.

I have decided not to subscribe to the theory that when starting a new business you have to work flat out for the first few years, cutting out friends, family and hobbies. Who knows maybe a business will grow quicker that way but what if I burn out and stop having fun in the meantime? To me the old adage applies: “You can always make more money but you can never make more time” Jim Rohn

So I choose to spend my time wisely, balancing my business with my life. My aim is to model this behaviour for my clients so we can all live a well balanced happy life.

I am also choosing the freedom of location, working from home, working from a cafe even working from multiple campsites on my most recent challenge which involved going camping every week for 52 weeks, I have done them all. I find the outdoors inspiring and it inspires my business. My coaching sessions are held outdoors, on the beach or in the park, my upcoming facing fears program will involve camping, hiking and fear facing in a beautiful national park. A longer cycle trip is planned. What fun! I want my clients to enjoy taking valuable time out from their busy lives, and so I choose activities and locations that I find fun and inspiring. No stuffy boardrooms with the little mints required (though I do love the little mints, maybe some of them are required!)

Some more words from my manifesto apply here: Freedom to be you, to go after your dreams and do what makes you happy. Life, it’s an adventure, so live it!

I have learnt to consciously remind myself of my dreams, and what makes me happy. It’s easy to get caught up in the noise and the rush, with so many different sources telling me how I should be running my business. If I were to listen to them all I would forever be jumping from one task to another and achieving nothing. I have realised the huge importance of doing things my way. Taking regular time out through journaling, meditation, gratitude and planning works for me. It gives me the time and the space to suss out just what works for me and to remind myself of my big goals so I don’t veer off track. I’m pretty sure those big goals will change over time, as will my style but for now blogging is in and videos are out!

To summarise, doing business my way really does come down to freedom. The freedom to go after my dreams, and do what makes me happy! 

Read Sam’s article in full HERE are her own website and see all her beautiful photographs. And check out the Oodles of Freedom Facebook Page too.

Dear Sam

I think you’ve got it spot on. If I were starting my business today, as you are, I’d be doing it the way you are. And your Sydney seaside location is such a bonus. You are living in a wonderful place in the world where so many would love to be doing that too. How wonderful is that?

I love the way your piece starts with the long preamble and the self-doubt and then you not even needing to read the book but seeing that the subtitle was your solution. Could’ve saved myself a lot of time and just stopped there – JOKE!

And the point you make about flipflops is a recurring theme, it seems our footwear of choice is a symbol of our freedom which reminds me… I am barefoot as I write this, just as I prefer to be. And it’s a Monday morning in England in February – gosh!

Perhaps there is a whole other series of blogs about our symbols of freedom? Thanks for the inspiration, not just for this piece but for all your readers and clients too.

Your Biz Your Way

If you have enjoyed reading my words here, you might also enjoy my book - Your Biz Your Way: Learning to Trust Yourself. Relax! You've Got This. Find out how to buy the book here Read My Book