Blogfest 34: Sarah Swanton and Her Biz Her Way

Blogfester #34 is Sarah Swanton who has published her reflections on being a solopreneur and asks “what does running My Biz My Way really look like?” Here she is, in her own words:

It’s March 2018, and I’ve just finished my third book of the year. My ambitions at the start of the year to read one book a week have since been revised to just one a month will be fine. There would’ve been a time when the internal conversation would’ve been more along the lines of “for goodness sake, why can’t you stick to ANYTHING you say you’re going to do, please?” More on that later.

The first book I read this year was My Biz My Way by Judith Morgan and I’m so pleased I did. It’s really had an impact. Have you read it? If not, and you’re a small biz entrepreneur, oh you must. It’s brilliant. You know those rare moments when someone gives you some home truths? Yet instead of feeling defensive, disillusioned or like you’re a total failure, it all goes very quiet and the world seems to stop for a moment and this teeny tiny voice from inside speaks up and says “my goodness, she’s right you know.”

It lands.

That happened to me after reading Question 5 in the book, which then promptly signposted me to Q33. “At our level, there’s no money in ideas, the money’s in the implementation of your idea.” Oh Lordy, that was the moment!

You see, there was a time not so long ago when I was having Ideas Sex as Judith calls it. Notebooks full of them. Beautiful, brilliant, inspiring, engaging ideas for a business. The cycle went something like this:

Have amazing idea. Start idea. Have an EVEN better idea. Abandon idea No.1. Start idea No.2. Have off the charts idea that is better than 1 and 2 combined. Start idea No.3. Repeat cycle.

And so the cycle continues. Isn’t that exhausting? No, not really because an incredible amount of energy comes from generating new ideas. If you resonate with this, you’ll know what I mean. Frustrating? Very. Because as Judith says, there is absolutely no money in ideas. Not at our level, anyway.

Anyway, I’ve stopped that lark now, thank goodness. Unfortunately not in a “stop it immediately” kind of way, but it’s calmed right down. The reason I know that is because on 1st March 2018 my business Happy Healthy Entrepreneur turned one year old. This is quite a milestone for me and I feel proud every time I think about it. Even though I’ve been self-employed since 2009, with time off for learning how to be a new parent in between, this past year is the first time I’ve felt like a proper grown-up business owner.

With that has come learning to run my business exactly how I please and in a way that works for me and my family.

I think for all of us there comes a time when we stop being a clone of everyone else and start to listen to our own voice. That’s certainly what I’ve been doing for the past twelve months. There is a voice of intuition and wisdom that speaks to us and, the more we listen to it, the more it shows up. Mine shows up after a good night’s sleep, walking in nature, driving or even doing the ironing, which is a good motivator to do it in the first place!).

I call it Clarity. What I love about Clarity is that she has a healthy disrespect for the word should.

Clarity told me to launch a podcast four months into my business, whereas Should would say “ooh, too soon.” Turns out it was a brilliant move and has been incredibly well received and it has connected me to some fabulous people along the way who I am now really delighted to call my business buddies.

Imagine what we could achieve in our businesses if we gave Should an indefinite sabbatical and instead hired the services of Clarity on more of a full-time basis?

That’s what I intend to keep doing as I move through the next 12 months. Clarity has currently got me immersed in creating my very first online programme. Of course, Little Miss Should would probably say “no, no you have to keep up with the 1:1 work for at least another couple of years before you’ve earned the right to start creating online courses” but of course I will never know because she’s currently off enjoying a well-earned sabbatical, somewhere really lovely I hope.

And it’s because of that, acting mostly out of intuition when it comes to next steps to take in my business, that I have the approach of everything is an experiment. I don’t know exactly how something is going to turn out, all I ever do is try to discern between that voice of intuition and just plain old noise.

  • If it brings me joy and delights me, I’m in.
  • If it stresses me out too much or puts me on the road to burnout, I’m out.

I believe in having a business that creates a healthy profit (I’ve got enough hobbies already), but not at any cost; health, family, enjoyment of life – those things are important to me. I feel protective of that and so my work has to be joyful too. Isn’t that why we become self-employed?

Happy Healthy Entrepreneur does feel joyful to me as a business. After a long time searching, I do feel instinctively that I’ve found my thing. I think that helps. When the idea of doing this work well past retirement age feels like a really nice concept, it means I’m in no rush. I can embrace the tortoise in me and take my time – little bits of action each and every day, and take in all the beautiful scenery along the way.

Read Sarah’s well thought-out article in full HERE at her beautiful restful website. And if Sarah’s philosophy sounds right up your rue, subscribe to her podcast too: The Happy Healthy Entrepreneur Podcast.

Dear Sarah

Thanks so much for joining in. My fave bit of your story? Clarity and Should. Two bezzie mates giving you great advice, both of them, and the fact that you can discern between their “loving” advice so easily is perfect. I also appreciate the fondness you have for your business (me too!) and your podcast (me too, not least because it’s how we met), how it fits into your life and how it isn’t a race. So measured. So thoughtful. So perfect, given the nature of what you bring to your clients too.

I am still awash with ideas, but in a way I love and I no longer feel bound to action them all. That little para above where you explain that merry-go-round is spot on, they can be so addictively energizing. I think the genius and confidence comes from being easily able to decide which ones enhance your offer/biz and which need to be batted away, either for now or forever. The HHE podcast was an enhancing idea. There you go. Your filter works.

I am so delighted that your biz is now a year old and that you are so settled in and doing it your way. I shall continue to watch with interest and not a little pride since I was there at the birth. x

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. Get a chunky free sample and/or buy the book here Read My Book

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