My 43rd guest blogger is Karen Gilbert. I knew I had known K for a long time but I had forgotten it was as long ago as 2008 but I can remember that day as clearly as she can. Here she tells the story of how she has become a supremely competent and confident businesswoman, owner, director, shareholder, investor, buyer, seller, inventor, marketer, educator, perfumer and fragrant alchemist. She’s another Creator, can you tell? Here’s K:
My wonderful business coach, friend and colleague Judith Morgan is running a Blogfest to coincide with the launch of her book Your Biz Your Way and has invited a group of fellow entrepreneurs to contribute and share their stories. I jumped at the opportunity as she has been so instrumental in me discovering what my way really is. If you are in business already or thinking of taking the leap then I’d highly recommend you reading her book before you go any further.
For my whole life I’ve always wanted to do things my way which is probably why I never much enjoyed working for other people, especially in a corporate environment. In the 10 years and two “proper jobs” I’ve had in my life I learned loads, earned little and found that as soon as instructions, methods and rules were imposed that I didn’t agree with I started to feel physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually drained.
When I met Judith Morgan back in 2008 I spent most of our 30 minute 1 to 1 session in tears. I had a 5 year old business that was draining me physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually and I didn’t know what to do about it.
See a pattern here? I obviously didn’t. Isn’t it funny how we often think simply being our own boss will change things – it rarely does unless we really know what we want our life to look like first. Often we just carry the same old patterns and stories into our own business and create ourselves a job we can’t escape from.
My way back then was to do everything myself, multitask and juggle as many balls as possible hoping for the best. Pretending everything was ok on the outside whilst screaming in desperation on the inside ashamed of being a failure and not being able to hold it together. Things are so different now that it’s hard to remember who I was in 2008 but with Judith’s guidance it really didn’t take that long to make a shift.
I ignored the first piece of advice she gave me which was to close down my nearly bankrupt retail business – I just couldn’t do it. Possibly I was being stubborn and wanting to do things my way but I knew deep down I wasn’t meant to be drowning in debt – it was completely alien to me. Plus, pre business I’d been an epic manifestor so I knew I had to get my mojo back in order to turn it around.
I realised that lots of things about that business were not in my zone of genius. As an introvert spending 6 days a week with staff and customers plus the evening socialising it required burned me out really quickly. This was a huge and humbling lesson – you are not always the best person for the job! Luckily I had people already in the business that just needed me to let go, step away and give them more responsibility. It was scary at first but in focusing on my own energy and self-care I was able to see a way to turn things around and turn around it did.
Today, that business is profitable and relatively hands free leaving me to focus on my perfumery teaching and writing, something I originally started in 2010 to get myself back into a place of joy and flow but accidentally turned into another profitable business that I do my way.
I realised early on that although I loved teaching classes I didn’t want to make the same mistakes as before and land myself with another hectic business reliant on me working 24/7. Here are some of the things over the years that I’ve been told by various coaches/experts/marketers and subsequently ignored:
- Your niche is too small to make money
- You should have a studio/premises
- You need to do more live classes
- You should have a physical product line
- You need to follow a marketing funnel/formula and always upsell
- You need to send 3 emails a week to your list
- You need to keep hustling to make the sales
- You need to post 3 times a day on social media and run regular Facebook ads
- Forget low cost group classes – focus on high end 1 to 1 coaching
None of these things have ever held true for me or added to the success of my business. For some they might and that’s great but not me.
The things that have worked are:
- Only saying yes to things that feel good to me
- Giving excellent value and customer service
- Being authentic in my writing and not following a formula
- Being consistent in my content – 1 newsletter a week
- Focusing on the customers that are willing to invest in my services and not the bargain hunters looking for a cheap deal.
A huge part of doing business my way is making sure that I always tune in to my own inner guidance, manage my energy and keep my vibe high. I know that if I am out of alignment, unhappy or doing things I find draining, I become a crap magnet and things feel stuck.
Judith always reminds me of this when I fall off the high vibe wagon as we are all prone to do sometimes even if we know better.
I wasn’t exaggerating in that list of the things you’ve become, and I always tell everyone (when bragging about my tiny part in your success) that we began our relationship with you ignoring my advice on that tearful 2008 day and that you went on and turned that failing business around. Wow!
With us, it’s all about the vibe, as you say. If you are doing anything other than exuding top vibes, you don’t like it and it doesn’t work. You can get yourself out of that place mostly without my help these days but you are one of those (and we have another mutual friend who is the same) for whom my role is often as simple as to get you to see yourself and feel and radiate you at your absolute vibin’-high best and then it’s simply a matter of point and shoot. You leave the building and bump into someone and hey presto, you manifest what we were just co-creating.
Sometimes it is so fast the thing you want comes into your inbox DURING OUR CALL! You couldn’t make it up. You are the fastest manifestor I’ve ever known and your formula is simple.
- Do the work.
- Step away from the machine.
- Allow your heart’s desire to show up.
It happens when you pop to the Post Office, when you catch a train, when you go up to London to drink champagne at some swanky do and you are one of those who sends me emails and excited messages which are all “you’ll never guess what…” and of course, I do and I can, because you’ve done this over and over. The reverse is true (it always is) but we are going to gloss over that, ‘cos that’s precisely the point. Some feelings have to be honoured, for sure, just like your jet lag does too, but as you emailed me earlier without using these words, you can make magic when you are having a lovely time just pottering about your home practising extreme self-care post-trip. Extreme-self care. Pottering. There are those lovely vibes again which many would say aren’t work. But we know different.
If you could manufacture that, add a fragrance, bottle it and sell it, I wonder what we’d call it? Is that the very essence of your Fragrant Alchemy, I wonder?
)PS Gentle Reader, Karen doesn’t do this in her business but she did it for me. She created my own bespoke fragrance. What luxury! K likes a bit of luxury, who doesn’t?)