The Savvy Business Owner’s Guide to Hacking Ease in Biz
by Amy Everhart
I recently went to a conference for like-minded lady entrepreneurs and business owners, and by the end of the opening session, I was overwhelmed by a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was surrounded by go-getters, lady CEOs and founders, and women who were, in general, making things happen. The sinking feeling didn’t have the dense weight of imposter syndrome, exactly. Instead, it had the distinct flavor of envy.
I marveled at these strange creatures and wondered,
“How do they have everything so figured out? And how do their businesses seem so effortless?”
You may know the type: the socially conscious entrepreneur who not only runs her business, but also serves on foundation boards and at her kid’s school, to which she regularly brings homemade gluten-free baked goods while sporting perfect hair and chic, effortless outfits that seem to be made for her. What is her secret? How does this perfectly-coifed superwoman manage to make the life of a female business owner look so…well, easy?
After chatting with a few of these ladies, I learned that appearances can be deceiving, and that if running your business currently feels more like trying to drink from a fire hose than being in a simple, easy flow, then you are not alone. Take a moment, close your eyes, and think back to the last time things felt really easy in your business…simple…flowing. Reconnect to what it felt like when everything seemed to be breaking your way. While not every moment of every day is going to feel flowing (especially when you’re growing), shouldn’t the overall quality of your business life feel a little closer to that? The good news is that there are a few things you can do to hack your ease and simplify your business life in general.
When it’s not easy, there are three basic reasons why.
Reason #1: You are out of alignment with your business values and your big-picture mission.
It is extremely tempting to get caught up in the day-to-day of running things, solving problems, and making life work, but if you’re not taking time to reconnect to what it is that started you down this path in the first place, it’s easy to lose sight of the point of it all. And nothing steals motivation, productivity, and ease quite like meaninglessness and disconnection.
Easy Tweak: Take one small step toward realigning your current business focus with why you started it in the first place. Chances are, you didn’t start a business with the single goal of making as much money as possible. Money is a part of your mission, but it isn’t the complete picture. The complete picture is more about the problem you’re solving and the lifestyle you’re creating for yourself, your family, and your community. If your business was completely aligned with your values and big picture, what commitments or projects would you need to let go of? What projects would you need to start?
Reason #2: Your systems aren’t appropriately supportive for your level.
Systems make the world go ‘round. At least the business world. You can’t do it alone, and you can’t do it without support appropriate to your level. The accounting software you used when the biz consisted of you, a few vendors, and a virtual assistant simply isn’t going to cut it for a thriving start-up of 40 employees. You may be able to survive on outdated systems, but you can’t thrive, and you can’t grow to the next level.
Easy Tweak: Consciously evaluate where you’ve outgrown your systems and make the choice to uplevel. This one can be tough one because changing and upleveling your systems can feel like a huge risk or worse: another project added to your to-do list. Take a look at what’s really not working in your business life. Does your conversion rate suck? Perhaps your copy is attracting the wrong types of clients, or maybe your childcare situation doesn’t give you enough time to focus. Figure out what isn’t working for you and analyze what systems are in place for that specific piece. Where do you need to upgrade, uplevel, tweak, or enlist help?
Reason #3: You aren’t creating enough mental white space in your business.
It’s really tough to run and grow a business when your brain (and your calendar) are too full. Stress kills creativity, and many of us are walking around chronically stressed out by the sheer number of responsibilities, deadlines, and goals that occupy the business owner’s brain.
Easy Tweak: Focus on getting your needs met first. At my most overwhelmed, I had one strategy for feeling better: work harder. I dived deeper into the overwhelm, convinced that if I just worked every night and weekend, I could somehow clear the deck and get to take a break.
Spoiler alert: it didn’t work that way. Responsibilities and to-do lists have a way of expanding, and the best way to break the cycle is to actually take a break. Mentally put the business down for a full 24 hours and focus on finding your own freedom. Sleep in or have a long lunch with friends. Go to yoga. Head to a museum or take a nature hike. It’s impossible to deliver quality output without sufficient input, and you are your biggest resource. Protect your energy and time accordingly. What would you be able to do if you were rested, healthy, and centered more often?
Just because entrepreneurship and business ownership can be hard doesn’t mean that it has to be.
Amy is a certified coach for women who want to make a difference with their work, but really, she’s in the business of helping women author of their own stories. She’s an expert on clarity, time management, career/soul alignment, and making drinks with Grand
Marnier. Her current all-consuming passions include Rupaul, indie music, empty journals, and the ripple effect women’s empowerment has on the world. www.amyeverhartcoaching.com