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mental health tips for small business owners

So throughout the week we’ve been sharing some tips on how we try our best to look after our mental health while doing this business thing. Now while we’re by no means experts in this field (and you should DEFINITELY go see one if you feel you need to. It’s really hard but it does help), this is something we’ve got personal experience with so we wanted to share some of our own strategies for staying sane (well, as much as possible anyway!)

Now this blog has taken me a while to write, because honestly, it’s damn hard to think about this stuff let alone talk about it. On the internet! But it needs to be said, so here goes.

 

Set boundaries. Seriously.

We’re all so accessible these days and it’s easy to be ‘on’ 24/7, but for us we know this just isn’t healthy. So we set really clear boundaries with all our clients around when our business hours are (ie. when their projects will be worked on and when we’re contactable).

This means we get to have a break at night and on weekends, and when we do come back we can be on our A-game. And you know what? None of them have ever had an issue with it. And if they did? Then they’re not our people anyway. Which brings us to our next point.

 

Get really clear on your ideal customer.

Okay, don’t judge, but when we first started out we weren’t actually 100% clear on this. We knew we wanted to help women in small business with their digital marketing, but we never set guidelines around the kind of values they should have to make sure we were working with people we are totally aligned with.

When we had our strategy session with Clare Wood Coach that’s when we really started to define this. Now we really know our ideal customer, and more importantly, we know how to spot those who aren’t. It’s at the point now where we can read an enquiry and spot the red flags of someone who might not be a good fit for us.

But 9 times out of 10 we get enquiries that make us go “heck yes!”, you’re exactly the kind of person we want to work with. Knowing your ideal customer and saying no to anyone who isn’t is a win-win for everyone.

 

Practice saying ‘no’.

Now I say ‘practice’ because it’s not as simple as just waking up one day and being able to say no to people. It’s HARD! Especially when you’re the kind of person who just genuinely wants to help everyone on the planet (guilty). BUT – you can practice, and slowly but surely, it does get easier over time.

The most important thing I’d want everyone to remember is that saying no is not the end of the world either. You might feel like the biggest pain for saying no to someone, but the majority of the time it’s not going to be a big deal to them at all. Once you see this, you’ll start to find it gets easier and easier.

Fun fact: As a kid I was always scared to take on new opportunities, but then I watched the movie Yes Man with Jim Carrey (I WISH I was joking, but I am not. Pls keep reading.) and then I went to the other extreme and started saying yes to just about anything that came my way.

Now in doing that I was able to get epic experience in my field early on, make amazing connections, and some $$ along the way – but lately it has started getting too much. And something always has to give. So now I’m working on finding that balance, and really weighing up if things are worth my time before I go all in.

 

Tell Imposter Syndrome to eff off.

If you’ve ever felt Imposter Syndrome sinking in (and if you say no, you’re either lying or you need to be our mentor), go make a folder on your desktop and name it your “I’m the sh*t” folder. Now every time you get a happy email from a client, or a raving review or any other kind of compliment or kudos – take a screenshot and put it in this folder.⁠

And next time that self-doubt hits? Take a look in that folder, and read through every little thing in there, until you feel that imposter syndrome go *poof*, faster than a fresh bottle of vino at 5pm on a Friday.⁠ Try it!⁠

 

Put it in perspective.

When you make a mistake, or something shitty happens, ask yourself this:⁠ Is this going to matter 5 minutes from now, 5 months from now or 5 years from now?⁠ Most of the time, it’s probably not going to matter in the long-term. This can be a good way to really put things in perspective.

Once you’ve done this, you can allocate an appropriate amount of time to processing it.⁠ And if it is something that will take more than 5 minutes to fix? Then you can examine what happened and think through what can be done to fix it or prevent it in the future. ⁠

 

Tune out negativity.

Now to clarify, we know not every interaction in life can be 100% positive (and nor should it be) we need people to challenge our ideas and give us constructive feedback. What we’re talking about here is negativity for negativity’s sake – and that is something that definitely serves no purpose!⁠ It’s something we all have to deal with from time to time (sadly) but we do have a few tips that we employ….⁠


1. Be careful who you let in your circle. This includes clients, colleagues, friends etc. None of us are 100% cheery and amazing 100% of the time, but some people just have a permanent bad attitude (and usually you can spot it from a mile away). Never be afraid to distance yourself from them wherever you can. ⁠

2. Ask yourself why that person is being negative. Most of the time, it is simply them acting on an insecurity. ⁠

Maybe they try to micromanage you – because someone else took away their sense of control.⁠ Maybe they troll your social media post – because they’re jealous of your awesome content.⁠ Maybe they fly off the handle when you say no to a discount – because they feel insecure about their finances.⁠

You never know what is going on in someone’s head when they say nasty things, so *try* not to take it personally. And if it’s someone close to you, maybe ask if they’re okay.⁠

 

Okay, this is all I have the energy to write for now, but I’m sure this is a topic we’ll revisit in the future, because it’s a constant journey and learning process. And hey, if we’ve developed all these little pearls of wisdom in 2.5 years, just think where we’ll be in a few more. Is this something you want to hear more about?

And a big, big thank you goes out to all our incredible clients, biz friends and everyone else in our lives that makes all this possible. You are seriously amazing.

Katy X

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