Hey beautiful being,
this feels like the first day of school all over again and I am so happy you’re on board!
My name is Yarrow – I create handmade WordPress websites and support people in building sustainable businesses that are aligned with their values and fun to work in.
In this first episode I am talking about my business stories, my values and my ideas for the podcast. Tune in to hear how 16 year old me wanted to be just like Carry Bradshaw and how I moved from publishing awkward poetry to starting a web design studio. I am also sharing how I worked full time while studying full time, how that lead to burn out and how I ended up living on a farm looking after five kids part time to pursue my dreams of becoming a chillionaire (someone who has a creative, peaceful life basically) before my Saturn return shook me big time and landed me right where I am today.
This is also a preview for the Embodied Business podcast – I am so excited about this new adventure and hope it will be a great resource for all of us.
Listen to the DIY Small Business Podcast
on Apple Podcast // Stitcher // Spotify
⋒ Hi, my name is Yarrow and I am your host.
My Embodied Business podcast explores what it means to build a small business with integrity, joy and anti capitalist values. I interview other small business owners and offer solo episodes in which I am answering questions around tech, strategy, more ethical marketing and creative livelihoods.
You can learn more about my web design, tech support, mentoring and community offerings at YarrowDigital.com
Sign up for my newsletter below if you'd like to hear from me about once a month! ⋒
Hey, my name is Yarrow and you’re listening to my super brand new DIY business magic podcast. So if you’re listening to this, you might know me from my other podcast Daydreaming Wolves, which I have really, really loved creating for you over the years. But this is something completely different. If you’ve been following me for a bed, you might also know that I’ve been running a web design and small online marketing agency in the last couple of years. And this is a total labour of love for me, I really am. So just so excited about the stuff that I get to do on a day to day basis. But I’m increasingly also asking questions about how this work can be sustainable in the long term, and how we can find kinder and more ethical and sustainable ways to trade with each other. So this is what this podcast is going to be about. I want to read to you the small kind of about blurb that I’ve been writing. And that might well change. But for now, that’s what I see as the attention for this podcast. And I want to share that with you. So the DIY business magic podcast is for freelancers and small business owners who care about sustainability and integrity as well as social and environmental justice. But talk about how businesses can create change and make space for us to live healthy, creative and intentional lives. And we will also explore how we can unlearn scarcity and competition, so that what we create will reflect our values. Sounds good. I think that sounds exciting. Cool. That’s it, I’ll tell you a little bit more about my business story in this first episode. And then I’ll also share what you can expect moving forward in terms of content, and schedule. And of course, I’m super open to your wishes as well. So if you don’t know me, this is who I am, at least a part of who I am. I’m a web designer. And I’m trying to become an ethical online marketing consultant. So I’ve been working in online marketing for more than a decade. And I’m asking myself at the moment, whether or not being an ethical online marketing consultant is even possible and what that can look like. So yeah, I don’t have all the answers yet. But I’m really excited to at least explore exploiters and yet go further in that direction. I merely create really intentional and easy to manage websites on WordPress, and I help small bit small businesses, with things like branding, tech integration, content and launch strategies, as well as social media. I really, really love that work, because I work with people that have similar ideas and values. And it’s just beautiful to see how having a professional website or a bit of a system in place, or social media can really make such a difference to someone’s more business and then in turn, really change your life. Even if that sounds cheesy. I also run a dado balls, which is a project all about plant medic and body Taro and radical creativity. There’s also a podcast under the same name. And I run a programme called the magic of embodiment. So yeah, I’m super lucky that I get to do these two really different things. And that means that my life is never boring, and that they work with all kinds of people, and that I get to really mainly play on the internet, if you’re honest. I run monthly and sometimes fortnightly free online workshops, and which people can just come together and ask questions. Half of them are about small business stuff, and like design and tech and social media. And the other half is more about self care and magic and ritual. And in the beginning, I thought it would be really important to keep these two businesses family separated. But over time, I’ve realised there’s actually a really big overlap between these two groups that are interested in this work. And so that’s exciting and cool, too. And I wonder where you’re falling on that spectrum if you’re listening to this. So I also offer online courses in the world of business. And as a do it yourself,
web design and branding course that I’m offering. And then there’s a programme that has the same name, also called DIY business magic. And that’s a business training really for, yeah, for people who are on a smaller budget, but really care about creating something cool. And underpinned that with kindness and sustainability and wanting to make their work accessible. And so that programme is available for a pledge of $11 on my Patreon, and it’s always growing. It has a different modules at the moment. And then there’s live workshops that kind of happen every month and go a little deeper and give people a chance to, on one hand, have this self study programme that’s evergreen that they can sign up for every time, any time and really do at their own pace. And then at the same time, you can show up for workshops and ask questions and have a bit of group accountability. So as if you’ve been in the US Line business world for a while, you’ll know that this is a very different business model than what conventionally has been done. And it’s been really interesting to me this year to kind of experiment with that and just do something very different and mix things up. So I’m offering all my programmes for a relatively small pledges on my Patreon, because I want to create a long term, mutually supportive relationship with the people in my community where I’m really hearing what they want to learn about, and creating content in a way that’s sustainable to me. And that also respects my energy levels and boundaries. And at the same time, people, you know, have accessible programmes that can really help them either bring their business to the next level, or start their business, or learn a tonne more about self care and magic are both, you know, cool. So now I want to tell you a little bit about my story and how this all came to be. So I started blogging as a teenager, that was really awkward. I had a MySpace account and a Tumblr. And then I started on WordPress eventually. And I was just writing about stuff that was on my mind. English is my first language. But I was pretty much from the beginning really keen to write in English, even though my English really wasn’t that good. But I’ll tell you the truth, I was watching Sex in the City a lot as a teenager to learn English. And I just really wanted to be like Harry Bradshaw, I wanted to be this forever single person living in a cool apartment. And sitting at my desk overlooking the street outside, and you know, working in fancy cafes, and having lots of nice tea, and having a creative life, mainly to myself. And in some ways, that’s still true. I really, you know, as I’m sitting at my desk right now, I’m overlooking Brighton in the south of England, as well as my garden, and my desk looks a tiny bit like the one that Carrie had. And my house is also pretty tiny. I think Carrie, and I actually not that similar in many, many ways. But it is fun to think about that. Yeah, that I’m sitting at a similar desk right now. And that that was kind of the root of my creative career, if you will. Anyway, so I was blogging as a teenager. And I think where that ties in with what I’m doing now is that very early in my life, I had a lot of experience with creating something that was weird, but putting it out there anyway. And I think that’s really served me well, in some ways. Because if I look at the way, my business website for web design looked at the very beginning, for example, I’m a bit embarrassed, it just really has been on a journey. You know, I taught myself all this stuff and things were very different than and by by blogging and being so active in my space, and publishing awkward poetry as a teenager, I just kind of build up this muscle of just trying it and doing it anyway and getting better over time. And getting over the embarrassment. So yeah, thanks my space that was really good. After school, I started working in e commerce companies and online marketing. I was initially a management assistant. And then later on became an HR manager. I started studying part time with the Open University in the UK, because that was, at least to me a sensible way of funding my studies at the time, I didn’t want to get into debt, but I didn’t have any family family money. And so I worked full time and then studied full time at the same time, as you can imagine, that was incredibly stressful.
Also, because full time actually didn’t mean 40 hours, it meant a lot more than that. And e commerce. And I was really young, you know, I really, really wanted to make this happen. And I didn’t listen to my body. I didn’t prioritise my health and my relationships and my joy. So I burnt out when I was 24, and was written off sake for quite some time. And then I really had to reconsider how I was going to finish my degree and take things slower. So I had at that point, I’ve been living in London and Berlin, and Amsterdam, but I moved back to Brighton in the UK to become a living or pair. for two and a half years, I lived on a farm near Brighton, and worked with the family part time. And then I finished my first degree, which was an open degree with the Open University and then eventually I started my master’s and creative medium. And I was super lucky with that I had funding from the German government. And I finished that when I was 28. So quite late compatibly I mean, depending on how you read that, but there’s been lots of different things that happen in the meantime, of course, so I’ve been working in ecommerce for about four or five years, I think. And then, as I was being a live in au pair, I also started freelancing as a writer for agencies and law Then I did copywriting and editing and translation work. And then after my MA in Creative Media, which was also, in the middle of my Saturn return, there was lots of other shit that was going down in my life that really, really, really shook me up and made me made me feel like wow, you know, what, what is all this for? Where’s all this going to go? And what do I really, really want at the end of the day, totally independent from what other other people are expecting for me. So Saturn return, I have my Ma, I have no money. I’m pretty bar. And I’ve experienced some grief and loss. And I’m just not in a super good space. But I feel like Okay, the next couple of years, I’m not going to be dating, I’m just going to focus on building a business for myself that will sustain me in the long term, and that will feel good. And that will mean that I don’t have to work 6070 hours each week, and live in a tiny, tiny room or a tiny apartment. So all of this started, when I was living in Berlin, I did a really big online business training at the beginning of 2015. And that gave me a tonne of clarity because I was still kind of freelancing as a writer, that’s how I was covering my rent at the time. And I knew I wanted to grow creatively, but I was just not super clear who my audience was going to be and what I was going to offer them. And so in that programme, I realised how much I love web design and how I head over time in the, in the previous 10 years made so many websites for my friends and my own projects, but I had never really had the confidence to see myself as a web designer. So I have this amazing Creative Media. But honestly, that didn’t teach me any practical skills, at least not in that area. So I dove really deep into teaching myself, I’ve wildly underpriced myself to build my portfolio to just kind of create these first couple of websites. And this one in particular that you can still see my provide for you right now that I charged 85 pounds for and worked two weeks on. So that was crazy. I would not recommend this approach at all. And I know it’s unlikely that many people will be able to afford this. I don’t know how I did it was effectively I was just not sleeping and doing a lot of freelance work at the same time. But anyway, so this is how I kind of built my first website three and a half years ago. And then yeah, I really went all in and decided that like, yes, web design is what I wanted to do. And I became clearer on the kind of people that I wanted to work with. And that’s how I kind of passed the first two years. And they were if I’m really honest, very much about survival about just finding new clients building my newsletter list figuring stuff out, I started teaching online courses about web design, about a year and a half in. But that was a very bumpy start my first courses honestly were in that grade. And I didn’t sell that well. But I was excited about offering something more affordable for people who couldn’t afford to work with me one on one. And that’s still something I’m really passionate about and why I’m now offering so many courses at pretty affordable rates. So yeah, the first two years were mainly pretty driven by survival instinct, sometimes by fear. There were definitely tonnes of anxiety and sleepless nights. And I’m so glad that I made it through it, I met amazing people.
My friends have been super supportive, and I just learned stuff as I went along. And then the last two and a half years, I feel like I’ve really been able to expand more. And to kind of relax into the way things are now, this is working, new clients are coming all as well. I get to play and experiment and do things I’m really passionate about. And I just am really beginning to trust that this is what I get to do with the rest of my life. And I’m so grateful. So of course things will always change. I might not offer web design in this form where the rest of my life but I hope I’ll always be a business owner because it is super, it’s a wild ride. For sure. One of the things I feel is really interesting about building a small business is that it could confront so many shadows in ourselves. There’s so much that will come up in the form of resistance to marketing yourself to speaking about what you’re offering, does resistance around who you want to be working with around charging money around putting a price tag on your time and energy around doing your own bookkeeping. Yeah, just lots of things. And I think, to me, it’s been really important to have a spiritual practice at the same time. To do a lot of self reflection with the Tarot, to learn about fog herbalism, so that I have ways of taking care of my body and feeling connected to nature, even though I spend a lot of time on my screen. Yeah, so I’m super glad and grateful that I have these two businesses. And we had to continuously learn in these two areas in my life. I, this year, about 10 months ago, we started a Patreon and been really happy and excited about this because it means that I have more sustainable and regular income now and I get to offer a tonne of free stuff. So as you’re listening to this, I now have two free podcasts with regular episodes, I get to pour a lot of energy into that I run the workshops at least once a month, I share a tonne of on Instagram, I have two blogs as well. And so there’s many ways that people can work with me even if they don’t have any budget. And that is because a lot of people have been chipping in and making pledges on the Patreon, which I’m super grateful for. And yeah, so my outlook for the next couple of years is I really want to learn even more about web design, I want to learn about trends about making things more sustainable. I want to teach more people how to create the insides and manage them well, because that’s cool and exciting. I definitely want to explore a lot more about what ethical marketing can look like and how we can trade with each other and fairer and kinder, and yeah, and more ethical and accessible ways. And I’m hoping that this podcast might create like a platform for all of us to explore these things a little bit more. I want to touch on my values as well. I’ve written down that alone, a couple of words that I want to acknowledge, I feel slightly awkward about this. And I feel like you know, these are just words for now. But they’re still important to me. So I want to share them here. And I hope that you know, running this podcast and developing it will give me a more embodied understanding of what they will mean when I lived them. So they are compassion, sustainability, kindness, generosity, collaboration, health, slowness, and seasonal living. In the podcast, I want to explore a sliding scales, tech solutions that are different, how to build a Patreon social media that actually feels good, which is interesting as well, PR that feels like telling your friend about something you’re excited about, and learning scarcity and reinventing marketing, as well as talking to people who feel the same. So the first couple of episodes will mainly be me talking to myself like this, sorry. But that’s just a couple of questions that have come up a lot in the work that I do with people. And I would love to create the minisodes, where I’m covering what I understand about these questions and sharing some insights and resources and stuff. And I think that’s Yeah, that’s going to happen every Monday, I think. And then when I’ve gone through this list of initial questions that kind of have at the back of my mind from people, I’ll start inviting people to the show and have interviews with people that have similar ideas and have busy businesses and in this way, and our poor sharing, so that would be quite exciting. If you know anyone who should be on the show, or if you have questions and email me anytime or message me on Instagram, I would totally love to hear from you. Yeah, I think that’s it for now. I’m
really excited. Thank you so, so much for listening. Something that would be really amazing as if you could leave a review and subscribe to the show because leaving reviews really mean that more people will find it and that would be super cool. Because then I don’t have to spend money on marketing and I can offer what I offer at lower prices so everyone wins. Yay. Okay, thank you so much. Have a beautiful day.