Welcome back! I am super happy to bring you another Embodied Business solo episode about generosity and boundaries in business. In this one I am sharing:

  • How I stopped saying yes to everything and kept my work accessible at the same time
  • Why I believe sharing your skills is totally safe and totally beautiful
  • How I manage to offer free content year round rather than just when I have something to sell
  • How we can rethink funnels
  • How I create win-win situations that don’t deplete me
  • What boundaries I draw around my work and energy

I hope this is useful to you! I want to say that this is definitely not the only way to do things and also that I hope you don’t feel any pressure to make free stuff available too. We’re all in different spaces and my intention is just to share what works for me.

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⋒ Hi, my name is Yarrow.

My Embodied Business podcast explores what it means to build a livelihood with integrity, joy and anti capitalist values. I offer practical guidance on tech, strategy, ethical marketing, creativity and money and interview other small business owners who do things their own way.

You can learn more about my work, listen to other episodes or join my community at PinkWellStudio.com

You can also sign up for my newsletter - I offer free monthly Spark Sessions and share resources, ideas & new episodes about once per month over on Substack

Transcript

Hey, everyone, my name is Yarrow and you’re listening to the DIY business magic podcast. Welcome back. I hope you’re having a beautiful start to your week. And I’m excited to share another episode on generosity and boundaries in business with you. It’s going to be another shorter solo episode, which I think it’s great to kind of warm us up with the podcast and for us to get to know each other. But in the future, I’m also really excited to share interviews with you. So before we get into things, there’s a couple of announcements. The first and probably most exciting one is that I’m running a free online workshop on business planning for 2019 on December 4, and I’m doing this because it’s really important to me to bring like minded people together, and to find ways in which we can set goals that feel authentic and doable and sustainable before it is any risk that we get swept up and January, wildness around goal setting and scarcity and competition and dating, and all that bullshit that really no one needs. So let’s get together and do some journaling. There’ll be some storytelling, you can ask me anything to share a tonne of tools and techniques that I’m utilising and will strategize in a way that feels good. So I’m really excited to see you there. And I’ll link to that in the show notes. This workshop is going to be a warm up for the live version of the DIY business magic programme that I’m running in January. So quick recap. The DIY business medic programme is an evergreen self study programme. Meaning that you can sign up any time and you can study at your own pace. And it teaches you really anything well absolutely anything that you everything that you need to know, to start a small business. I’m teaching you a lot of stuff around mindset. There’s a lot of journaling, the self care for entrepreneurs, the thoroughbreds, but there’s also really technical stuff. So like screenshare videos in which I’m showing you how I’m using tools for social media, how I’m building my websites, how I’m organising myself, how I’m working on building my newsletter, and all these different things, and some people find it super helpful, I really loved the feedback I’ve received so far. And I’m really proud that I’m able to offer it as at such a low cost. So the suggested pledge is $11 on my Patreon, which gives you access to all my programmes, including the business one, but then also the web design and branding one, as well as the magic of embodiment, which is a beautiful year long programme, all about fog, herbalism and Tarot and ritual. So yeah, this is, like I said, usually a self study programme. And then people get access to me through the monthly live online workshops that I’m running. And that’s a space where we create a sense of community and accountability, and also hold space for our questions. And in January, I’m going to do a live one of this programme, meaning that every other week, we’ll meet on zoom, which is a really cool community building online platform for workshops where we’re going deeper into each of the eight different modules. So there’s more accountability and more momentum, everyone is beginning to year together. And I really think that it’s going to be great community, the people in the programme are incredible. And I’m currently working on creating more of a forum for people to connect on, teachable where the course is hosted. So there’s also going to be a directory of people so that we can support each other, which I think is really beautiful important as well. So again, that’s also going to be available for everyone who pledges $11 or more on Patreon. And the pace is going to be medium, like there will be excitement. But I think fortnightly workshops are just kind of ride, you’ve got two weeks to work through each module. There’s no rush, you can take all year, but you can also kind of benefit from the group momentum, and use the first four months of the year to release that with super strong intentions and really good systems in place. So yeah, I’ll link to that again to the show notes. And I’ll finally start talking about generosity and boundaries and business now array. Thank you so much for listening. So I want
to talk about this because I really think that having solid boundaries. And also a sense of being able to be generous is a really key aspect of building a sustainable business. So when I was starting out almost four years ago, I used to say absolutely say yes to absolutely everything because I needed to. I had no savings and no regular income. And I knew I really wanted to make this book design stuff work for myself. And so in the first couple of months, I just needed to build a portfolio and the first commercial project A website I created for someone took me about two weeks to make and I tried to add five pounds for it. So with a totally underpriced myself. And while that was the right thing to do at the time, because I didn’t have any connections or an existing portfolio, I really had to help other people do not have to go through that process in the future. And I think as we think about pricing, and boundaries, and generosity, there’s a tonne of different things that can come up for all of us. If you’re listening to this, most likely, you are interested in things like accessibility, and social justice and sustainability. So it can be really heartbreaking to come to a place where you’re feeling drained, and you’re lacking energy for things that you care about. And you’re noticing that you might have to charge more for what you’re offering in order to honour your own limits and boundaries. That’s definitely a place I’ve been in. And one of the things that I find really helpful is to remember all the different ways that the internet enables me to be generous with my time with a large amount of people without depleting myself. So to give you an a more practical example, I in the first couple of years, well, I actually still do this, and I really enjoy being able to do it. But anyway, I increased my prices over the last couple of years. And I also offer a couple of sliding scales back to our web design project a year for people that could otherwise not afford to work with me. And I was pretty overwhelmed in the beginning because I didn’t have enough income from paid work to justify doing that. And also always receiving all these requests from friends or friends who were asking me if I could help them. And I just couldn’t say yes to all of those. And so the online courses that I started teaching two and a half years ago really came out of that desire of not wanting to say no all the time, but also feeling really tired. So the first course I ran was a DIY WordPress web design course. It’s still available. It’s it’s been updated last year. And it teaches you everything you need to know to create your own WordPress site. So I wanted to create a win win situation, I wanted to be able to give everyone who asked me something without it taking a lot of time on my end. So I created and recorded this course once. And then whenever someone came away who didn’t have a budget, I could just give them free access to the course. And in the process. I also found some paying clients for this course who were on a smaller budget and really grateful to have all the resources in one place to teach themselves how to do it. So yeah, that was really great. And it’s something that I really recommend considering if you feel a similar struggle around your own pricing and wanting to keep your work accessible. Other ways or other things that I would offer you to keep in mind if if this was boy, if pricing or your time is bringing up anxiety is that there’s so many beautiful ways in which he can share free stuff or skills or information or resources. So podcasting, of course, is one way of doing that. And I’ll record a whole episode about how I got into podcasting and what I recommend people check out. But you can also blog and there’s a tonne that you can do on social media. So again, I think this is a process of figuring out what kind of offering feel easy to create for you. And what you can give generously without feeling depleted at the end of it. So for me, for example, podcasting feels pretty easy. I love just sitting down with my microphone, but I find creating live content a lot harder. So I love my webinars. And because I feel some sense of intimacy with the people showing up, I can prepare on my end, I like zoom as a space. But I don’t tend to do a lot of live content on social media. So you know, lots of people do Facebook Lives or Instagram lives. Just find that more in writing using for some for some reason. I know that about myself. And I just respect that and I you know, offer offer different things in other spaces. And that feels good to me.
But yeah, sharing skills is really important. And it’s just about finding a way that makes sense to you. Another example that I wanted to give you an an area where I kind of wanted to be generous and needed to find a way to have boundaries around that is sharing skills with clients. So pretty much right from the beginning I used to or and still do. I always teach my clients at the end of a web design project, how they can update and maintain and edit their own site. And I think that’s really important and I also feel like it is a feminist issue because I hear from kinds over and over Gan who worked with men and tag who kind of locked them out of downside, or didn’t properly explain to them, what would happen to decide in the future or give or didn’t give them access to tools to edit and maintain it. So many people, especially women came to me, after getting stuck in a situation where they were kind of tied to someone in particular, to maintain their worksite. And so I, when this first came up for me, I made this decision to really just give people all the access, make sure that they really own their side. So they’re signing up for their own hosting account to have access to the domain, to know how their work website works. And even if you know, that might not know all the details that they might not be super interested in an emergency, they know where to look, and they know how to make changes. And that’s really important to me. And lots of people used to warn me about this and say, you know, it does not really make sense for you business wise, because you could just be charging these people, ongoing fees for website maintenance. And then, you know, you got our regular income. And I decided to against that, because, well, for obvious reasons that I just described to you. I thought people needed to know how they can do themselves. And I also found that this was a big reason for why so many people recommended me, and why my business grew mainly through word of mouth in the first couple of years. Because that was a new experience for people. Many folks who had hired someone in the area of Tiger design had never been told, you know, that they can do it themselves. And they found that cool. And so they told other people were like, Hey, I work with this web designer. And their website looks great. But I also know how to manage it myself. So yeah, that’s another example of, you know, generosity, creating a win win situation for everyone involved. Okay, just looking back at my list, I made some notes. Oh, yeah. So another example I wanted to give to you was the monthly workshops that I’m running. So if you’ve been in the online marketing world for a while, you might know of a concept that’s called a funnel. So traditionally, or, you know, is there any,
is there anything online that can be called a tradition, I don’t know. But anyway, more conventionally, a funnel would be something where you are asked to sign up for some kind of free gift. So that could be a workshop or a download on audio, or many cores, or a list of resources, there’s so many different options. And then you’re kind of on someone’s list, and you receive a nurture sequence that gives you more information, it might tell you the story of that business you got involved with. And it might prompt you to engage on social media, for example, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I think that free offerings are a great way to share skills, like I said, and also to give people a chance to get to know your work before they commit to spending any money. And if you have the right system in place, this really doesn’t have to be hired in any way. You know, it’s not like you have to individually send out PDF downloads to each and every one who signs up. And I’ll talk about systems till the cows come home if you like. So, do hit me up if you have any questions around that. So anyway, this is conventionally what a funnel looks like. And it will then eventually lead into a paid programme or product or service that people want to get you to buy. And like I said, Nothing wrong, makes total sense. But what I notice is that it feels really nice to offer free stuff, not within the framework of a funnel, where people are being led specifically to buy something right away. So what feels really good to me at this point in my business is to really sit with this idea that this is the free stuff, anyone can sign up for it. The people that will be in the right place and have the budget and the desire to work with me in a deeper way will spend money or buy something or become a Patreon. And it is 100% cool for everyone else to not do that. Because, you know, it isn’t right for everyone at this time to do an online course or join a group programme or whatever. And, and I think this is maybe this sounds a bit far out. But I think there’s a difference in the energetic approach. And that has become really important to me over time. And I also noticed that sometimes when there’s a clear pattern where we’re not hearing for someone for a month and month, there’s no newsletter, there’s little engagement on social media, and then suddenly when there’s something to sell, we’re we’re being offered free stuff. I think that I 100% understand that it’s really difficult to come up with free stuff all A time, and you know that there’s so much work behind the scenes that many people don’t see. So it is difficult. And so I understand that people often only offer free stuff when they have something to sell. But at the same time, I think there’s really beautiful elements to building a community long term, and to not think only about conversion rates, and what we can sell and how, but to see this as a long game, because that’s really yeah, that’s really what what makes a business sustainable to be in it for the long run. And that requires a lot of resilience and a lot of community that has your back. And I think generosity is the ground on which we can build that. Um, oh, yeah. Another example in which in which generosity has worked for me about in which I also needed to find boundaries. So in the beginning, I was often spending a lot of time a couple of times a week in Facebook groups. And I would just search for questions around tech and design. And then I would answer them and share resources. And I wouldn’t link straight to my work. But I found that many people found my answers useful, and then they go went in to check my profit out. And some of them then got in touch and hired me. And I think that’s a great way again, to create a win win situation, there’ll be a tonne of people who just get an expert to answer their questions for free, which is great. And then they’ll also be a lot of exposure for you. And you’ll get to find new clients that might want to work with you.
However, a boundary that I needed to set around that, for example, was that I really don’t want to hang out on Facebook all the time. And I don’t encourage people. Well, in fact, I actually actively discourage people from messaging me on Facebook, because I think it’s not the right place for me to talk about business stuff. So I’m happy to talk about this in groups. at specific times, during the week, definitely not every day. But usually the best way to get in touch with me or our business staff is to send me an email, and then I can, you know, decide how I want to work with my inbox. And that feels good to me. So I also want to talk about some boundaries that I drew around things that I’m offering. And, and also, by the way, I really don’t want to make it sound like I’m some kind of Saint who’s offering free stuff all the time. I am also someone who needs to make a living, I’m asking for support, you know, I talk about my patreon a lot, I really appreciate that support. And I don’t expect anyone to, you know, do something similar or find that this is the right way for them to do it. All I want to do with this episode is to share how I found ways to be generous while also having good boundaries. And this could totally look like something completely different for you. And that’s totally fine as well. But it is all about sharing, you know, tools and approaches. And that’s what I’m excited about. So anyway, here are some boundaries that I’ve put in place for myself, I don’t do late night or weekend ad hoc work. So lots of people that I work with, and I can put on a completely different time zone. I’m in the UK currently, and lots of my clients are in the Americas. And that means that when it’s afternoon for them, it’s already late night for me. So I’m communicating to them that they can always expect to hear from me within 24 to 48 hours. But I’m not going to get on on critical jobs in the evening or at the weekend, because that’s my downtime. And I need to be off the screen as much as possible. I also don’t answer emails over the weekend, and I have a fixed schedule for calls. So I have an acuity account, which is really helpful. It means that I don’t email back and forth around scheduling, I just send people that link. And then within acuity, I, I block specific times in the week for calls. And those are the only times that people can book in. So example I’m not taking calls on Monday morning, because no way I want to start my week super gently and you know, get to get some time on my cell with my dog to plan and, and arrive in the space. And and that feels good to me. I also don’t run Facebook groups anymore. I used to be quite into them. And I ran one of them successfully with that with about 500 members. And that was a space in which I was sharing tech and design resources and I was answering questions. But I found that actually it was draining quite a lot of my energy to be in the space and answer questions. And I found that I was feeling quite a bit of pressure to be very present every day and to answer questions right away. And at the same time, I wasn’t feeling that I was building community because people increasingly feel like Facebook is a very distracting space is not necessarily in my experience a space where deep conversations are being had or where we form very authentic or even intimate relationships with people that we meet, I find podcasts, interviews, or webinars much better for that. So I let go of the tubes that I had I and I also decided not to be on Twitter anymore. I had built my Twitter account to 4000 followers. But again, I found that I was not using it. And it didn’t look good to have a space where, you know, that was pretty data, there was just not a lot going on there. And I found that the kinds of conversations I wanted to have didn’t really have a space on Twitter, because it’s such a fast paced environment. And I know it works for a lot of people. And that’s amazing. It just didn’t work for me. So I let it go. And I’m not, you know, I’m not surrendering to the pressure to be everywhere all the time. And then finally, I don’t promote products or services that I’m not using myself. And again, I’ll have a whole episode about affiliate marketing and how I feel about that in the future. So I think it’s important to talk about as well, oh, and then one last thing, which is probably the most important thing is regardless of how many hours of work that week, I will take time off if I need to. And that is to me about getting away from the mindset that only a 40 plus hour week is an adequate a full time working week, whatever that’s meant to mean. And I really just want to unlearn measuring my productivity or my worth as a person that way.
And so yeah, yay for being generous, yay for having boundaries. I hope that makes sense for you in some way. And I hope that it just kind of gave you a glimpse behind the scenes of how I’m navigating the staff. And as always, if you have any questions at all, I would really love to hear from you. And I would totally appreciate your Patreon support, or just leaving a review and sharing the podcast if you like it. Thank you so much.

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