Hey folks,

I have a new episode on failure for you <3 I’ve been thinking a lot about being real on the internet and how important it is to learn from our mistakes, so I wanted to share some of the stupid things I’ve done, awkwardly.

Tune in to hear me talk about:

  • The magic website time machine and how it can make you feel better
  • Common mistakes I’ve made that are sometimes unavoidable but also super valuable
  • Tools that can help you get to a place where you can stop comparing yourself and value the mistakes you’ve made as valuable lessons.


Listen to the Embodied Business Podcast

on Apple Podcast // Spotify


⋒ 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


Hey, everyone, welcome back to the DIY small business podcast, I want to talk to you today about working with mistakes and contractions in business. So, yeah, it’s a big topic. I really love doing some interviews in the last few weeks. But I also want to do some solo episodes again, where I’m just talking about my experience, the things I observe, and the learning that I would like to pass on. So today, I’ll be sharing a whole list of mistakes that I’ve made in the past. And I’m also sharing about my way of kind of reframing them, learning from them, and most importantly, integrating the information that I received from those mistakes. So yeah, if you’re feeling in a spot where you are unsure, or you feel like you are making mistakes, I hope this will be a beautiful encouraging episode to listen to. Before we go there, I want to just share a few things that are new in my business. The season of radical love life round is always almost coming to an end with a 33 day journey programme where we are writing about our experience of love with ourselves so that people and community, it’s just really beautiful. You can still do it, you can just kind of join anytime you’re ready by becoming a Patreon. The other thing that I’m offering that I’m also excited about is a new life business workshop series, which starts on June 13. So some of you will remember that at the beginning of the year, I ran a live round of the DIY Small Business School, which is my biggest programme where I’m teaching you everything from pricing to packaging, to thinking about branding, and design and social media and software systems, and getting organised and bookkeeping. So it’s a really comprehensive business course with a community on mighty networks. And you can take part in that for a pledge of $11 on my Patreon. And it also has had some life components, because I think it’s really important that we get together as a community, and learn from each other and ask questions and also give each other a little bit of gentle accountability. So the next live part of this offering, which is also available to all patrons at all levels, is this series of workshops that starting mid June. And it’s mainly going to be about creating focused content. And really getting organised around that sort of workshop, the first workshop is going to be all about developing or developing a long term content strategy. Because this is the thing, I get the most questions around at the moment. So we’re going to talk about identifying themes that are relevant to your heart and your work. We’re going to talk about getting organised, having boundaries, and giving yourself social media breaks, batching content, automating things and so forth. The second workshop on June 24, is going to be about podcasting, blogging, and collaboration as an alternative to this social media hustle, because I know so many of us are really feeling exhausted sometimes around this pressure to always show up and always pose and always be there with good answers. And also about the algorithms that are current constantly changing. And it’s just really hard sometimes to stay on top of that, I think. So I’m offering this workshop to talk about alternatives, I really want to think about creative collaborations, I will share how I started podcasting and blogging, and how you can do the same. The third workshop on July 4 is going to be about finding your voice and telling your story which I think is also really important and interesting. So we’re going to talk about authenticity boundaries, while ability privacy, and communicating with people that can and creating these spaces that feel really caring as well. And then the last workshop in this series will be July 16. All about getting organised and loving spreadsheets because I fucking love spreadsheets like if no one’s business, I loved him so much, just yet one should. So I’m going to share a whole range of
birth spreadsheets that I use to run my business and to plan things and strategize and Daydream for the future. And I hope they’ll be serving you as well. So I will also talk to you about how you can integrate them into your own life, how they can be useful and how maybe you can change your perception of them. If you’re someone who is kind of bored and annoyed with them. I totally feel you I used to be that person. Now. I love them. And I want to talk about that. Yeah. So you can take part by becoming a patron at any level. So you can pledge $3 to get access to those four workshops, you can cancel that Any time, if you do want to do the DIY small business school as well, you can pledge $11. So yeah, thank you so much for your support. And now we’re going to talk about failing, yay. So, where to even begin. So I think the first thing that I want to say about thinking about contractions in business and making mistakes, and a positive way is that it’s really, really important to first celebrate your wins. Because when you’re nurturing your confidence and self esteem, with a steady and gentle reminder of all the beautiful things that you have already achieved, it’s going to be way easier to engage with your mistakes in a constructive way. And there’s a couple of practical things that I love doing with that. So the first thing is, of course, to ask for feedback, especially if you feel you’ve done a good job, just ask if people can get you write you a testimonial, if they have any feedback that you could take in. And the what I would also invite you to do is to have a feedback folder. So I have one, in my email account where I’m collecting emails or screenshots of direct messages or comments that I got that were really heartfelt and beautiful. And when I’m feeling a little bit down or unsure about myself, I just revisit that folder. And that’s incredibly helpful. And then also, I think journaling around success can be helpful, so to really think authentically about what you’re proud of, that may or may not be independent from other people’s opinions. So I think it’s easy to say, or, you know, just do your own thing. But sometimes we are proud of people of the things that other people have praised us for. And that is, I think, also totally valid.
The next thing that I would want to offer you before you start thinking about mistakes and protections is to really think about what do you need in your business in order to feel safe, because I think starting a business or any creative project is such a huge investment adventure in itself, it’s a really brave and courage courageous thing to do. And I think where a lot of anxiety comes from, for so many of us is the fact that we don’t actually know exactly what we need in order to feel safe. And that could be about money, it could be writing down the minimum amount that you need each month in order to feel safe. But it could also be stuff like, I need to be able once a month to sit down with someone in a similar position and really feel heard, which might mean that you want to create a an informal mastermind. Or maybe, in order to feel safe, you need to know that you can always take days off, or give yourself a break. And so maybe that’s something that you very consciously and intentionally want to build in to your business model. So this could be so many different things. And I don’t want to be prescriptive here. But I think that’s a really good question to ask before you go anywhere. And then one more prep step, and I’m promod, then we’ll get to the meat of the things is to work with your jealousy. So I think in the age of social media, we always are tempted to compare ourselves to others in some ways. And some of us are really good at stepping away from that some of us need a little bit of help. All of that I think is totally fine and totally human. But just kind of tried to be intentional. And notice when you’re feeling jealous, and when you’re comparing yourself. And when you’re just feeling this like slight thing in your tummy. We’re like, Oh, this is something I really want for myself, I think there can be so much valuable information in jealousy, if we work with it constructively. And another funny tool that I want to share on that note is the website time machine. So if you Google website Time Machine, you’ll find a tool where you can type in someone’s website and see what it looked like a year or three years from now. And that is definitely not about shaming anyone. It is about understanding that we’re all on a journey. And that what it might look like today, with all this success that you perceive you may or may never have. Could have been totally different a few years from now. And I think that’s so important to remember that we all started somewhere. And that that summary, very likely was not perfect or beautiful or even anything. Anything nearly as good as what it is today. I’ve had some really crappy web websites. I’ll leave it there. Look it up if you want to. And yeah, I’m not proud of them. But that’s definitely been part of my journey. And I think that’s refreshing to remember sometimes. So now I want to tie you in Little bit more about the mistakes I’ve made and why I think they’ve been so important for me in my business. And for me to get to where I am now. So I started working when I was 11. And I was an incredibly anxious and insecure teenager, I really wanted independence and stability. And I wanted to experience something outside of school because I really was not feeling I was fitting in in that environment. So I started working. And my first few jobs were really age inappropriate in a way, my first job was working in an ad agency. That was before the big crash of the internet bubble. And so they kind of foolishly I don’t know why took on an 11 year old to do some admin for them. And that’s what I did. And it was really interesting, I learned a lot. And then I went to do other jobs, like I worked at a hairdresser, I was a babysitter. I worked in a restaurant A times, which was incredibly, incredibly stressful and really not suitable for my nature, I would say. But anyway, it did those jobs and really perceive in a way as a mistake now, but I can have compassion with is that I spent all my money on clothes, because I was so insecure and really wanted to fit in and look like everyone else. And when I look back now, there was a specific point around my 11th birthday, where I really, really lost touch with myself. I remember that on my 11th birthday,
I spent a tiny bit of money that I was giving as a present on books, because I loved books, I was a hardcore into Word, I wanted to be home, learning about self development with my books. And I like my library catalogue as well. But on my 12th birthday, that has really shifted, I was suddenly working, making my own money and buying crappy things that I didn’t really enjoy wearing. Like, I’m someone who really only likes natural fabrics, or my skin. And I was wearing polyester all the time, because I thought that was the cool thing to do. So man, that’s a bummer, I think. And I think the reason I’m telling this is that I was putting energy out trying something, you know, trying to make something happen for myself. But I was really out of touch with my desire in the first place. So that I think is such an important first step for any small business owner, to really get in touch with why you want to do this, and to make sure that that’s an authentic desire that’s going to serve you in the long term. And that goes beyond just wanting to wear what everyone else is wearing. So that’s a long, long way long ago was fake. But I feel that I’m still living with the lesson from that and that have integrated that into my life in some way. Other more recent mistakes that I can name was three years ago, I launched a my first course on web design and branding. He was in gumroad at a time and it looked very, very different to what it is today. And I sold a couple of spots, but I basically spent way more money on the production than I ever made back on that course. So that could easily also be perceived as a mistake. But I feel that that was incredibly important for me to a understand that I really love teaching and that I’m really passionate about what I’m teaching, and be that it’s worth investing in good software to create good, easy to navigate spaces that are fairly accessible. And that really nurture community. I fucking love being a mighty networks now. But that a lot of the other stuff that I spent money on at the time really was just vanity. So for example, I didn’t really shoot at home those videos because I just had very low space, the lighting wasn’t good. So I heard a hotel room that looked professional to me. And so this is why I shot and it was really difficult because I had it for only 24 hours and there was so much pressure in getting all these videos done. And the videos that are now offering my courses are all done at home, you can see that I’m way more comfortable. The point is that I’m getting the message across like I will definitely update them as the summer evolves because things change I have new perspectives. Maybe I can create better lighting, I don’t know. But But the point is that I don’t really need to be in a hotel room for you to really get what I’m trying to say. And so this is again I think something around proud he’s and feeling that I get to be myself and that that’s enough that I’ve learned them and love. Another really common mistake that I feel many of us are making are underpricing our work and then feeling resentful. So I can name a couple of specific times who have done that. Were in the first few years of my businesses, I was maybe feeling a bit desperate for the next client, I didn’t have anything booked. And I pitched a price that was under the value of my work, which I think is such a complex and impossible concept in itself anyway, because it’s really hard to actually say, what is anything ever worth, you know, but but just, you know, just to say I understand the flow of this concept. But also, the reality was that I was quoting less than I needed and wanted to make, and it made me feel resentful. And I still had to show up and do a really good job. And, you know, the murder what I had offered, and it just taught me so much about valuing my own time and being able to communicate something that’s sometimes difficult and, and awkward to communicate, which is pricing. But again, something so important to learn. And I’m just naming all these mistakes and the things that I’ve learned from them, because I want you to feel that you’re not alone with these mistakes, and that they are actually incredibly valuable.
The next thing I think, which is more a theme than a specific mistake, is comparing myself and adopting other people’s ideas of who says, I don’t, I think that’s something that we all do, especially at the beginning. It’s incredibly hard not to do that. And it is quite an awakening to create arise where you’ve been kind of out of touch with what you really wanted yourself. But again, such a beautiful opportunity to shift and learn what can work better for you. Another example is overbooking myself and learning my limits, and sometimes the really, really hard way. So just like taking on too much work, making promises for deadlines that were incredibly hard to keep. And I was someone who’s, who has a really, really difficult time not meeting deadlines. And in a way, I’m proud, I am reliable, that’s important to me. I hardly ever cancel anything. I will work weekends and evenings if I have to. And this really only in the last four years have been a few deadlines that I have met. But but at the same time that can be bad for my health. And it’s not good for my creativity, it’s not sustainable. And I think overbooking yourself out of anxiety that there might not be enough in the future, if you don’t take this work is really difficult as well as something really positive to become aware of. Finally, I’ll say another mistake I’ve often made is not communicating my boundaries clearly enough. And finding myself in situations where and an audience or a client or really anyone felt entitled to something I wasn’t prepared to give. So that could be time or information or energy. That just wasn’t part of the contract, but wasn’t specifically spelled out that that was not the case. And luckily, that’s not something that has happened in a really long time. Because I have become better at really communicating what I’m offering what I’m not. But again, I think that is a valuable mistake to make in the beginning. I also want to share something that I needed a few months to talk about. Because I wanted to show about it when I wasn’t really in this experience anymore. So in February and March this year, I’m recording this in 2018. I had a bit of a difficult time in my private life. And I don’t want to go too deep into the details of that. disassembly is really difficult. There are different different problems coming from at me from different angles. And I was feeling quite overwhelmed. was also the end of winter in the UK, which is a time that’s often quite physically depleting. There’s not enough daylight. You know, like winter is difficult, I think but Christmas at least I go home for the holidays. It’s all very exciting. That’s my birthday, November, my sister’s birthday in December. So I feel like this is festive period. But then there’s kind of this dip of like, Oh shit, it’s just cold now, but not even in an exciting way. And I also felt like a particularly dark winter in the UK. So anyway, I was feeling just not very creative if I’m honest. And I went quiet on social media a bit. And I there was a period where I wasn’t really podcasting very much I was kind of doing the bare minimum in terms of creative output. I was still working with my clients and I was meeting my deadlines. I was doing my job, but I was just not able to do anything that wasn’t essential for a couple of weeks or months. And I noticed that my patreon contracted for the first time. So I’ve had it for almost a year and a half now. And it’s been such a beautiful journey. I learned so much from it. And there’s a separate episode about building a Patreon. If you want to listen to that. But I will just say a quick recap. I’m so glad that I decided to no longer launch my programmes and to instead, build long term ongoing, mutually rewarding relationships with people, where I’m saying, Hey, I’m pledging to teach you everything I know about this, I’ll be in community with you. And we will work together and learn together. And people are pledging financial support to sustain me in return, that feels really beautiful to me. And so I think I’ve been really lucky and how my patreon has grown over time,
where it now is a good chunk of my income, which means that I can spend a good chunk of time on creating free things like this podcast, or my other podcast, or social media posts or workshops, or the low cost courses and webinars I’m offering. And that feels amazing. But since I started it until February, each month, it was growing a little bit bit by bit it was growing, and it was so beautiful to see that and watch. And then suddenly it dipped. And I don’t you know, there’s so many different reasons for why something can just kind of take a dip, why might people might drop out of something or change their mind, which is 100% valid, like I really don’t want to go to anyone here for cancelling their pledges 100%, okay. But there was just like this collective trend where I was seeing the numbers decline, because I wasn’t able to put so much out there and keep people excited about my work. And I really have to say that was something that I was sitting with for quite some time, it affected my confidence and the way I was questioning whether that business model was really right. And I was also just a little bit frustrated with this pressure to always perform and show up and be positive, because that’s not something that I could do at the time. And I found peace with that, you know, like my patreon has grown again now, which is really exciting. I’m really excited about this workshop series that I’m offering over the summer months, I have so many other ideas. I really love doing the ready to season a Friday collab. I love the the mighty networks community that I’m building. And I’m going to be more gentle with myself. And those periods of time, I’m going to plan ahead, I’m going to create some content that I can put out when I just don’t feel like creating anything, I’m just going to be with the truth that infinite growth and constant expansion is not a thing. I think capitalism is trying to make us think that’s the thing we should want. But it’s actually totally natural and normal to experience cycles of contraction, and sleep, you know, like just like the seasons, and the plants and the trees go into hibernation, so do our businesses sometimes. And I think when we embrace that and work with it constructively, we kind of come out of these periods with so much more authenticity and ideas and a connection to who we are as people. So the season of really colour, for example, was born out of me noticing that in that time, in February, and March, I was really, really holding on to my daily practices of meditation and journaling and dancing a bit. And that was so helpful. And I really wanted to share that with other people. So that’s why I created that programme. So glad, so glad I did that. But I think we really need to allow us to we need to learn to allow ourselves, these periods of rest and to not freak out and panic, when some times maybe people will cancel something or not be as excited. And that I think there is a lot to be said for what we expect from people that create content that we can maybe talk about. So I know for myself that I’m enthusiastic are more likely sometimes maybe to buy from someone who appears to be having a life that I would want to have. And that has a lot to do, again, with lifestyle marketing and brands that are bad. But I think it’s really beautiful to connect with each other as real people with real struggles and ups and downs and all that. And I think we all have a responsibility to think about that and think about how we are consuming media and how we are responding to those kinds of things. So again, I totally like really don’t want to shame anyone for like, dropping off my patreon in February. Totally cool. You know, but and also, I think it is valid to want to support people that bring exciting stuff out. And at the same time we can have compassion for ourselves when we are in periods where that’s not possible. That’s all I’m trying to say here. So yeah, let me know how that felt for you. I’m glad I got to share some mistakes that I’ve made that felt really good. I want to be more transparent about that kind of stuff. And I’m here if you have any questions And I hope you’re feeling encouraged in some way. Thank you so much for listening

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