Hey sweethearts,

I reached out on instagram today to see what questions I might cover on the podcast and I really, really loved this one. I know many of us are struggling with limitations around health and energy generally and especially this year, so it’s been great to think about the stuff that is actually helpful.

I’ve put together eight tips that I hope will help you to: 

  • Get clear on where you want to spend your precious energy
  • Nail down what you are trying to achieve in your work
  • Make things easier and smoother in the long term

I also mentioned my free summer workshop series: httpss://pinkwellstudio.com/free-workshops/

And the Embodied Business Community: httpss://pinkwellstudio.com/diy-business-school/


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, my name is Yarrow and you’re listening to the DIY, small business podcast. Thank you so much for being here. I was a bit of a loss about what to talk about this week, but really wanted to share something useful with you. So I asked on Instagram, what people want to hear about, and someone asked about low energy ways of maintaining a business while being chronically ill. And I really love this question, because I think, yeah, many of you are working in your business with limitations, or many of you are currently in a situation where maybe employment isn’t working for you, or you’re not currently working. But you would like to start a business in a way that’s sustainable and maybe even regenerative. So I’m excited to talk about this. And that gives them a try asking, I want to just make a few announcements, actually, just one, no, two, sorry. So the first one is that I’m reopening the embodied business community at the end of August, so in two or three weeks, and it will be open for two weeks. And then we’re going into a live round together. So as you know, I’m opening this like three times a year. And that’s because I really like to make the onboarding process really personal and get in touch with people individually, have sessions with everyone who’s joining us to give one on one support. And to kind of show you around and answer any questions that you might have. The buddy business community is a year long programme. This monthly group coaching this also monthly themed live workshops, we have regular co working sessions online, there’s Monday, accountability post, the network and mighty networks. What else quarterly business planning sessions. So it’s a lot it’s a really extensive, and it’s been around a 10 module, online courses that you can go through on your own or at your own pace. But I really wanted to create a really supportive support structure around that as well. So you’re not on your own just kind of watching videos, but you have the goop coating to ask questions, you have all these people to connect with those around 60 of us at the moment. And so it’s really exciting and fun, I always leave our calls together so much more energised. And I love that it’s more intimate enough to really get to know people. But there’s also a wide range of practitioners. There’s lots of body workers, there’s some artists and writers, and coaches. So all kinds of businesses, I think are represented. And that’s really cool and exciting. So it will be $300 for the year or three payments of 100. And if you want to get notified, you can get on a waitlist, I’ll link to that in the show notes. The other announcement is that I’m running another free workshop on the 10th. Next week, around money mindset work, which is a really topic and a really popular topic. Whenever I run that lots of people sign up, and I’m excited for it. So you can join that as well. It’s free, it’s a good way to get to know my teaching style and ask any questions and also to meet some like minded people. Okay, so now about today’s topic, low energy ways to maintain your business, why being chronically ill so made a list of things that came to mind from my experience in my own business and from working with clients. And it’s by no means an expensive list. But I hope that there’s some useful approaches that you can work with. And so the first thing I always recommend is to get an overview of what really needs to get done in your business. And what of that is a story. So for example, if you think that you have to be an Instagram every day, that might be a story. But it might also be something that is actually useful for your business. And so this first overview, I think, is about becoming more discerning with the tasks that you actually have on your plate. And some people enjoy making that in a visual sense. So maybe a mood board or a mind map or and other people love making lists that you can prioritise in order. But yeah, the first step is really getting over your like, what what does it has that you’re currently working with in your business, and which of those actually essential, and that might make the list a little bit smaller, which is great for times in which you just don’t have enough energy to do all the things that usually do. The next thing I think that’s really important is to redefine success, which I know is such an overused phrase and can mean so many different things. But I want to illustrate this a little bit more. I think I I’ve been in this business for five and a half years now. And in the beginning my ideas of what success or feeling fulfilled of feeling rewarded, would look like was so different. It was so much shaped by other people’s ideas or mainstream ideas of success.
It was a lot about money. And I’m not trying to say that that that money isn’t important or that just wanting, you know, wanting financial stability is wrong. It’s not. But But yeah, I think at the beginning, I was so overwhelmed and so open to influence from the outside, that I wasn’t able to really connect with my own desires. And with all the other ways in which I feel that my business is really rewarding, right now. So for example, I feel really grateful that I get to do fairly creative work, I get to have really good boundaries, I get to be flexible with my time and my energy, I work with people that I really enjoy and share values with. And all those things really contribute so much to my well being that I find them yet to be really essential. And they define what success means to me. So they could be different for you, of course, but again, I really encourage you to write that down. If you’re enjoying the Tarot or Oracle cards, maybe you want to make this a ritual. But really writing it down I think is super powerful. Even if you think this is common sense. It will change over time. And it’s really important to revisit these ideas that you have. And as you navigate the future of your business and all those micro decisions that we’re making every day to check back on your values and your list and to think about, you know, what has actually essential and what are my ideas around success? What feels really important to me right now? Another important question that I think we need to ask ourselves all the time is what is really effective and reaching those goals and building a business that feels rewarding, and that is financially stable. And to give another example, for that. I long had this really strong idea, a strongly held belief that I needed to be an Instagram and some of you will know that I have left Instagram for six months last year, and my business didn’t crumble. And it was great. It really gave me a lot of headspace. I wrote a lot of scenes in that time, I did more podcasting. And I found that what was actually had been true for a while. But most of my business came through recommendations anyway. And I didn’t need to be on social media every day. And it was really through experimenting, that became clear on that. That wasn’t something that was immediately obvious in my business in terms of its effectiveness. And so in that time, I also sat down and had a look at the products that I most enjoyed in the past two years and where they had come from. And I found that most people really came through recommendations. And then many people also came through listening to my podcast or hearing an interview somewhere else. And so I realised that actually, you know, building community and being in conversations with people, giving interviews, having other people on the show, really allowing for conversations that are bigger than what can fit on Instagram has been so much more effective in that sense of my business. And then of course, we can also ask, like, what does it mean to be effective. And I want to say I think that effectiveness isn’t exclusive to capitalism, even though being very efficient is kind of an important feature of working within capitalism. being effective is can still be something revolutionary and powerful and really important, because we want to work with the little energy and time that we have, in the best way possible. And so yeah, that can look so many different ways. But I think it’s really important to ask that question. And so if you have tasks in your business that feel draining, or impossible, or just that take up too much time and energy, really sit down and ask yourself if they’re if they are effective, and important. And if you find that they are effective, and they are important, but you just don’t have it in you to get to them as much as you’d like, then you can consider hiring them out as no shame about that. If you can’t afford that if it’s not within your budget, you could consider trading with someone else. And maybe you have a skill that’s really important to someone else. And maybe you can find some kind of trading arrangement. I really encourage that in the community that I run and I think, yeah, for most of us, it’s it’s not the case that we can afford just hiring something out. It might also be uncomfortable, you know, we would need to be able to what’s the word? Good. Oh, really? What is the word for sharing responsibility? I’m, anyway,
I will leave this here. But I will just say I think like, you know, building a team in a way that’s kind and generous and supportive is a big task is not something that I would want to do. If you’re able to do, and so I’m not hiring stuff out, but there’s definitely stuff that I enjoy less. And sometimes I trade and that feels really good because I think there’s something very useful for unionising. And having conversations with people and saying, like, Hey, this is, you know what I can do what I’m good at, I would love to help you with that. And I’m wondering if you could help me with this other thing. And it doesn’t always have to be a financial transaction. So I think cash in the, in the five and a half years that I’ve run this business now must have done at least like 20 trades, probably, for all kinds of things. And that’s not always possible. I don’t, you know, I’m not always able to say yes to that, when, when I can, it’s mostly been a really positive experience. And I’m glad that I got to experience the support of others in this way. Another tip that I want to share that maybe is also common sense, but actually really often overlooked, is to intentionally connect with other people that are chronically ill, and I building a business to feel less alone. I think that’s really important, I identified that as something really meaningful to me, early on, it’s part of the reason I started to embody business community, I feel like I get to be myself in this space. And I get to be honest about what it’s like, and what’s hard sometimes, but also, what’s beautiful, and that feels really good to me. Um, another thing that works for me is finding ways to track my energy and to group tasks together. And that kind of creates like a an overlap of maps done. Okay, let me, let me be more specific here. So for me, I’m really noticing that in my cycle, throughout the month, I have different energy levels, and also different creative moods. So I’m trying to track that as much as I can. Not necessarily every day, you know, but like, I have a good sense of where I’m at in my cycle at any given point in time. And that means that I can sometimes shift or batch things in a way that’s kind of aligned with my different energy levels, and could be something totally different for you, maybe it’s the season of the year, that has an impact, maybe like many other people, you’re impacted by the cold and dark, maybe there’s certain dates in your calendar that are difficult and bring stuff up for you. Whatever it is, like just getting an overview and working around that and allowing yourself to remember that that’s really valid, that those needs are important and necessary in that denying them is not going to make your work easier. That’s a thing that I need to tell myself all the time. And then what I mean by batching tasks, so I have an extra sheet with all different tasks in my business. And then I grouped them into three groups, and these are admin creative and community. So admin is anything that’s kind of like bookkeeping, checking on invoices, filing stuff, communicate, doing certain things, you know, that’s just like admin work. And then creative work is anything like coming up with new podcast episodes, doing creative design work. You know, making graphics for myself, updating my websites, making themes, that kind of stuff. And then community is actually facilitated my community base and being present. They’re running workshops, reaching out to people inviting them to my podcast, asking to be interviewed, that kind of stuff. And for me, those three categories make the most sense because they kind of match different moods that I might be in. So admin is something that I can do with relatively little energy, you don’t have creative headspace, and I don’t have social energy, but I can still do a little bit of admin work. So on days where I woke up and wake up and that kind of headspace and like, Okay, I’m just going to take it easy today and look at what admin I can do in my business. And when I feel creative, then I really let myself run with that, and I put admin work to decide. And then when I feel I have creative, social energy, I make a point to spend even more time in my community and really hang out there and be present. So that works for me, your categories might be different. But having a think of that, about that, I think that’s really useful. And then I have a good calendar system. And that I think, has to do with boundaries and being organised. I don’t keep it to do list, I
actually put everything on my calendar that works best for me. So whenever a task comes in, I assign a time in my calendar. I allow myself lots of wiggle room and lots of spaciousness, so definitely not all my days are fully booked with ties, but they, you know that they’re and they don’t get forgotten, everything gets done. And that feels really good for me. And so yeah, maybe that’s something you want to consider. I think there’s also something with your calendar around boundaries that is important to think about when you’re working with limited energy. I found boundaries pretty hard to have in the beginning. And what I found helpful now is for me to practice, communicating them in smaller and then bigger ways. And also having good systems in place that make that incredibly easy. So for example, if you are an existing client with me, you have a booking link. And that’s how you can see kind of what’s available on their calendar. And I will always communicate clearly that people need to book in advance, I asked for at least 24 hours notice if something needs to be cancelled or rescheduled, but super important for my energy and peace of mind and also for just feeling respected. And I also communicate clearly if I work on a bigger project, such as such as a web design, that I need certain things at a certain point in time. And that delay is going to mean that there will be a rescheduling charge, because I booked just one project at a time. So if someone is just two weeks late with delivering the content, then that’s creating a lot of kind of domino effect problems in my calendar. And I really want to avoid that. So yeah, those things are helpful for me, that booking system I use is called dubsado. I’ve also worked with acuity in the past, which I liked. And it just makes it so much easier. You don’t have to go back and forth, checking on different time zones with people and any of that admin work. You know, it’s just avoidable, I think. And I don’t think it’s about not wanting to talk to people, I think it’s actually about wanting to talk to be able to talk to people about things that really matter such as like, you know, how you want to work together and what you appreciate about someone rather than talking about, you know, time zones, which is actually really boring. And within this booking system and grouping my tasks, I also really find batching super important. So for my energy and especially my my brain, it’s really important to not go in and out of 10 different tasks every day. So that means that I you know, I batch recording episodes, sometimes I batch definitely my emails, I don’t check my emails, 1000 homes throughout the day, and usually get on top of my inbox in the morning, and then I checked back in the late evening. And that’s it. And that feels really good to me. And, again, everything gets done, everyone gets their replies, but I’m not kind of constantly distracted and intend different things. And yeah, those are the things that a few helpful for me at the moment. I’m going to recap what I mentioned. So first, I said getting an overview is really important. So thinking about what the story is what is actually really important, what is effective in your business. And what does success look like for you at the moment, maybe that’s having late mornings, having two days off. You know, whatever works, and then connecting with other chronically ill folks is really important, I think finding ways of tracking your energy and grouping the different tasks that you’re working on batching things and then having good boundaries and a good system to hold them in place that doesn’t cost so much of your energy. I think that’s really important as well. For example, to give you another example, I used to offer calls throughout the week, Monday to Friday. And it kind of never really gave me a break or the chance to take a full day off spontaneously if I needed it. Because I didn’t want to consider as cause and so now I’m only offering client calls between Monday and Wednesday. And I initially thought that would be terrible. But actually it has worked out totally fine. I have much more headspace to be really present with Mike Hawes in that shorter period of time. And then Thursday is usually my day to catch up on design work for clients and do some admin and then Friday I usually take off and unless there’s something wild happening, and that’s Yeah, it’s fantastic really works so well for me, and I wish that for everyone. So yeah, thank you so much for listening. I really hope this has been helpful. Another reminder to get on the waitlist for the embedded embody business community if you’d like and also to check out the free workshops that I’m running and I’m sending so much love your way. Bye

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