I am coming your way with a little solo episode about shifting the way we relate to numbers in our businesses.
This time of the year is usually so much about planning – income goals for next year, reflections on this year, thinking about where we’re at and if it’s “good enough”. For some of us this is right, but I wanted to share some reflections around how we might shift our relationship to numbers and goals in a way that feels good. Amongst other things I talked about:
- Lowering the bar way down for the sake of our wellbeing
- A trick I use when I think I don’t get “enough” likes
- The questions I ask myself to come to clarity with my financial numbers
- How I track my time
- Some thoughts around “valuable investments” in my business
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⋒ 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.
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Hey, everyone, my name is Yarrow and you’re listening to the DIY small business podcast. Welcome back, really glad to be sitting down and recording this for you. This season is attending again, we’re going towards a deeper winter and a new year. And I thought it would be a good time to record a bite sized episode just to run numbers because they can have such a big impact on us in business. And I, in the last few weeks had a few moments of really pausing and thinking about how we relate to numbers, how I hold myself accountable. What matters to me in numbers, and how did shifted this year. So I wanted to share that with you to hopefully maybe ease the stress of New Year planning and goal setting and little bit because I think all of us deserve more Gentlemen, I really love them that relic who is my business mentor, she does complete different work around self love and self marriage. And her podcast is called the soft shoulder which I adore. But she is talking a lot about courage, compassion, size, and everything. And that concept or that idea really feels so true and, and potent for me in all kinds of areas of life. But yeah, like I said, the last few weeks I’ve been specifically thinking about numbers and what it means to really meet them with compassion. So one thing that I want to offer us this year, just to kind of set the scene as that it’s okay to lower the bar all the way down. I certainly had different plans. At the beginning of the year, I had more specific ideas about what I wanted to do and what my goals were. And they felt really good at the time, I think I was in a playful, intuitive exploratory process of kind of defining them. And yet, when the pandemic head, they also just kind of shifted very quickly. And I put love and attention and energy into different things. And I think I also want to say that maybe from the outside, it looked like I have done a lot this year, I published a book and wrote it obviously in spring in the first bigger follow up down here. And I have grown the embody business community, which I love. I was fully booked with web design work most of the time, but I’ve also rested a lot. And I really, really lowered my expectations of myself, I gave myself a lot of time off social media, a lot of time off client calls, I limited the time that I’m available each week for people to book time with me, I said no to some projects. I said yes to some other things. And I am really such a planner. So I think you know, it’s, it’s easy to say we can just go with the flow. But that takes a lot of energy to some times, for me at least to keep adjusting to things and to keep listening to myself. That’s a practice that I really intentionally have to come back to. And I invite you to think about what that means to you. And just to honour yourself that you’re still here, you know, it’s the end of 2020. And you’re still listening to business podcasts. And that tells me that you are committed to this in some way that feels right to you. And that what that exactly looks like might change over time. And that’s totally okay. So again, just just giving ourselves permission to lower the bar all the way down.
I recently had a session with someone called Emily crispy, she’s great. And she does a lot of support work around podcasting and media production. You can find her at Emily Crosby media.com, in case you’re interested. And that was really insightful because I prepared for the session with her and pads by looking at my numbers and really thinking about what I wanted to get from that session. I haven’t I haven’t ever really heard something out in my business apart from a roofie a few years ago. And so this has been a new experience to really say, Okay, I want to bring some outside support and and so I made a kind of sheet with my goals in business for my two businesses and kind of gave her an overview of where I’m currently at in terms of how many listeners I have, what I’m promoting at the moment what my week looks like what the goals underneath all of that are. And that was really interesting. And I want to kind of flesh that out a little bit more in a moment. And so yeah, I am excited also that both my podcasts are going to receive a little bit of an uplift from working with me because there’s so much technical stuff that I never really had time To pay attention to. And I hear people say sometimes like, Oh my god, you have two businesses where they’re born. And then you run, you know, so many different projects, and you do one on one work. And it’s so much. And I think this session also kind of illustrated to me in a really kind and gentle and positive way that it’s possible for me to be doing all these different things, because I’m not a perfectionist at all. And there’s actually quite a few things around my podcast around NIDA descriptions, and SEO and the way of recording the sound quality that I haven’t had a chance to pay any attention to. Just because I allowed myself to do it in the easiest way possible for me. And that was totally right. I don’t regret that. And, you know, I think that’s just been a really good day a good way for me to, to just get stuff done. And now I’m at a place where I can pause a little bit and say, Hey, like, Is there a way to set this up in a way that’s better, and that’s going to produce a better outcome in terms of sound quality, for example, or in terms of the people that can find a podcast that maybe hadn’t heard of it before? So I’m excited to implement that over the next few weeks. And I really hope that in the new year, I’ll have yet more exciting episodes to share with you. And and it will be noticeable in some ways. And of course, if you have any feedback, or if you have any topics that you want me to talk about, I’m really open to hearing that. So try to not to ramble too far, and come back to my subject of what is enough? And how do you relate? How do we relate to numbers? I think where I would like to begin as an invitation to think about why we look at numbers and why they matter to us. And is that this this sense of the matter? Is that inherent to our goals and what we believe in in business, or is that an external story that we have internalised in some way. I think this unlearning process of these external stories is really kind of an ongoing thing. For me, it’s not like waking up one day and being like, Well, you know, I totally play by my own rules. Now, everything is totally clear to me understand my own intuition. And motivations is often not that simple. But it’s really important and beautiful to be engaged in that process of questioning what is really true for us. So one number segment, for example, that I am engaged with in my work is the time and how I spend it. And when I, when I work with someone on a website, for example, I usually give them a package offer. So there’s like a fixed price that they pay upfront or in instalments. And then I work on the site until it’s completely beautiful, and then the way that they wanted to be. And that means, of course, that the time I spend on each project varies a lot. So I have to price based on Kevin average. And that also means that I have to get to this average by kind of tracking my my time, over a certain amount of projects to get a good feeling. And this is something that I’m trying to come back to, because of course changing. And in some ways, the website I have built sometimes have been coming more complex have more features such as membership integrations are more complex shop setups, and in other ways that become faster, because I’ve done it longer. And so really thinking about the way we spend our time, I think it’s beautiful, and something really worth revisiting at least once a year.
I don’t have a particular tracking tool, but I just use an Excel sheet where I note down, you know what I’ve done each week, I don’t do this every week. But when I’m in a period of deeper tracking and rethinking my prices, then I do that. And that feels really insightful to me. And when I think about pricing, I’m also making sure that I’m really naming what I’m spending each month on time that isn’t directly paid. So that would be social media, writing newsletters, doing PR outreach, doing other kinds of admin. And I’m just kind of really acknowledging myself for doing that work and putting that time in and putting a number on that as well. I think it’s really good. Another angle in which I’m thinking about numbers, is what do I really need? I think this year has obviously brought up so many questions about how we live what is good enough, you know, what, what do we really need as people? What is important, what kind of industries do we want to rescue? How are we we’re structuring on big global scales, but also in our personal lives, like what really matters has become the question in so many ways. And yeah, money is a tricky subject. I don’t want to dive too deeply into kind of money mindset work here, but one thing that I want to offer is to occasionally ask yourself what you really need or what it means to be good enough or right sized. You might relate to this word differently. But to me being right sized, are really exciting to explore this year. So to thinking about how I can actually embrace limitations that I’m living with in a really positive way. So for example, in the depths of the first lockdown, really acknowledging that I needed to cut the work load ahead each week, way back, because I was not feeling the same levels of energy, I needed more or less time to integrate, because being in shock in some way, being creative, just being outside with my dogs in the woods, by myself. And that impacted my income, of course, and whenever I was feeling waves of anxiety around that it felt really helpful to sit down with an extra sheet and really ask myself, what do I really need to to make sure that my basic needs are met. And for my own experience, in my first few years in business, even though I was living with so much anxiety about money and basic needs being met, I wasn’t always clear on that. Which seems so strange to me now, because clarity is something for me, that really eases anxiety. And so I don’t want to live with this fuzzy feeling of feeling like, Oh, is it enough? Like, am I allowed to spend eggs? Can I really justify that am I going to be able to be okay, and pay my rent next month, and so forth. So, you know, like having this kind of extra sheet and having that clarity might not change the income that I have. But at least it gives me the chance to really name what I need to be okay. And then I can work towards that and believe stabilise that myself in that, and then grow from there if I want to. But coming back to limitations, I think this year is also felt good to me to really think about the idea of an upper limit. And I know in a lot of maybe law of attraction, or online inter business stuff, we would It’s often said, you know, like, an upper limit is a bad thing. So something we should like go off, and the sky’s the limit. And I understand to some extent, a sentiment and I really am. So for people dreaming bigger, and you know, growing beyond what they can imagine right now, and you know, just reaching for whatever feels exciting to you. I’m really for that. But I also really like asking questions around what is a sustainable lifestyle? Like, if if everyone in the world had the same lifestyle as me, would we deplete the planet beyond repair, which in some ways, obviously, is already what we’re doing anyway.
Which is probably a subject for another episode. But having moved into this home that I am now has really just satisfied something inside of me that I’ve been feeling for a long time, I’ve always craved secure housing, I always wanted to own my home, Panda was growing guidance, and few really rooted in one place. And I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to make that happen for myself this year. And having that need met also made me feel like Oh, actually, I don’t want to reach beyond that, like, this is good enough. For me, it’s enough space. It’s a beautiful, you know, it’s a beautiful home. And I’m also really happy that I am limited in some ways by the storage space that I have. Because it means I have to be really intentional with the things that I bring in here. And I really embrace that I welcome that. I think that’s really beautiful. And in the same way, in my business, there’s a sense that, yes, I have a little bit of debt left that I really want to repay. And I would love to be able to donate more money or actually, the better read is just redistributed. More of the money that I’m bringing in to causes that I believe in. You know, I certainly have goals, but there’s also a sense of, not continuously and forever be in a mode of growth, and really being able to embrace that nation, and rest and turning inwards and asking questions and processing experiences as well. I really value that. And so, yeah, just coming back to the question, what is good enough? What did what does it mean to be right size? And what do you really need in order to feel financially secure in numbers, and also in feelings if you want. And another thing around numbers that I wanted to share is the way it can come up on social media Oh, and the way more generally how our work is received. So this could be you know, I had X amount of likes, is that enough? I had X amount of followers. What does that mean? And that’s interesting, isn’t that and I think we’re all again in this process of I’m learning, comparison and scarcity. And it’s not an event, it’s a process that will be ongoing. And I know you probably have heard this idea before. And I just wanted to mention it again, because I think it’s really powerful. But what if we pause more often and really amend? Imagine the people that have liked something, or bought something from us or are on our newsletter, and imagine it standing together in a room or on a street or in a park or something. And that’s feeling so beautiful to hold, you know, to really imagine these people standing there, saying yes to you, and showing up for your work. And even if there’s just 10 people right now, like 10 people, you know, imagine them standing there, and really sending them some love and inviting more people and but also being really present with the people that have already said, Yes. Before we ask, How can I grow bigger in numbers and recognition? And I think for me, touching on recognition has also been something around asking, what is it inside of me, or in my younger self, that still craving recognition so much that I care right now about those numbers? And how people respond to my work? And how can I need that younger part of myself maybe, and give myself some recognition in my own way, like from myself? Because I think, you know, we’re living in consumer culture and some way, it’s tempting to always reach outside of ourselves to kind of meet that need, but what can we give ourselves in terms of being seen and recognising and pressing the like button for ourselves? Ah, yeah, I think it also brings up questions around what it means to be creatively fulfilled. So I started a small print making practice, for example, recently, and this has been such a joy, I really enjoyed working off screen and doing something with my hands and sharing some creative ideas I had with the world on Instagram. And I want to be really honest, it didn’t matter to me how people didn’t take like, or that some people buy prints and supported my work in this way. And I think I’m just sitting with that for now. You know, I’m just noticing that in myself, like, I really appreciate that. And that’s the truth. And what does that mean for my work? And, again, how can I kind of build more resilience in myself by giving myself some of that feedback that I maybe wanted from other people? Another thing I run into Instagram that I found interesting is
thinking about effectiveness. And in terms of numbers, how, how much time are we putting into this? And what are we getting from it? So I think there’s so many beautiful reasons for wanting to be on social media that actually about numbers or newsletter signups or sales, or whatever. And I think it’s important to name them and we think about them, of course. But I think it’s also valid and human as a small business owner to think about, you know, okay, I’m putting X amount of numbers in and beyond the beautiful feeling of connection and being seen, what does it actually do for my business, I took a six month social media break into tears 19, which was really beautiful and refreshing and important for my business. And lots of ways. I wrote a lot of scenes in that time. That was kind of the bridge towards writing the book that I wrote this year. And what before I did that, I was, of course, worried that maybe I couldn’t afford that, or people would forget about me, or I needed to find some other big way of kind of bringing, bringing that attention to my business. And what I found was that an average, I’m actually just receiving 100 clicks from Instagram, to my different business sites a month. And I know that because I have a custom landing page that I built on my website. And so in my stats for my website, I can see how many people have landed on that page, that you only get two from Instagram that particular month, and it’s 100 people. And I think that’s a great number. Again, I want to imagine, you know, these 100 people standing somewhere clicking on that link, and why they can click on so many different things on Instagram and the internet at large. They’ve decided to spend some time on my website and that’s really beautiful. But I think especially before I took that social media break, I really had the sense that I was so present on that I was spending so much time on Instagram and really making an effort of creating nice graphics and being part of a conversation and always being in touch with my direct messages. And you know, all this kind of stuff that goes into it and then to see like the result of that is 100 clicks a month was kind of A little bit sobering in a way because I was also using a time tracker. And I noticed that at the time before I took the social media break, I was spending on average 10 hours a week on Instagram. And I know, this is a shocking number. And also, I know I’m not alone. This is very common. I also know of course, that not all of that time was spent on business activities, because it’s also an account in which you know, through a day, connect with my friends and see what they’re up to, I search for inspiration, all that kind of stuff. And so I can say, Well, I have put 10 hours into this. But nevertheless, on average, I was spending about 40 hours a month on Instagram, and I was getting 100 clicks. And that’s so disproportionate, right like that, that is just a terrible use of time, if you want to really look at it from that numbers point of view. And that kind of really opened my eyes and made me think like, Hey, you know, if my, if my goal is to create connections with people to have conversations, to bring attention to my work to do visual research, maybe that is 40 hours a month, really, the right thing to do for 100 clicks. And of course, there’s been other stuff that I got from it. But still, you know, this is an interesting question. And I asked myself, Well, what if I spend 20 of those hours on reaching out to other podcasters inviting people to be guests on my show? and researching stuff, reading books, people wrote interesting pods. And yeah, that that was a something that really kind of in a big way changed my relationships to my relationship to numbers and also how to how to track things and relate to my own goals. And it really allowed me to soften a little bit and, and ask some more questions. So I hope this little ramble has given you some food for thought as well. And maybe some space to kind of expand your definition of what a goal for the next year is and what you want to pay attention to end what you even want to track in terms of numbers because maybe we don’t want to track anything right now. And you just want to exist and that’s okay, too.
I have my interview session in the year which I’m excited about. Tea and by the business community is going to open on the 13th of January for 15 new people you can get on a waitlist if you’re interested in that. It’s going to be $300 or three payments of 100. a whole year of group coaching and life workshops, a big horse and lots of lovely people to be in a community with. Let me know if you have any questions and as always, thank you so much for listening.