I’m reflecting on how I created my business, how I got to where I am and how I can continue going where I want to despite having one of the biggest challenges of my life ahead of me. Being a new mum of four when I never expected to ever, like ever, get a ‘buy one get one free deal’ with getting pregnant.
Fortunately, the way I have set up my business hugely contributes to this being a reasonably seamless transaction. I step out of my business with no-one the wiser loads of times and it continues to function, make revenue and deliver our WIP as promised. I’m not saying it’s like that all the time, but if we are comparing it to a regular business and how the majority of people run theirs, I would say I’ve absorbed myself out by at least 60-70%.
So while twins are certainly going to come in and throw a lot of curve balls at me, what I need to do most is continue on with the hacks and expertise I used to build my business to a million dollars within 18 months in the first place. Whilst I’ll have days/weeks/months of being knee deep in nappies and spew, my business can continue to grow and sustain itself, and I can continue to grow and sustain myself as well.
I know some of you will be thinking pfft Nat, you have a 9-year-old and a 6-year-old now, it is easy for you. That’s true, however when I started in business I had a one-year-old and when she was three, my son came along so I’ve done my time. Years of blood, sweat and tears honing my craft, fine-tuning, creating, fucking up and failing, putting it back together better and stronger. To finally arrive at a sweet spot of life where I have a business that works for me, not me work for it. Honestly, I know that if I am going to maintain my business with twins in the mix, I need to continue working and operating at my most efficient. What most people don’t realise is to create a successful online business there are massive, huge, instrumental pieces that all click into the puzzle. It starts with learning and mastering how to work at our most efficiently so we can fit three hours into one and maximise our time.
It is a skill which we can all learn how to create the puzzle with and here are some of the pieces:
Let’s start with working smarter not harder and utilising smart and highly automated income streams like the ones I have mentioned in my free e-book, (grab it by clicking here)
I know the term gets thrown around a lot but don’t dismiss it just because of that. Hacking into the work smarter, not harder philosophy is what has built my business to truly give me so much freedom and flexibility in my life. In among times of incredibly hard work that is, because you know, we don’t get something for nothing.
So, what does it actually mean?
It means, to create a business where you can scale the income without having to scale equal amounts of time.
Most people when they start a business, don’t actually consider the time per task or time per profit element. Which means some business models are so weighed down with the time-consuming tasks that are required in order to sustain the business, but they aren’t actually directly contributing to profit.
As mums, we’re busy already, yo.
So why add to the plate and stack it with so much extra stuff that we can get away with not doing?
Like designing products, dealing with manufacturers or completing or delivering the work yourself…
Instead, my business and the businesses we set up for our clients allow you to position yourself more firmly in doing the tasks and actions that correlate more directly with the growth and profit producing areas of your business, such as sales, conversions and digital marketing.
It is just logic. The more you focus on something, the more your results grow. So focus on the parts that create income.
Income streams that give you space to do this best are ones that I personally use and help our clients get started in using all the time, like:
- Affiliates (personally I’ve earned more from affiliates then I did in my old crap job)
- Drop-shipping (we call it a marketplace and it means you can sell anything without having to buy it upfront and deal with inventory)
- Digital downloads (I earned over $10k from one e-book that took me about 50 hours to create)
- Serviced based (Business Jump earned over one million dollars in 18 months from being a hybrid serviced based business)
- e-courses (My e-course runs in the background, because I have already set everything up and done the work, it is now literally passive)
Super important note to make as I certainly don’t want to set any false expectations – these are not overnight income streams. They take time, energy and motivation to start to generate but once they do, they are the closest to passive income you can get.
I’ll never forget the phone call I had with PANDA when I was in the thick of PND with my son six year ago. I was so freaking tired, mentally exhausted and emotionally broke. And yet, I still had these expectations of myself and the type of mother I should be and the guilt of not adhering to them was all consuming.
I held myself to these unfair expectations that every night I had to cook from scratch these perfectly, organic, healthy dinners otherwise, what was I even doing being a mother? The PANDA lady’s advice cut through my own self-bullshit and she said ‘give them Weetbix for dinner, it is fine, you’re tired and you are doing the best you can.’
Weird since we are adults, but sometimes we need to be given permission to actually do things the easy way. It basically boils down to a whole lot of labels and expectations we put on ourselves, that really serve no purpose but make us feel like shit when we should actually be being kind to ourselves.
Since then, whenever I am tired, have had a long day, worked like a crazy lady, or just feel like it, we have super easy dinners.
Sometimes it is Maccas, sometimes it is pizza, sometimes it is baked beans, sometimes it is toast, sometimes it is all of those things for days in a row & sometimes it is quick and easy healthy style dinners (like below.)
I don’t care because my mental health and sanity is more important than what we are having for dinner and there will be a time, down the track when I can invest my mental energy back into cooking healthy dinners.
Lentil soup – I buy the vegetables already pre-cut in the packet (usually pumpkin, sweet potato, potato, onion, corn) drop them into a saucepan, add in some bone broth and water, a touch of turmeric, then the lentils and once everything is all soft I use the hand stick blender to turn into a smooth, thick soup.
Chicken stir fry – I have an amazing butcher that I go to who has some already marinated stir fry with veg thrown in. I usually buy an extra packet of stir fry veg and some spinach or kale and throw it all together. Takes 10 minutes and I feel so frickin smart.
Buckwheat pancakes – In my Nutribullet, I add in buckwheat flour, a banana, almond milk and mix it all together. I serve with organic peanut butter, or nut butter and bananas or apple, sometimes with chia seeds and a sprinkle of LSA.
Acai Bowls – My kids love these, they think it is just frozen berries and coconut water but I have the last laugh. I sneak in all kinds of things into the Nurtibullet and they are none the wiser, such as avocado, spinach, banana and kiwi fruit.
Chia seed cups – Greek yogurt, berries and chia seeds that have been soaked overnight.
I know there is meal planning out there but I can’t do it as whenever I prepare something that far in advance I never end up feeling like what I’ve prepared!
The same principle applies to the house. I know it freaks some people out having a messy house and I don’t love it, but the reality is, starting a business takes a lot of hard work and there are sacrifices in other areas that we sometimes need to make. We can’t always be all to everything and everyone, so learn to let go and turn a blind eye to some of the shiz so you can invest that time back into your business or self-care, or family.
Think about it… making money? Or mopping the floor? Cuddling with the kids or cleaning the pantry? Going for a walk to find peace of mind or folding washing?
If my house is a mess, I go and work from a cafe or the library so I don’t have to sit there and look at it. Bye, bye house and out of sight, out of mind.
Some other ways to save time:
- Hire a cleaner, or throw stuff into a spare room so the rest of the house looks clean enough and doesn’t bother you.
- Put whatever bills and outgoings you can onto autopay.
- Do your food shopping online and set anything you can to repeat automatically.
- I always fill the petrol to the very top of the tank to save time going back to the service station.
- Not for everyone but most days, I don’t bother with makeup (except a tinted moisturiser) and I don’t spend time figuring out what I am going to wear for the day, it’s activewear.
- I bribe my kids loads to get them to help me do extra stuff.
- Set the kids up with a craft box to keep them entertained so you can work.
- I also regularly set boundaries with my kids and they know when I am on the computer, it is mummy’s work time and not to bother me unless they’ve lost a limb or something to that level because the constant interruptions consume time.
All these small things add up and mean that I can reinvest the time back into my business, or my family.
It is one thing to do all of these external tasks but to really compound our effort and results we want to be working on our internal efficiency as well.
This means priming our brains and minds to be working with accuracy, clarity, precision and momentum which in turn means we make decisions quicker, better and faster. In turn, we grow our businesses faster and with more ease and basically fit the work of a ten hour day into school hours.
When we are operating at our best, we avoid brain fog, confusion, overwhelm and procrastination. All of which kill off small businesses.
So how do we master that? There are a few fundamentals to help give you an insight:
Energy Levels: As women, it is pretty common to have low iron. I have no idea how long mine had been low for but when I discovered it, I was actually severely anemic. No wonder I had been struggling big time with my mental clarity, memory and just overall energy levels. Now that I am working on keeping my levels stored and replenished, I feel like a completely different person and am back in the flow again working and growing my business at the speed of a freight train.
Pre-setting: Probably one of the most important things I do, which of course will change again soon. However, every single morning I wake up at 5.30am, take my supplements and vitamins, have a glass of water and go for a walk. I am lucky that I live right next to bush tracks so I jump into nature straight away and practice mindfulness, gratitude and visualise what I want and am working towards. On the way home I stop for a ten minute meditation. Before I was pregnant, I went to the gym or out for a morning run.
When I get home, usually the kids are awake and I have a chat with them, help make their breakfast and then jump in the shower. I finish my shower off with running the cold water as I notice that it increases my energy levels and thinking power. I start work around 7.30 – 8am and my husband takes the kids to school.
Wasn’t always the case though, back when my husband worked 6am – 6pm six days a week, all I could do was get up about 10 minutes before the kids and I would sit outside with lemon and hot water and practice mindfulness.
Work it whichever way you can, but find a way to set yourself up for the day because it flows and washes into how the rest of the day unfolds.
Happiness: Are you actually happy? Serious question? Because, so many of us go through life just being, instead of living it. Including me at times.
I’ve suffered PND and bouts of mostly circumstantial depression. If I have realised anything, it is that happiness is a skill, not something that comes automatically. We need to work on finding it, mastering it and practicing it.
Our state of mind also affects our work, so I always make a conscious effort to check in with how I am feeling and if I am feeling low I have a little hack that always works to boost me up.
Did you know, there was a study done which proved that the brain can not tell the difference between someone playing the piano and someone thinking they are playing the piano… it is pretty fascinating right?
So, when I need it, I imagine endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin all activating and flooding in my body to release happy and content feelings.
Personal Growth Efficiency:
I always say that business is a personal growth journey just as much as it is a business journey. Generally, those who fail in business fail not because their business wasn’t good enough or they weren’t good enough but they didn’t invest in a growth mindset. I can’t even begin to explain how much I have grown as a person while running Business Jump (and also my other businesses.) But, in particular, Business Jump. It has pulled and stretched me in every single corner of my life and I am a completely different person as to who I was when I first started. Combined with some life experience I am so much more grounded and confident.
Mindset: Tell someone with a growth mindset to find their passion or a solution and they will seek out a way and try new things in the process even if they have NFI. Other people, perhaps even family might say to them that something can’t be done and instead of backing down from their idea, they will instead think to themselves they will find a way.
For me, anytime someone tells me I can’t do something, I feel like a bull to a red flag and make a point of figuring it out just to prove them wrong. Business is full to the absolute brim of things that feel too hard, too challenging, too scary, too confronting…. too everything. And, if you believe it is, then it is. But, if you believe you’ll find a way, then there will be one.
It is up to you how you choose to see it.
Labels: I guess, also in the same context as limiting beliefs as well. For a long time, I didn’t realise that the labels I had given myself were holding me back. Some of them were ‘I’m not smart, I’m not one of those perfect mums, I’m not an early morning person.’
Be careful what you’re saying to yourself because if I continued to believe I wasn’t a morning person, I would have missed out on what is now a crucial part of what has made me successful and also, a part of the day that I just love.
Reframing: Are you failing or are you learning? Did something not work out or did it lead you one step closer to where you want to be?
I also have in the past and present, seen a naturopath, psychologist, kinesiologist and done reiki to help me continue to move through subconscious thoughts and beliefs that had been holding me back.
A large part of growing a successful business is understanding ourselves and using it to our advantage.
Know how you work best: For example, the other week I offered a beta version of my passive income streams e-book to the members in my Facebook group, I needed to update it first and I went for 12 months thinking to myself ‘I’ll get around to doing that’ and ‘I’ll do it when I have a spare moment.’
Guess what – those times rarely ever come. Jumping before we feel ready, makes us get ready.
So instead of allowing the procrastination to continue, I offered it before it was finished so I had no choice BUT to get it done.
There is nothing like over 500 people waiting for you to deliver on your promise to make you motivated! It is the same with large investments, it is scary committing money up front. Before we see what we are buying, but use the investment to move you through the inaction and into action.
I remember in the early days pre-launching a lot, committing to things before I’d done them and it is a major hack to getting shit done quick and staying productive and motivated – IF we don’t freak ourselves out by giving ourselves short deadlines.
Also, I remember thinking to myself, ok I’ll tell everyone it will be ready on Friday and that would give me two whole days to get it sorted. I thought no Nat, give yourself some extra time so you don’t stress, so I made it Monday.
You know what I did?
Fluffed about on Thursday and Friday, worked a bit on it, but then come Sunday and Monday I worked like a crazy person to get it done.
I really only needed those two days, so I could have launched it earlier on the Friday.
This comes down to knowing my working style, I work best when I’m under pressure and only have a short amount of time to get things done. I become laser focused, hyper aware and in the flow and this action is exactly what produced significant growth in my business.
Ever heard of that old saying, ‘jump and the net will appear?’ That pretty much sums it up.
Next, keep things as simple as possible. Think of a road map, and you’re putting the directions into the GPS. You want the shortest, easiest, quickest way to successville, so don’t take any scenic detours, don’t go the long way, don’t get halfway and then change the destination. Keep your products refined, your offers simple, your tasks minimal and work out which 20% of what you are doing gets you your best results and work on scaling that 20%. It is actually called the Pareto Principle,which is a technique a lot of very successful people use.
Try to work within your purpose or passion. If you are lucky enough to know what this is you’re so ahead of the game already as you can use this as fuel for your motivation, determination and grit which we all need to get us over those days we just CBF. However, here is the kicker, not everyone knows what their purpose is and if so that is totally ok but don’t sit around waiting for it to magically just jump out at you one day and yell ‘SURPRISE!’ It doesn’t work like that, read more about finding your purpose by clicking here.
To conclude this whole blog in a paragraph or so, all of the above it is really all about learning how to work within the flow. Not with Aunty Flow, not go with the flow, but actually within the flow.
The flow in positive psychology is a state that we can put ourselves in when you feel connected, words and actions come easily, you feel inspired and motivated, confident and content. You can fit hours of work into just one hour as you’re working so efficiently and productively. If I had to sum up the biggest contributing factor to the growth and success of my business, it is 100% learning how to work within the flow and it is within this space that I have created all the amazing things in my life and that I strive to be within every day (note: it isn’t always possible, because…. life!)