If you run your own business, you probably often wish there were more hours in the day; there’s always SO much to do and we can feel overwhelmed by our to-do lists a lot of the time. But what about if you could make more time for yourself without damaging your business? Is that possible? 91 contributor and slow lifestyle blogger Jessica Rose Williams shares her minimalist approach to simplifying your creative business processes….
As self-employed creative business owners it’s all too easy to feel as though we’re never doing enough. Throw in all the advice out there right now and those anxieties intensify. In a society that rewards a ‘more is more’ approach to business, doing less can feel terrifying. But what if we were all doing so much more than necessary? What if this approach to business was sabotaging not only our businesses themselves but also our quality of life? Unlike most creative business owners, my efforts aren’t focused on growth – not growth for the sake of growing anyway. Instead, I focus on simplifying every nook and cranny of my work so I’m only left with the joyful and purposeful. It’s a practice, but on the whole this means I can work less and live more.
I wanted to share some relatable practical tips for fellow creative business owners on how we can all do less without harming our businesses. I’ve actually found a minimalist approach feeds my business and results in more clarity, revenue and freedom. I’m hoping that by sharing what’s worked for me, this post will act as a permission slip for you to start experimenting and stop doing the unnecessary that isn’t adding value. If you feel as though you’re spinning plates in your creative business and wish you could slow things down, try experimenting with a few of these….
Focus on purpose and joy – purpose and joy are at the heart of a minimalist mindset. If something makes you happy or has a use, it stays and if not – it goes. I use this ethos in my life and my business is no exception. In real life this looks like me unsubscribing from services I don’t use, scrapping e-courses because I wasn’t enjoying them as much as I thought I would and focusing on just two social media platforms instead of trying to juggle all of them. Having this mindset on your shoulder results in a business that feeds you both financially and creatively because it oozes value and joy. There is no space for the should dos, the unnecessary or the wasteful.
Figure out what’s right for you – When is your most productive time of day? Which social media platform do you enjoy the most and reap the most rewards from? Do you work better after a nap? Dive into the depths of your own waters and start working with yourself instead of against it.
For those of us lacking self-belief it can feel easier to just emulate others but the truth is we have to do what’s best for us and the only way to do that is to trust we’ve already got the answers inside us and be open to experimentation in order to find them. Maybe you’re not a morning person and trying to be one is only making your life harder. It takes trial and error and I’m not sure there’s a finish line here but be open to self-discovery and play to your strengths. It might feel strange at first but it’s ok to do things differently and do them your own way.
Keep phone free hours – I have an ongoing love / hate relationship with my phone. I love the dopamine hits it gives me and how it allows me to connect with a whole host of wonderful people in the online world but the truth is, it’s also one big distraction. Keeping it out of sight for just a couple of hours a day results in productivity levels that could rival Hermione Granger. Apps like Moment and Freedom can help if you’re struggling.
Allocate your time strategically – I’m still working on this one, but carving up my day so that I’m focusing on one thing at a time instead of trying to do a million different things at once has enabled me to do so much more. I have writing hours, photography hours and scheduling time all written out in my diary. In an ideal world I only check my email once a day but that ‘impending postman with an exciting delivery’ feeling checking my inbox gives me keeps getting in the way. The thing is, most of these happenings can wait. The more switched on we are to all things the harder it is for us to focus and get what needs to be done done. Our time is the most precious asset we have but when we’re our own boss, there’s nobody to tell you what to do when or when to go home. We have to learn to manage ourselves, something we’re not taught to do when we’re growing up – I wasn’t in the UK anyway. If you’re currently without any structure at all then starting small is a good place to start. You can always build up from there.
Limit the advice you consume to two or three watering holes – Sometimes I’d rather listen to a podcast about writing instead of opening my laptop and just writing the damn thing. This kind of procrastination can quickly turn into a full day of binging on other people’s advice and zero work of my own.
Focus on finding a few people who’s values you can relate to. For example, there’s no point listening to a creative business podcast that focuses on how to build a seven figure empire when it makes sense for you to stay small because you don’t want to employ a team and prefer your freedom. Pay attention to how the advice you digest makes you feel. If you come away feeling like you’re not good enough and you’ve got a hundred things to add to your to do list that you really didn’t want to do, then red flags should be flying.
Figure out your must dos – As a writer / blogger my must dos come down to writing and photography. These two things are what make the cogs of my business turn. Without them I have no work to show. It makes sense then to create habits around these two things and aim to be the best I can be at them. This is always where my focus lies. At the heart of a simple business is good work. Following this, it’s always important to share our work, though I believe really good work has a way of sharing itself. When you create good work that’s in demand, there will always be a market for it. All the other bells and whistles we’re sold as magic wands come second to this.
Follow the money – yes we all love to see our follower count going up on Instagram but do you know what really matters in the end? Money. I know that might sound brash but it’s true. Stereotypical signs of success like a high follower count do not pay the bills. Pay attention to where your income is coming from and double down in that area. Perhaps this means less time on social media and more time on nurturing your email list.
Hopefully implementing some of these snippets of advice will give you more time to do the things that matter most to you. Let us know how you get on! 🙂
Follow Jessica on Instagram for more tips on simple living – including your wardrobe, your home and your life in general.