Do you find yourself working so hard that you have no time for you?
I have been very guilty of that in the past, in fact, I recently decided to switch everything off and have some time away from social media because work was starting tip the scales the wrong way again and I needed to replenish my batteries and get some harmony back into my life again.
In the past, I might have worried about not being "visible" to potential clients and customers. I have learned the hard way though, that often too much visibility can drain you and lead to an energetic "closed for business" sign going up and sending out massive energy waves to any potential clients saying "stay away, overwhelm in progress!".
Slow and steady is the way I do it now, and it works. Having switched off for over a week I found myself coming back and taking on six new clients in one day, all without me having to go out and do anything, in fact often the less I do, the more work comes my way. Fortunately for me, the majority of my clients now come via recommendation, so there is the minimum effort required on my part to "find" clients, but it was not always like that.
The truth is if you are not taking proper care of yourself, you cannot possibly take good care of your clients. As Hypnotherapists and Coaches, you owe it to your clients as much as you do to yourself to bring your best self into the consulting room and give the highest service possible to your clients.
So here are five simple things you can do to take more care of yourself and help your business prosper at the same time:
1) Get clear on your "hours of work" and stick to them
When you work for yourself, it often feels as if you must be always available and immersed in your business for it to be successful, right? Well, the truth is, it does not need to work this way. That is a lie that many small business owners tell themselves and believe, and if you spend too much time working on your business and not enough time immersed in your life, you will begin to feel the twinges of overwhelm which lead to burnout and you will end up with no business. I agree, sometimes you do need to be available in the evenings (I work one late night every week) for your clients, and that is ok, but not all the time.
Your opening hours do not need to read 24/7; even Tesco's are reviewing that policy!
Decide what hours you want to work and stick to them, set the alarm on your phone for the end of your working day then switch everything off, including social media and do things that have nothing to do with work.
I have strict boundaries around my working hours, and I will not respond to client emails or messages after 6 pm. I very rarely work while my youngest daughter is around and if I have no childcare, I will not pull out my laptop and start working, unless it is something that's critical or urgent. Learn to educate your clients and make sure that they know that you are not open all hours.
I value my time away from work, and setting healthy boundaries is key for my self-care, and it is a great habit to develop at any time in your business.
3) Learn to say "no" first to requests
This is always one of the toughest challenges my Business Coaching Clients find when I set them the "say no first" challenge for their homework. There is often resistance, and it can trigger some interesting belief systems!
Let's face it; you are doing what you do because of your love for helping people, why would you say no first?
As a coach or hypnotherapist, it can be very easy to slip into the mode of "people pleaser", especially when you are starting out. Also, because you love helping people, you will at times feel obliged to say yes to everyone who comes along, including those who are just "looking for a little advice" (clients or otherwise!) and believe me, people pleasing does not serve anyone. It is draining, and you will eventually begin to feel overwhelmed, and you will not want to help anyone. It is true especially when you are growing your business because you will get requests to do things maybe for ‘exposure’ or because people want to be part of what you have got going on which may or may not help your business.
So, you need to learn to say "no" every now and again. It does not mean you will not help, it can simply be "no just now" and you can get back later once you have taken the time to check in with yourself and see if you have the resources and energy to serve that person.
I get my Business Coaching clients to say something like this during the "say no" challenge that I set, and you could give it a go too and see the difference it makes:
" I would love to help you, can you give me more information and I will get back to you once I have had the time to look at it properly?"
" I would love to help, can I get back to you on it?"
It is a much gentler way of saying no and gives you some breathing space to make a much more informed decision about whether you want to take on that new client or project.
Sometimes I will say to people that I am working on a project for the next 3 or 6 months and don't have the capacity to take on any more work, and if the opportunity is still there after that time, I will happily work with them. I find this a particularly useful way of saying no to clients and projects that from past experiences I have found challenging to work with (I cover this in tip 5).
4). Know what you need to enjoy life and make sure your needs are met!
Everyone has basic needs that need to get met for them to enjoy life, and I am not talking about big stuff, I mean the little things such as time alone, or time with friends and family. It is important that you know what your needs are at a basic level and makes sure they are getting fulfilled, all too often running a business can lead to you neglecting those needs.
We all have different needs, so get clear on what yours are so when they are not getting met you can recognise what is getting neglected and potentially leading you down the path of feeling overwhelmed.
So, when you are feeling overwhelmed, take some time out and figure out which need is not getting met. Do you need
More "me time."
More "fun time."
More ‘friend time.'
Is there something else?
Once you identify this, take the time to meet it!
5) Identify clients whom you love, and work only with them.
At the end of 2015, I was drained, working with clients who were draining me and I made a decision that I would get a much clearer vision of the type of clients I wanted to work with going into 2016. Working with clients who drain you just requires you to take more time for self-care. When you are starting out, it is easy to think that you ought to take on every client who walks through your door., but it can become exhausting especially if you end up working with clients who are not committed to the change work or just want you to do it all for them. Moreover, working with people who are too needy, or who fight you and resist you when you try to help them, or don’t do the work you recommend are clients who will slow you down and bring energy blocks to your business slowing your growth.
Learn to identify those people who are ready for change and prepared to do the work, get to know how to spot the difference between the customers that talk a good story and do nothing and those who are already taking action on working on themselves. I now ask all my clients what they have done to help themselves before working with me; this gives me some real insight as to how ready they are to work with me and do the job that they will inevitably need to do to experience transformation and change.
Lastly, when you are clear on the type of clients, you want to work with it is so much easier to say "no" and walk away, leaving you with plenty energy to seek out the clients you want.
Also, when you get clear on the type of clients you want to work with in your business, they miraculously begin to appear.
Let me know what your best self care tip is and pop over and share it with me in Facebook!
To your success!
P.S You can also connect with me over at my Private Facebook Coaching Group I am in there most days for support and encouragement.
Sign up for my free ebook - "The Reinvention Method - 8 Steps to Reinvent Yourself and Transform Your Life...Even if you have found it impossible in the past"
Avril Gill, Hypnotherapist Transformational Coach & Hypnotherapy Trainer