How To Survive Business Burnout: A Personal Tale

Come autumn 2016 I finally realised I was experiencing business burnout.

I was strung out emotionally and every day felt like walking on a tight rope. One gust of wind and I’d surely lose balance and fall to my impending doom. If it sounds melodramatic, I assure you that’s how it felt.

Because I’d been burning the candle at both ends in my business.

I hadn’t taken a proper holiday where I didn’t have to think about work for over 18 months. I’d travelled plenty, but mainly for business and never with the intention of just switching off. My mind was constantly on my business.

Conventional wisdom will tell you to take a break at the point of figuring out you’re experiencing burnout.

The problem was… I realised I was experiencing burnout during one of my busiest periods. I was already running my new 6 week online course Facebook Mastery; working on some really interesting projects with clients and had two exciting yet imminent business trips to New York and Rome.

I had a holiday in sight, but it couldn’t come soon enough.

I didn’t have any other choice but to motor on. I couldn’t and wouldn’t let my clients down and I couldn’t just opt out of life until my holiday.

So, I kept going because sometimes that’s all you can do.

I did finally stop in November, and took my long awaited holiday to Thailand. It was everything I needed – a complete change of scenery, true time out from business and lots of opportunity to sleep, rest and recoup.

And over Christmas, I continued to let myself unwind and relax and spend time with friends and family, not letting work dominate my thoughts.

Too Much Information?

I’ve questioned whether this is TMI and should be shared on my blog but my clients know I am in the arena with them when it comes to business. I’m not interested in pretending my life and biz are rosier or better than yours just to make you feel bad and sell you stuff.

I’d much rather be honest and tell you that:

  • Sometimes this self-employed stuff is HARD.
  • Sometimes you want to throw in the towel.
  • Sometimes you get mad at yourself for not being able to stop thinking about business.
  • Sometimes you wonder if getting a job would actually be easier.
  • Sometimes you forget to give yourself a proper break.
  • Sometimes you just want someone to call up and tell you you’ve won the lottery and can go live on an island and paint every day.

You’re not alone in feeling like this sometimes.

I also wanted to share my business burnout experience with you because if you care about your business and are actively growing it and pouring all your energy into it, you’re at risk of burning out like I did. Maybe you’re already there.

And if you are at risk, or you’re already there, then maybe some of the lessons I’ve learnt below personally will help.

How to Avoid Business Burnout

How To Survive Business Burnout

1. Accept where you are, even if you can’t change it immediately

I was in denial for quite a while, even though the signs of burnout were there. I eventually figured it out and whilst I couldn’t change anything immediately I could accept that this was were I was. Giving the feeling of being rung out and on edge a label was helpful.

2. Make a plan for true time off

Even if you can’t take time off from your business right away, schedule it in for as soon as possible

I luckily had a 3 week holiday coming up, so could keep focusing on that. Knowing it’s coming helps you get through.

And make sure it’s true time off. Turn off the phone, the email, the social media apps and notifications. Allow yourself time to sleep, rest and be with yourself or loved ones completely. Tell yourself it’s actually good business practice (it is!) and you’ll be more productive and focused when you return (you will be).

3. Reduce your commitments

Cut out anything that isn’t essential when it comes to your personal and business commitments. Give the energy you do have left to your clients and the most important activities. Everything else can be put aside for now.

4. Try to forgive yourself, you’re only human

If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel crappy about the fact that you’ve got yourself to this point. But beating yourself up for being burnt out isn’t going to change much. Try and forgive yourself, look for the lesson and acknowledge that you’re human. You can do anything, but not everything.

5. Plan time out in the future

This was the biggest lesson for me. The main reason I got to the point of burn out was because I hadn’t taken proper time off for over a year. So, over the Christmas break Tim and I got out our diaries and scheduled time out for 2017. Long weekends, holidays and breaks. I also threw in a weekday “day off” every month to do whatever I please away from business. (This month, I’m going to go and help look after little hoglets at a local animal shelter!)

If you’re experiencing burn out, or feeling like you’re edging closer to it, I want to finally say this:

It’ll be ok and it doesn’t mean you’re a crap business person. And, there’s light on the other side, just give yourself the break you really need as soon as you possible can.

Experienced Business Burnout? Join The Conversation:

  • If you’re struggling with burnout, when exactly can you give yourself time out?
  • If you’ve experienced business burnout, what helped you most?
  • Know someone who’s struggling right now? How can you help them?

Leave a comment below with your answers.

6 Small Business Sales Lessons From The Double Glazing Salesmen Who Wouldn’t Leave Our House

blog-header-image-template-1Tim and I had a lesson in how not to sell on Wednesday evening.

We are doing work to the house at the moment, and need to replace some windows and the front door, so called a big double gazing company to come and quote to start getting an idea of what it’s going to cost and what we can get.

They booked us in for an evening consultation over the phone.

The salesman arrived on time at 7pm and was polite enough but proceeded to spend the next 3 HOURS taking us through a whole load of unnecessary technical bumpf about the products and bringing in demo after demo to ‘test’ and ‘try’.

We were so clear about we wanted and didn’t want at the start of the meeting but he insisted on showing us everything anyway and completely ignored us when we asked him to measure and give us an idea of price.

Now you’re probably thinking…. “Jen, why didn’t you just kick him out!” and now that I’ve slept on it, I’m wondering that too! But it wasn’t like we didn’t try. At first we dropped polite hints (like me going off to the kitchen to cook dinner) and asking him if he needed a hand getting the measurements to quote. After a while of not taking the hint, he started to showed signs of getting ready to wrap up and so we’d hang on and share a little look of glee between us! But he’d then start telling us more technical specifications and get us to test the demo windows, or he’d share a story from his time living in the local town Tim used to work in and ask Tim if he knew the people he knew…

Aside from the obvious fact that Tim and I will be MUCH firmer in our boundaries with people coming into our home in the future, there were some really good lessons and reminders about sales and talking to prospective clients that I think is helpful to share with you today.

Even if all it does is remind you that you’re doing things well!

❗️The salesman didn’t set the tone for the meeting. There was no suggestion of how long it would take, what we’d cover or expectations of what we’d like.

  • Always start a meeting or sales call by setting expectations. When I get on a discovery call or have a meeting with a prospective client, I always tell them what to expect and how it will go (including duration), and check in with them if that’s ok.

❗️He didn’t listen to our needs or wants and proceeded to show us EVERY product and option, even when we told him we didn’t want it because he “knows the products very well and always makes the best suggestions”.

  • When talking to a potential client, I get the information I need  and then suggest 1, maybe 2 options at most that I think would be a good fit. Sometimes they already know what service they want and we just go straight into talking about that. I never presume to know better than my client and even if I do feel a service would be a better fit, I try and find out why they want something else and see their perspective first!

❗️He slated his competitors products as a way of demonstrating theirs were superior.

  • For me, this has the complete opposite effect! It actually doesn’t make you look better, it makes you look worse! I choose to believe my potential clients are smart people who can research the competition if they wish and would never dream of slating anyone else to try and get the client! I would rather my merits speak for themselves (and there’s plenty of business to go around anyway, no need to be worried about your competition!)

❗️He didn’t read any signals from us. He stuck to his ‘script’ or way of doing things and didn’t deviate no matter how much we tried to get him to get to the point. He ruined our evening and for me, no matter the product or price I am very hesitant to go with them. However I’m also now put off letting any other company come and quote!

  • I try and listen to my clients and pick up on their signals and would never stick to a script out of pure belligerence. I do have a step by step system I follow to make sure I’ve covered the essentials when talking to a potential customer, but I listen and respond to their needs. I try to make the experience as pleasant as possible, even if we don’t end up working together, and I would hate for them to be put off social media in general after our conversation.

❗️When discussing the payment options, he wouldn’t give us any idea of price, and was incredibly vague about the next steps and how we’d get the quote. He also proceeded to try and sell us the finance option but wouldn’t answer our questions about how long the term would be and the interest rates.

  • Be confident in your prices and state them! Even if it’s a bespoke proposal that needs to be worked up, I will tell them a potential client day rate and an anticipated time that could be a little higher or lower depending on scope. I clearly share payment terms and keep it as simple as possible for both sides – no hidden costs or charges at any point. Although I don’t offer finance, I do sometimes offer payment plans and make them as simple to understand as possible.

❗️He didn’t tell us the next steps, didn’t say goodbye to me or thank us for our time. His parting words were “oh its nearly 10 o clock, doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun” ? and just left!

  • I always make the next steps clear and thank my clients for their time, and part with politeness. No matter how you think it’s gone, it’s just plain courtesy!

Now I read it back, it seems laughable that we let this go on for so long, but alas we did! And I genuinely don’t think the guy knew what he was doing. He just had his way of selling and he was going to stick to it no matter what.

That can be a dangerous place to be in business – if you assume you know what you’re doing and there’s no better way or room for improvement, you miss opportunities for growth and getting even better!

The experience has made me take a good look at my process and I’ll be even more conscious of my potential client’s time and experience in the future!

Share Your Thoughts In The Comments Below

  • Have you ever encountered a similar experience and learnt anything from it to take into your business?
  • Have any of the above lessons helped you think about better ways of looking after potential clients and making the sales process as smooth and enjoyable as possible?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Jen x

3 Easy Ways To Get Clients Now

3 Easy Ways to Get Clients NowOne of the ongoing actions in business is to book new clients and work, yet sometimes it can feel like the hardest thing to do – especially if you’re having a slow month or feel like you’re trapped in desperation mode.

Yesterday in my Facebook group I did a live video about how sometimes the easiest ways for us to book new clients are often overlooked. The opportunities might be staring you in the face and could be the difference between you hitting your goals this month of not.

If you’re not getting enough clients right now, even just one of these ways could open doors for you and get you meeting your monthly goal within a matter of hours or days.

The 3 Easy Ways I Shared Were:

  1. Reach out to past clients, customers and testers
  2. Check in with past leads
  3. Ask for referrals and recommendations

I have some specific tips to do each of these without coming across like a pushy salesperson and with confidence. Watch the replay of the live video now to find out what they are, and join the group for free to get involved and ask questions.

BONUS ACTION STEP! Which of these 3 ways could you use TODAY to book more work? Declare your commitment in the blog comments below!

Finding Social Media Time Consuming? You’re Doing It All Wrong…

Finding Social Media Time Consuming-

Are you finding social media time consuming for your business? Maybe you’ve thought to yourself:

  • “There’s just sooooooo much to do on social media, how do they do it?”
  • “I spend all my time on Facebook but never get any clients!”
  • “I’m not even going to bother with social media, I just don’t have time for that”

I hear you my friend. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could wave a magic wand and your social media for your business was done in a snap and you could get on with your day?

I’m afraid I have some bad news.

I’m not the social media fairy godmother (although I do know how to rock a fairy outfit of a Halloween party) and spoiler alert, she doesn’t exist.

You do have to put in the work to make social media work for your business.

But it needn’t take forever. In fact, if you’re finding your social media time consuming and taking up too much of your day, you’re doing it all wrong.

So, how do you speed things up? By sticking to these 3 key actions:

    1. Schedule some of your social media posts. You can do this directly on your Facebook page and use a free scheduling tool like Hootsuite, Buffer or Grum (for Instagram) 
    2. Schedule time into your diary to be social every day, just like you would any other business activity. What gets scheduled gets done, after all.
    1. It’s so easy to get lost in the scrolling newsfeed on social media and waste houuuuuuurs. If this is a problem for you, be disciplined about it! Set the timer on your phone for 10, 20 or 30 minutes and when it goes off, shut down Facebook and get back to your other work. It sounds so simple, but not many people actually do it.
    1. One of the reasons your social media isn’t yeilding you the results you want (like more traffic, engagement, leads and clients) is that you’re not focusing on the right kinds of activities. Activities which will make you money. You’re too busy reading someone else’s business blog and comparing yourself to them, or mindlessly hearting alllll the photos on Instagram hoping someone will follow you back. Cut it out and focus on what you know will get new clients in the door!

Not sure what those money making activities in action number 3 are?

If you’re sitting there thinking “hmmmm, ok I get it, but how do I know what’s a ‘money making activity’ and what’s not?” I have something for you.

I’ve opened up a few slots on my calendar to help you figure out exactly what social media activities ARE money making activities for your business & industry. This is a free assessment where you can share exactly how you are spending your time, and I’ll give you 3 key things you can be focusing on instead to start getting results. It’s completely free, sign up for one here.

Leave a Comment

Tell me, is social media time consuming for you? What do you waste your time on with social media and which of the 3 key actions are you going to implement right now?

How To Welcome New Clients With a Welcome Packet

Creating a welcome packet for your new clients is on of the easiest ways to give them a stellar impression of your business from the off, and really get them excited about working with you. It’s a small gesture, that takes a little upfront thought and design, that will pay off time and time again.

It’s something I’ve just put in place for my new strategy intensive & social media mastery clients, having been prompted by this awesome post from Megan Martin about her welcome packet for wedding clients, and also a fantastic idea that my client’s at Tentario use to welcome their new customers.

How to welcome new clients with a welcome packet (2)

In this post I’m going to give you ideas of how to welcome new clients to your business with a welcome packet, with some real life examples from me, my clients and other business owners.

But first, what is a welcome packet?

A welcome packet is either a physical or digital pack of documents & information you send to new clients who’ve just booked your services.

It usually contains:

  • A copy of your contract
  • Your business details (including social media)
  • Some sort of welcome letter or note
  • Any additional info they need ahead of working with you

Why should you send a welcome packet?

There are four really strong reasons for sending your new clients a welcome packet.

  1. They get all the information they need from you up front, in one place
  2. You create clear boundaries and expectations from the off. The information you include can educate your clients on how you work together, and exactly what they can expect.
  3. It gives a fantastic first impression to new clients. They feel like VIPs and feel incredibly welcomed by you. It sets the tone for your work together and what they can expect from the experience.
  4. It gives them something to talk about. It’s memorable. When you do things that stand out and are memorable, clients talk about you. They talk about how you made them feel special and how they’re excited to work with you to their friends and colleagues. That word of mouth is really valuable to you as a business.

What should you include in your welcome packet?

This depends on your business entirely, but here’s what I include in mine:

  • A copy of the client contract (which we’ve both signed via Hellosign)
  • An in-depth questionnaire to help set my clients up for success
  • My favourite resources for business & social media
  • A handwritten thank you card
  • A guide to the service they’ve chosen
  • Business information (including office hours, contacting me etc)
  • A little card with my Social Media links
  • A beautiful guilded notebook / journal + pen so they can take notes on the day together or throughout our Skype sessions

It doesn’t have to be this in depth, you could just send a really well designed thank you card if that’s appropriate. Check out the free downloadable kit at the bottom of this post to figure out the best thing for your business.

How should you design your welcome packet?

(Physical or Digital?)

There’s so many ways you can design & deliver your welcome packet. The first question to ask yourself is…

Digital or Physical?

Digital Welcome Packets

You could send a welcome packet digitally, and in fact this is what I’ve been doing until very recently. You package everything into PDFs and email to your new clients once they’ve signed the contract and paid. It works well and means they get it instantly, which is a real bonus. It’s also easier for them to send back anything electronically (like the questionnaire I send).

If you do a digital welcome packet, create fillable PDFs using this tool so they can easily fill it in on their computer and return. Saves printing, filling, scanning & sending it back.

Physical Welcome Packets

Physical welcome packets should be packaged with care and sent via post. This gives you an opportunity to really brand your welcome packet and make it a lovely experience for your client.

Everyone LOVES receiving post in this day and age!

It also gives you an opportunity to include a gift related to your business/service/product. I recommend this as it really is a simple way to add value that doesn’t cost a lot. Everyone likes getting something lovely as a surprise. Delight your clients with a small present!

Some Welcome Packet Ideas to Inspire You

1. Tentario’s tipi tent

Tentario Tipi Tent Welcome Packet

My clients Becky and Andy at Tentario put on great events (including weddings) in beautiful tipi tents. When a customer books a wedding or party with them, they send a ‘build your own tipi’ which is personalised with their name, and date of their event.

It’s such a fun and simple way to welcome their new customers and is a real talking point.

When they showed their cardboard tipi tent during our strategy intensive, I knew I had to write a blog post about it – it’s smart, simple & really effective. AND, their customers post pictures of their DIY tipi tent on social media. That’s great coverage for Tentario.

2. Prezola’s Gift List Welcome Packet

Prezola Welcome Packet

As I was writing today’s blog post, Prezola’s welcome packet plopped onto my doormat! And it couldn’t be better timing. Prezola are a wedding gift list provider and they’re who we’ve created our wedding gift list with. When I signed up for the service, they asked me how many gift list cards we wanted (so we could include them with our invites).

They then sent those cards, along with a welcome letter, brochure about how to make the most of the service we’d paid for and a little greetings card.

It is really well branded, in a folder that keeps everything together, and adds that extra touch to the service. And guess what, I’m talking about it!

3. Megan Martin’s Wedding Welcome Packet

Megan Martin Welcome Packet

So, as you can tell, the wedding industry are AWESOME at welcome packets! And this wedding client example from Megan Martin, a full service design agency, is another one to add to the list!

This blog post she wrote really helped me flesh out my welcome packet and adapt it for my business. She includes contract, office hours & details and a stamped addressed envelope for return of important documents. Megan knows how to make things look really good, and you can see her packet is beautifully designed. She even ties it up in a bow with a ‘welcome’ tag!

4. My Welcome Packet

social media welcome packet

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve now got my own welcome packet in place for new clients. I found these fantastic gold embossed folders at Homesense. They’re made by a French graphic design company called Graphique. I print all my welcome packet documents on strong headed card and I send it out with a journal and pen. I’m really enjoying putting these together for my new clients and I know they love them too!

I hope I’ve inspired you today to create a welcome packet for your business. It’s such a great way to onboard new clients and just takes a little creativity, time & energy. It doesn’t have to cost the earth, and can be really simple.

Click Here To Get The Free Kit

Leave a Comment

Over to you! What do you think of welcome packets? Will you use one in your business? If so, what will you include? Bonus points if you include a photo of your welcome packet or one you’ve received in with your comments!

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