What to do when you find yourself in a phase of self-doubt
Today was a wonderful day. In fact, this week was a great week. However, in all honesty, I didn’t start out like that at all on Monday, as it was the first week of the children going back to school, and I felt I had to somehow jump straight back into my normal working routine. It was much harder than I thought. I had a head full of thoughts, ideas, reminders, and – also – a nasty little voice inside my head telling me that I was failing, not organised, and that I should maybe just pack it all in. I felt chaotic and stressed, and I put a lot of pressure on myself! Then on top of that, I was at the end of my cycle, and rather low on energy. Time for some self coaching.
So how did I end up on a high by Friday?
I told myself to stop and listen. Listen to the silence, the birds, and my true self.
I told myself that I needed rest, and that it was totally OK to not jump straight back in. I gave myself permission to spend time on self-care. What did that look like? I did some content creating and admin while I had the energy for it. Then I did some housework. I meditated. I did EFT tapping and I let go of stored anxiety. I repeated the affirmation to ‘go with the flow’, and trust in the moment. The annoying voice still kept coming, but I tried to ignore it.
The truth was, I needed to reconnect with myself after nearly three months of Summer. A busy time with the family, traveling, being out of my normal routine, and not being on top of my business caused me to feel out of sync.
Being out of sync then led to self-doubt, and anxiety over whether I was actually doing the right thing in life. Do you recognise this? Once I reminded myself that none of this was true, and only a story that had popped up my head due to circumstances, it got better as the week progressed.
Today I came home happy.
Gratitude and acceptance as medicine for getting back in the flow
I had worked my other job, as a city guide for tourists in Valencia, and I realised how much I love making people happy. I felt nothing but gratitude for my life in Spain. The fact that I don’t have to go to an office from 9 to 5, and that I have totally created a life worth living. A life where I combine all of my gifts and talents, and have found an environment where they all get a chance to shine. I get to share my knowledge and passion for culture, architecture and history with visitors to Valencia, I get to sing in a band, I paint, I have plenty of free time to spend with my family, and I get to support other entrepreneurs as a creative business coach. What’s not to love?
Gratitude is a powerful medicine. And so is acceptance of moods, cycles and little ups and downs. Gratitude and acceptance are my tools to stay connected to myself. To not spiral into depression, but to see the beauty in little things each day. To count my blessings, to feel the warm sunshine on my skin, to be so utterly thankful for what life is giving me.
It is normal to feel like crap sometimes. It is normal to feel low, not like yourself, and like you’re doing it all wrong. And when one thing feels ‘off’, then it’s like Murphy’s law: everything else seems to also not go to plan. Your energy attracts a certain energy. When you are angry or depressed, it is like your whole environment adapts to this, and everyone and everything confirms this feeling. But it is only a temporary reality. The key is to find your ‘normal’ back, and not make that rubbish feeling last for too long. Because deep inside you know who you are, you know that your core being chooses joy, and knows what to do. Have an early night, and do what brings you back to your true core. You’ll soon find your happy back.
Work with me
As a creative business coach, I teach marketing tricks but I also coach clients back into the game when they are off-track and are going through a wobble. I am good at that. Call me if you want to find out more about working with me.
You may have jumped into the deep end recently and started your own creative business. Or perhaps you’ve been running it for a while now. Whatever stage you’re at, one thing is certain:you’ve not quite got the hang of the whole marketing your business thing. And it is bugging you! You know you need to give it some more attention, and you really need a strategy, but where on earth do you start? And what works well for your small creative business? In October you can join my 8-week joyful marketing course.
I am creative business coach, and I have helped many entrepreneurs, freelancers organisations and small businesses grow their audiences by doing marketing that works. I keep things simple.
I believe marketing shouldn’t be a chore, but instead can be a creative outlet in its own right! Yeah, I know, you’re not feeling it yet, right? Read on though, as I have something you may like.
Many marketing courses, coaches and business mentors all say the same things. They throw a bunch of sales and marketing jargon at you, but nothing is really suitable for you as a creative. Also, most have never worked in the creative sector or as a creative themselves, and so it often feels like you are talking to someone from a different planet. I am not like that.
I worked in the creative sector for over 20 years, as marketing manager, audience development specialist, copywriter, and coach, and I know the creative brain inside out.
The creative brain. It’s a little chaotic, but it is wonderfully jam packed with ideas.It just needssomeone to help bring some structure in it all.
You just need some guidance, and someone to help you see the wood from the trees. That’s me. I do just that. I make things simple, and make light bulbs go up.
I work with clients 1-to-1 (check out my services here if that’s what you’re looking for), but I also organise group coaching programmes. This autumn, I am launching the second edition of From Overwhelmed to On the Ball, my joyful marketing course for creative entrepreneurs. 8 weeks, 6 live calls and modules, plenty of quick-win exercises, and…peace of mind by the end of it. I teach you all my tricks, and you will feel so much better about marketing your business.
8-week joyful marketing course From Overwhelmed to On the Ball
Why is this marketing course great for creatives?
First of all, I am a creative at heart. I am not a corporate, commercial business and sales guru, but I have skills, and 20 years of marketing experience. And I understand your beautiful, chaotic, creative brain. The world needs you!
Creatives are notorious for underselling themselves, and they often drown in a sea of ideas. Right? This course teaches you exactly how to make yourself better visible to the right people, in a joyful, creative and authentic way, so you can make more money doing what you love.
What will this course teach me?
Is this course suitable for where you’re at?
How do you sign up?
I have limited spots available, just 12, to keep the group small, and so that I can give each one of you enough 1-to-1 attention as well.
Quick decision-maker? Grab the early bird discount EARLYBIRD to receive 15% off the full price.
Are you dreaming of your name on the cover of a book? Do you have tons of ideas, and do you really believe you could help more people with your own book? Then perhaps it is time to get started. Today I am talking to book writing coach Georgia Varjas, who helps clients to become published authors. Because, let’s face it, we may have all the great topic ideas, but writing a book takes confidence, courage and creativity, and most of all, a hot deadline to get stuff finished if we ever want to get somewhere. Let’s find out more.
You are a true creative and artist at heart. Where does your passion as a book writing coach come from?
I have had a varied and rich professional experience in many areas of showbiz, as a musician, spoken word artist, speaker, published author and much more. Words have always played a role in whatever I did. As a professional saxophonist, I worked in theatres, accompanying solo acts, creating moods and emotions – stories even, to enhance the performance. I performed poems, stories and short dialogues to music. I basically write to express myself – and others, especially women, through plays, poems, scripts, blogs, articles, short stories and now, 4 published books.
My passion is about sharing the pleasure of giving, entertaining and enlightening my audience and to bring out the creative in them. As a book writing coach I want people to show and share with the world their own exceptional life experiences and knowledge.
As a creative business coach, a lot of my clients come for marketing support, and want to elevate their brand. How does a book fit in with that goal?
Writing a book is a cathartic experience both personally and professionally. You need a certain amount of what I call the 3 Cs – confidence, courage and creativity to write, publish and market your book. And when you do – opportunities of the most extraordinary kind are the result – because you just have so much more of the 3 Cs. Having a book can really elevate your business.
Not everyone is a writer, though. How do you help people actually write a decent book, if they have never done that before, or don’t consider themselves good writers?
Well, there is a certain amount of truth in what you say – however, many people are full of limiting beliefs about their abilities. Having professional guidance and support, like a writing coach or mentor, who can bring out the real story, a story that has legs – is one of the most successful methods to write a book.
What are the biggest trends in the publishing industry; if I want to write a bestseller, what topics do well right now?
Self-publishing is the best way to go. Not only is it affordable but it gives you total control of your book and the business it brings. Traditional publishing is now down to the big 5 (Penguin/Random House. Hachette Book Group. Harper Collins. Simon and Schuster. Macmillan.) And the chances of being accepted by them is remote.
The top 5 topics in the non- fiction range are:
Personal development/self help
How to – travel – cook – etc
And then there is the publishing issue. How do you get your book published and on the shelves? And do you need a big budget for this?
As I mentioned above, the world of publishing has changed immensely in the last 5-6 years. The traditional companies have shrunk down to 5 and the independent publishing houses have doubled. But self-publishing has become the number one way to publish a book for 1st time or 2nd or 3rd time authors too.
Remember back in 2012 when they said print books will die out? This has not been the case at all. According to ProQuest Bowker Report October 15, 2019 – more than 1.7 million books were self-published, a 40% rise from the previous year. Self-publishing has become affordable and easy to do. Like anything in your business you need to invest but the ROI (return of investment ) is not always monetary as we know in other areas of our business.
What are some of your top tips for people who want to write a book? How do you start?
Great question, Nina! The hardest thing for most people when starting out is finding the real core of their topic. Recognising what exactly it is they want to write about. And very often, after a session or 2 with me – they find it goes much deeper, or off at an angle they never thought about. Secondly, it is all about breaking it down into smaller units. Your top topics – say 8 to 12 of them, become your chapters. Most non-fiction books are around 35,000 to 55,000 words. I have over 200 blogs on my website, so people can find many more practical tips to write a book.
And then it is about finding a killer title. It may just be the one that inspires and motivates you to get writing and then again it may change by the end of the book. Having a hot title is a real boost for the budding author.
You have written quite a few books yourself. Are you working on a new book right now?
Yes, I have written and published 4 books, contributed to 6 anthologies and many articles and blogs too. I do have another book brewing in my mind and heart but at the moment, my passion and enthusiasm is to see more people express themselves, build their profile and business by writing a book.
Please tell us about how people can get in touch with you if they are interested in writing their own book.
There are a selection of programs on offer at the moment. Group or 1-2-1 online. A new group program starting in October 2022 called – Write For Autumn, the ideal way to start writing in a supportive and collaborative group environment. It runs for 4 weeks and has limited places, so I can give plenty of attention and guidance to each budding author. I am also running an In Person event in London on Thursday 22nd September for anyone in the city that week. All the details are on my website.
Each July…and December I get this feeling: why is it so quiet? And although it is a recurring thing, and just a natural pause, I still always find myself going into that annoying short-term panic. It used to be much worse; nowadays I coach myself right back into feeling OK. I know from my clients that this famine feeling is very common, and I wanted to share just a few thoughts about this today, so you can perhaps benefit from some of my advice too. Here are 5 tips to get through a slow month in business.
Top tips to get through a slow month in business
1. Look how far you’ve come
One thing that will make you instantly feel better, is to look at your results so far. I tell this to my clients all the time: celebrate your wins! Look at the previous months, year, or even last few years, and see how far you’ve come. You have changed so much, you have put in the work, you have worked with real clients, sold your services, and have the beautiful positive reviews and testimonials to show for it. Read those testimonials again, and take the credit. It was YOU who made all of that happen, and you will do it again.
When the quiet times commence, the panic kicks in. How can you quickly earn some money? How will you pay the bills? One of the things you should never do, is start discounting your main offer. This is your bread and butter, your signature service, your pride and joy, and you should raise the price for that, if anything, not lower it.
What you can do instead, is come up with an offer that is a bit different, and perhaps priced at a lower entry level, but that does not take you too much time to produce. Perhaps an online workshop via Zoom, a mini masterclass, or an e-book, bundling your most popular blog posts. Those lower entry products can help you grow your audience, and also work as an introduction to working with you. You will probably get a few inquiries afterwards from people who see the value of working with your longer term!
3. Step out of the scarcity mindset
Scarcity mindset. It’s an animal waiting to grab you, when you are at your lowest, and hungry for clients. One of my own clients told me the story of her friend, who kept going on dates with girls he didn’t really like, just because “he was so afraid of being single“. It is that exactly.
Let’s not be afraid of being single, but instead think long and hard of who we want to date, and draw up contracts with.
You do not want to sit through meetings with people who drain the life out of you, haggle you down, do not value your work, and cross your boundaries, for example. So please be aware. Stay sharp, stay picky, and have faith that the right one will soon appear.
4. Be proud of what you have self-funded
Your bank account might be looking a bit sad right now, but if you have been investing in yourself and your business this year, than that is something to be extremely proud of. It is something I realised myself, when I looked at my tax return for 2021 and saw that the total net income was somewhat lower that I expected. But this was because I had also invested a whopping €13k in my business (13,180 USD), and my personal development.
I spent it on a business course, and worked with a number of coaches, one of them being my biggest investment ever – and worth every penny. I would not have been the person and coach I am today, if I had not done this. And I paid for it myself.
So if you have managed to pay for training or coaching, or even contributed properly to the household bills this year, then congratulate yourself. You are a business owner, and you are earning money doing what you love!
5. Stop the stories, find the silence
Stop the stories in your head.
You are enough, you are brilliant, and you are needed in this world.
You have had great results already, now trust the process. Try and silence the narrative, and the ego that is telling you that you’ll never make it. You will make it. Other people made it, and so will you. Don’t go frantically posting on social media for a few Likes, or mindlessly scrolling, as it will only pull you further down the negative spiral.
Once you think you’re not good enough, everything you choose to see and read, will confirm this. Switch off your laptop, delete the social apps off your phone. Go outside into nature. You have time now! Take this time to work on your inner self, and love her for all she has done. Breathe deeply. Connect.
The answers are all inside of you, and you are your own best guide. But you have to start listening to your true self. You can not hear her when your mind is full of rubbish and worries. Take a break. It will all work out.
If you are looking to work with a creative business coach who helps you to feel confident, clear and focused, so that you attract more clients, find out now if we are a good fit:
And how building a business comes with a lot of personal growth
Look back on your life right now; how many things now make total sense, but were pretty unpleasant or worse when you found yourself in the middle of it? Do you now see they really had to happen in order for you to become who you are? At the time you probably thought the world was falling apart, and you were terribly unhappy. And now? Everything is different, right? Although, no doubt you are again in a new situation that you want to change. It’s called life, it is normal, and most of us feel this way once or multiple times in our lives. Nothing is permanent, and we will constantly encounter obstacles on our journey. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t grow up.
Light cannot exist without darkness. We are here on earth to learn lessons. It’s a game, really; to get to the next level, we got to face various challenges, there are no short-cuts..
I lost my vintage furniture shop in a fire in 2016. My third ‘baby’, as I called it, and my first adventure as an entrepreneur. I had put my blood, sweat and tears into that creative project, and one early April morning, the whole store went up in flames. All that was left, was my name on the facade, as a sign that could not be touched. I felt numb, and while everyone around me showed their sympathy and support, I turned away from the pain, and pretended it ‘was just material’. I kept the facade up (ha! symbolism!), and moved on.
I could deal with this like I had dealt with everything else in life.I relied once again on my strength, and refused to feel vulnerable.
Looking back, this event carried so much meaning, and I didn’t see it at all at the time. Back then, I felt some grief but mainly exhaustion, and also an eagerness to quickly find something new, and not to dwell on the loss. I am an enneagram type 7, and if you are one too, you will recognise the characteristics of impatience and an unwillingness to sit with discomfort. That, and having an unlimited well of creativity. Just like other traumatic events in my life (two miscarriages and two complicated births), this was not one to brush under the carpet and just forget about. But I did.
Looking back now, I understand entirely why I felt that way, but at the time I could not explain my strange avoiding behaviour, and it was like my tough alter ego had taken over to deal with the matter. Post traumatic stress? Perhaps. I had behaved similarly after the losses of my pregnancies and the awful births I had endured. And then another ‘baby’ died: my business. But it took some time before I saw the connection, and the lesson I had to learn to become who I am today.
I kept escaping and distracting myself in more creative projects, work, and social commitments, and thought I had got over them.
But big events and recurring issues in your life cannot be ignored. They will forever haunt you, until you are willing to face them, and bring them into the light. Trauma will reappear in different shapes and forms, until you finally get the message, and change. Whether they are painful events like mine, toxic relationships, or constant setbacks in your career, there really is no escape.
You cannot blame the outside world; you have to look at your own behaviour and mindset, and take full responsibility if you want something different for yourself. What you focus on will grow. What you give out in vibes, you attract.
Stuffing down the pain and keeping up appearances
If you don’t look inwards to find out why these things keep happening, you will prevent the bigger and beautiful things that are meant for you, from coming to fruition. This is exactly what happened to me. I thought I had everything sorted in life, and that I knew who I was, but I only knew half. I had to fall apart before seeing it.
After turning 40, having had two children, and just having accomplished an emigration to Spain as a family, it all started to crumble. Up to then, my strength and resilience had always been my badges of honour, and the things that pulled me through any hurdle in life. My confidence, strength, and pro-active personality, however, were just expressions of my outward, male energy. There was a huge part missing. It was time to go inward, and deal with the pain, sadness, setbacks, vulnerability, and grief that I had stuffed down safely into my body over the years. My feminine energy was calling me out.
I entered a time of seeking help from a psychologist, mindfulness coach, various yoga and meditation retreats, and I slowly started to see how much I wanted to be heard and listened to. I wanted to be carried, for once. Being a mother, a wife, and someone who tends to never ask for help, takes its toll.
I am not weak because I ask for help. I am not less capable because I show my vulnerability. I am not less smart, less of a business woman, or less likely to grow, because I sometimes feel insecure and a bit lost. But to admit this, is hard, and still my biggest lesson.
Stepping into a new chapter with joy
The pandemic in 2020 also brought a lot of inner struggles to the surface. Like it did for so many of us. When you come to a standstill, this is often a time for self reflection, and seeing things for what they are. I felt sad, stuck, lost, alone. My automatic pilot failed me. My creative brain was still working over-hours to keep the engine going, but it was beginning to stutter like a rusty old car. By the end of that year, my husband went off to walk the Camino de Santiago. It was the start of my own journey into coaching.
All of these things make so much sense now. They had to happen, and they happened at the right moment.
The coaching idea triggered a huge amount of inner work. To be a good coach, you’ve got to face your own demons. You’ve got to deal with your own shit first. So I invested in myself, both personally by working with a therapist and going on plant medicine retreats, and I started working with several business coaches. The growth and personal development have been astounding, and the return on investment is worth gold. The lessons, the insights, the revelations, but especially the shedding of the pain, and the acceptance of my hidden feminine, softer side, have been so healing, on many levels.
There was a point, not so long ago, when I felt stuck, and thought, what am I still going to do during the second half of my life? What is actually my life’s purpose?
I now see that I could not have dreamed it up, I simply had to trust in the process. The universe gave me exactly what I needed, and at the right time. I needed to go through the pain, let go of what no longer served me, and deal with my 40 years of baggage, before stepping into the next chapter of life with a renewed energy, joy and focus. I can see clearly now (the rain is gone!).
I have been lucky to work with many different clients since I started as a creative business coach, and all of them come to me because they are going through a big transition in their life. My super power is to see through their chaos, and pour it into very sharp summaries that suddenly switch on light bulbs.
This week, one of my clients, a singer and vocal coach, shared her struggle to nail a song she had written for the new album of her band. All other songs on the album were joined productions, and she only ever sang backing vocals. Now it was her time to shine. But she was so self-critical, and in the process of recording, she forgot to be in touch with her heart and focused too much on the technical aspects. She felt that people would judge her song as well as her voice and would say she wasn’t good enough.
I said:”But don’t you see that this song is a metaphor for all that we have been working on over the past five months? You are stepping out of the shadows, both as a coach and as a singer, and this song is your vessel to get to the other side .”
Owning your own business is huge. And it brings up a lot of issues: lack of confidence, fear of judgement, imposter syndrome, ego, doubt, but also impatience, procrastination, chaos, and overwhelm. We have to face them, and dig out the root cause.
Choosing joy and creativity in your life is huge. It is brave to jump into entrepreneurship, and it requires guts. But it also makes you feel vulnerable, and it triggers the biggest personal development you will have gone through in a very long time. My clients feel the calling to work with a coach, because they want a guide, a professional to help them step into their own next chapter in life with full confidence and joy.
And how pretending I am on the main stage at Glastonbury makes me perform better
I’ve been in bands for 25 years. I refused to learn to play an instrument as a child, and I can’t read sheet music, but one day, at age 17, I asked my parents for singing lessons, and the rest is history. My journey as a singer (and songwriter) has a lot in common with my journey as an entrepreneur. I have always been confident on the surface, but inside I can be a bag of nerves.
Still, over the years I have grown, learnt, developed, and have become a lot less worried about what other people think of me. After so many years, I know what my abilities are, and I know I can deliver. Both as a vocalist, and as a business coach. In this post I share some tips to perform like a boss.
Stage fright is still a thing, even after so many years, especially when singing a new song…or launching a new business offer. It’s back to having self-confidence, and believing in yourself. Knowing that you can, and that you’ve done it so many times before. We got to keep reminding ourselves.
When I was a little girl, I used to get nervous on stage too. A school performance, a musical, a show-and-tell. My mother used to sit in the audience, smiling at me, and giving me her loving “don’t worry, you are doing great, Nina” look, which would give me that extra bit of confidence to keep going – and also relax into it. Nowadays my mother lives too far away to be my pep talk coach in the audience, but I often still imagine her being there and spurring me on.
Fear of judgement and making a fool of yourself
My biggest fear nowadays, when performing on stage? Losing my words, not remembering the way a song goes, the audience not being appreciative, making a fool of myself, and basically people thinking that we are a shit band. The old impostor syndrome. Also, as front woman, it is my job to chat in between songs, and since we are in Spain, this needs to happen in Spanish. Yup, add that to the mix of ‘oh-my-god-I-can’t-do-this’. But the excitement always wins from my nerves, and as soon as we start playing the first song, the nerves go, and I remember why I love it so much.
Now I can get annoyed with my nerves, or I could try and beat myself up about them, but I can also accept that being nervous before a performance is part of who I am. In fact, being nervous gives me that extra bit of adrenaline to be focused and feel confident in front of an audience. It’s not pleasant, but getting annoyed about it will not help, let alone giving up.
There a few ways to calm the nerves, and feel confident in front of an audience. Try this before your next public speaking gig, or any other event you are terribly nervous for.
1. Look over the heads of the audience
When you are standing on stage, and you see a big group of people in the audience, all staring at you in anticipation, it can feel pretty overwhelming. Often, the look on their faces can be serious, which, in the past, I have mistaken for judgement. I thought they didn’t like what I was doing, and when that doubt creeps into your head…it’s Murphy’s Law: all downhill from there. You’ll forget your next line, you start stuttering, blushing, blood rushes to your head, your heart starts racing….and you lose it. Remember that a serious face does not mean they are judging you negatively. Also, to avoid locking eyes with a serious face, throwing you off your speech, pick a spot on the back wall, and look over the heads of the audience.
2. Imagine you’re doing a TEDx talk
Pretend you are at some great big event, not the small room you’re in. You’ll show up differently, for sure. I always pretend I am on the main stage of Glastonbury festival, with thousands of people expecting me to give an amazing show. I cannot let them down, they have paid good money to see me, and they are ready to have a great time! They don’t want to see some shy bag of nerves singing softly into the microphone. They want to be blown away!
Remember, when you’re feeling nervous yourself, that you have been invited onto that stage because people have faith in you, saw you perform elsewhere, heard good things about you, and want you to share your gift. You are TOTALLY capable. Now, go and do your thing, and stop playing small.
3. It’s not about you, it’s about them
Like I said before: it is about your audience, and much less about you. Of course, you want to have a good time, but in the end, it is your audience who are on the receiving end of whatever it is you are sharing. Before you go on stage, or into an important meeting, focus on the people who you are facing. What are their expectations? What did they come to the event for? How can you give them exactly what they want? By making it about their needs, you give yourself an aid and your job will be to fill that need. During the performance you can check in with yourself; is the audience still with me, am I giving them what they came for?
4. Practice out loud and get familiar with your own voice
Practice makes perfect. It’s an old saying, but it is very true in this case. The more you get out there and face your public speaking (or singing) fears, the less scary it becomes. Also, practice your words out loud at home, or while driving in the car. Doing this makes you get familiar with hearing your own voice, and figure out which lines flow, and which are perhaps too clunky. You can even practice your jokes. No stand-up comedian just comes up with theirs on the spot, they have all worked these things out at home.
5. Be like Hulk and do a big power roar before a show
Someone gave me this tip a few years back, and it works wonders! Right before showtime, you take yourself to a private space, the bathroom or a quiet corner somewhere, and you pretend you’re hulk. Yes, you read that right. You raise your arms in the air with balled fists and stand wide legged upright, making a power face. RRRRRAAAAAAAAARRRRR!!! Say out loud (or softly, but full of confidence):”I can do this! I am going to have a great performance!” The energy and mindset boost of a statement like this does miracles for your confidence on stage.
6. Trust yourself – and detach from the outcome
You’ve done all the practice, you’ve learnt your lines, you know who you’re facing, now go and enjoy yourself. Detach yourself from whatever the audience may think of you, and just deliver that amazing workshop, presentation, webinar, or gig. You’ve been doing this work for so long, you have so much expertise and experience, you are more that qualified to do this. Trust yourself, and have a wonderful time. Any little mistakes will only be noticed by yourself.
Go and deliver that talk, gig, or presentation, with your head held high, and with a smile on your face. You can do it!
I am available for 1-to-1 coaching for creative entrepreneurs and coaches, and I would love to give you all the pep talk – and kicks up the backside – you need to show up as the person you were meant to be.
PS: if you want to check out my band, you can find it here: TREBOL
Why you start to attract a different type of client when you alter your message and content
I recently tweaked my niche.
I started out this business in 2020, mainly serving artists and designers, because I worked in the creative industries for over 20 years, and that is what I knew best. I thought that I should just focus on the clients I had worked with for all of my working life, and stick to that niche. But lately I started attracting more and more spiritually conscious business owners such as coaches, healers and therapists, without specifically targeting them. They seem to be drawn to me.
Being ‘creative’ does not equal being an artist. It means having a creative brain, and an entrepreneurial spirit. But that is not the main reason why I have become a hippie magnet.
I am a magnet for spiritually conscious entrepreneurs, because I as a person have changed a lot myself since starting out as a creative business coach. I did a lot of inner work, spend time meditating daily, and have become more spiritually aware and awake.
And when you start expressing this in your content (and send these message out into the universe)…the magic happens.
I thought I turn my call-to-action button purple for a change, to fit in with the hippie theme 😉
Soulful coaching for creatives and hippies
Why am I attracting spiritually conscious entrepreneurs? Because what you focus on will grow. This is why aligning your business with your true self is so important.Who do you want to attract and work with most? Start talking about your values and what you are interested in right now to resonate with them.
I have always felt passionate about being ‘soulful’, doing things with intention, helping other people, and sharing those values in my personal life and business. Kindness, honesty, sustainability, creativity, and living in freedom. Authenticity, independence, sovereignty, and compassion. Values that go much further than whether I know a lot about marketing and getting more clients.
Sure, I help you with sales and marketing and business planning, but whether or not you and I get on well has all to do with shared values.
Yes, I am very drawn to spirituality. Call me ‘woowoo’, and I won’t deny it.
It’s probably to do with hitting mid-life, but in the past few years, I have done a lot of inner work to get rid of stored trauma that was stopping me from moving forward with joy. It has helped me as an entrepreneur too.
I did various things, from breath work to ecstatic dance, and from ayahuasca retreats to detoxing my body with the help of the amazonian kambo frog (which is not for the fainthearted, I tell ya – go and google it).
I certainly became brave and a little bit crazy in my 40s! But it also helped me to finally grow up, and step up to become the person I want to be.
So yes, I am a bit of a hippie, but at the same time very down to earth, and with a good sense of humour. I’m keeping it real. Yin and Yang, y’all.
A creative business coach who looks beyond a marketing plan
You know why I enjoy working with coaches, healers and therapists as well as other creatives? Because by supporting them, I indirectly help many people in the world to feel better, and relieve the suffering. Making money doing what we love is awesome, and by creating abundance we can make a change that rolls out like a snowball.
When I help my clients with my coaching, they can have more impact in the world by sharing their gifts with more people.I want to help those people too. I can’t do what they do, but I can teach them my skills to get more clients.
Working with me means an investment in your personal development as well as your business. Curious what this looks like? Check out My philosophy.
Together we make the planet a more beautiful and happy place. And be honest, doesn’t the world need it right now, badly?
If you are also a hippie at heart, you know where I am.
Tree hugs and peace signs, jeehuu and Aho,
PS: here’s the link to my diary if you want to set up a free call with me and discuss options to work together. Go to my diary
I am going to bust a myth today… Stop spending time building relationships with potential clients in the hope that they will buy from you.
As a creative business coach, I have taught the importance of building relationships to my clients many times before, so this may come as a surprise. But becoming friends and being part of the same community does not in any way mean people will buy from you more easily. Clients do not come to you to be your friend, they need help. In this blog post I shall explain what you should be focusing on instead.
Why do we spend so much time trying to build relationships with potential clients?
Because most of us creatives, coaches and therapists are trying to be ‘nice’, and don’t want to ‘put too much pressure’ on selling our products and services. We hate to be sales-y and pushy, and so we emphasise on building a community of followers to hang out with online, to share posts with, to start conversations with.
But how many of your online pals have bought from you? How many people in your network have hired you? Look at where most of your clients are coming from; did you know them beforehand? Did they book you because they wanted to be your friend? Or did they buy because they felt you could really help them with their problem?
Friends and loyal followers don’t necessarily become your clients
The truth is, we should focus on getting discovered by the right people first, and build the relationship once they actually buy. Spend more time and effort on becoming visible in the right places by the people who need your help. Make it easy for them to say ‘yes’ to you, with a crystal clear message, and plenty of credibility. Be authentic, real, and approachable, and you will become a magnet to the people who are your dream client.
Once you start working together, that is when the relationship building begins. And when that relationship flourishes, and you solve their problem, this person will become your ambassador, telling many others about you.Put your energy into that outcome.
I recently closed my Facebook group for this exact reason: it was a nice bunch of people, and we had some good chats on there sometimes, but nobody ever booked a call, let alone bought any of my programmes. So why was I still spending time in this group? Because I felt a loyalty and responsibility to this tribe, and I wanted then to like me But in the end, you have to be honest with yourself, and realise that you are running a business, not a charity.
There is nothing wrong with sharing your expertise on social media for free, but if you end up trying to run several platforms to serve people who will never buy from you, you need to stop and think. How could you spend that time better?
Of course, you can try and force the issue, and reach out directly to followers. Some coaches swear by a lead-generating tactic called DM-ing. You know the ones; the coaches who send you a private message on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn trying to be friendly and chatty. They are trying to build a relationship with you. And sometimes, they are genuinely nice, and you enter the conversation and you may think, yes, I like this person and I want to work with them.
However, 9 out of 10 times…we can get a little annoyed by unsolicited messages from overly eager coaches, especially if we feel pushed into booking a call. This is NOT a good start of a relationship at all, in my opinion.
So if we will not focus on relationship building…what should we focus on, then?
Before someone parts with their money, they want to be sure that their problem will get solved when they pay you. They will check you out, want to know if they can trust you, and will make a decision based on relevance, credibility and value. Those are the three things you need to nail down in your marketing.
Marketeers always talk about the so-called ‘buyers journey’. This is the process a buyer goes through from the moment they discover you to the moment they click ‘buy’. Often, this journey can take a while. They stumble upon you on social media, they start following you, download a freebie and enter your ‘funnel’, they consume your content for six months, they sign up for a free webinar, buy a short course or an e-book from you, and then, eventually, because they feel they know and trust you – they say yes to a high-ticket programme.
Some clients don’t need to go through a funnel
I have had more than one client discover my website in the morning, book a free strategy call with me in the afternoon, and sign up for a 1-to-1 programme by dinnertime.
Not much of a buyer’s journey there! So what happened here? They found me on Google, I was being relevant on my web content, they felt I was credible enough to book a call, and during that meeting they felt I offered exactly what they need for an acceptable price. It was a 100% ‘yes’ for them immediately. And this is what you should be working on too. Get the three ingredients right that will make it super easy for a potential new client to make a decision on whether you are the right person to work with.
Relevance, credibility and value
The three ingredients to get absolutely right, are relevance, credibility and value. In other words: your message, the backup of your claim to solve their problem, and a price that reflects your offer and matches their need and urgency.
Get this right, and you will sell time after time.
Being relevant means tapping into the client’s ‘pain points‘, or current reality. You make it crystal clear that you are able to help them with that particular problem. You are relevant to what they are looking for. You are relevant in your blog posts, your social media content, your emails and your general web copy, so that people who meet you for the first time, immediately know whether you can help them or not. This is important to get spot on, so you attract only the ideal clients, and turn the others away.
Gather testimonials and write case studies. This type of ‘real’ content is very important for someone to make a decision about working with you. Written testimonials, videos, audio files, quotes, it really doesn’t matter, as long as they are genuine and not made up. If you haven’t had any paid clients yet, I recommend offering your service for free or at a discount to a handful of friends and people in your network who fit the ideal client profile, so you build up those reviews.
Media coverage is another great way to build up credibility. A mention in a magazine or an interview on someone’s podcast, or you could write and self-publish a book. Another form of credibility is sharing your expertise in your content, and mention any relevant experience and diplomas that could back up your message and offer.
Third point to focus on, is value. A potential client will first discover you, then decide whether they think you are the right person to help them with their problem (or if you offer the right product), and then look at the price. The higher the need (‘the bleeding neck problem’ – is their need urgent?), the more they are willing to pay.
So value does not automatically mean having the lowest price. The three points work closely together and need to be in balance. If the price is right for them, and your offer seems relevant to what they need, but there is nothing to proof that you have actually helped people, then they still won’t buy. Likewise, if your offer is relevant, but your price is super low…then people may wonder whether you are actually going to deliver a good job. Don’t be afraid to ask your worth.
I hope this was helpful! And as always, if you feel I am relevant to your problem, you have checked out my credibility and case studies, and you would love to talk to me in person, please book a free call to chat.
I live in Spain, and the kids have just finished school. That’s the start of our 12-week long summer vacation! It is crazy long and crazy hot, and so it is important to make some plans, so all of the family stays sane. Sports camps for my boys of 8 and 10, a road trip through France up to see my family in The Netherlands late July and August, and plenty of trips to the beach and the local swimming pool. the rest of the time.
As a self-employed business owner, however, I don’t get any paid holidays, and so I need to plan my down time around my work. And my beach trips around my coaching calls. Being self-employed gives me the wonderful freedom to design my own life, but I also have to keep going throughout Summer, so I don’t come to a complete standstill.
This is how you can spend your Summer days well, and prepare your business for the final stretch of the year.
Block time for blue-sky thinking and dream big
When, during the year, do you give yourself time to step away from the laptop, and do some proper dreaming? Thinking big, filling a journal, perhaps even creating a vision board with magazine images and affirmations, and reviewing your current dreams and values? Blue-sky thinking is very good now and then, to take stock and decide whether what you are doing is still aligned with what you want for yourself and your business.
Improve your web content and copy
Summer is also the ideal time to freshen up your web copy. Improve your website content, and in fact, all of your bios and bits of text around your marketing platforms. Is everything aligned? Is the copy resonating with your ideal client? Have you got all your keywords placed correctly to boost SEO and website traffic?
I have some great resources here for you to DIY your copy, and improve it big time this Summer. Watch my video below (of an online workshop I did last year), and get the creative juices flowing with my guidance.
I also have a great self-guidance course workbook to teach you how to write better sales copy, blog posts and website content. The button will take you to my bookshop.
Once Summer is over, we’ll be quickly into the last trimester of the year. You probably set yourself some goals at the beginning of the year, so now is a good time to review those. You wanted to reach a certain income goal, work with a certain amount of clients, have speaking gigs, a book published, increase your audience, have your work seen in important places, etc, etc. Whatever you wrote down for yourself, now is the time to review those goals.
What have you achieved already?
What are you struggling with?
What is going well?
What is not going well?
What is holding you back to reach your goals this year?
Once you write the answers down, you will quickly see what you still have to do to move forward. It may be that your marketing message is not clear enough, or your audience not defined. Maybe you need to get some support or outsource something. Or perhaps you are shying away from making yourself visible in front of key people, and is mindset the biggest problem. Do the exercise, and see what comes up.
Spend your Summer with me!
I have a 4-week programme on offer that may be just be the ideal thing to help you break-through those mind-blocks and marketing struggles. From Chaos to Clarityincludes 4 coaching calls and my 1-to-1 support to define your niche, offer, audience and message. Ready to go full steam ahead and reach those goals!
This week I had a number of new clients calling me for help, and all of them – without exception – struggle with this problem: they have too many ideas, and they don’t know where to start. They suffer from a ‘junk yard full of ideas in their head’, as I call it, and they have no idea which ones are the most valuable to focus on. Sounds familiar? You are not alone.
It is a very common issue amongst creatives, and not just the artistic types; this counts for most of you who have a business that you have created by yourself, and which stems from all the wonderful creative ideas in your head. Having a creative brain is a blessing and a cruse at the same time.
Tips on increasing productivity for creatives
In this post, I share a few ways to stop the overwhelm
Most of my clients launch their business with plenty of enthusiasm, but then quickly drown in a sea of overwhelm. They thought they knew what they were doing, but they put all their efforts into their product or services, without having a solid foundation or strategy in place. They are randomly posting on all social media platforms, they are trying out multiple offers to anyone who is willing to listen (often discounting out of desperation), and they don’t quite know who their target audience is.
Because they really want their business to succeed (all eyes are on them!), they work many hours marketing their offers (without success), and come up with more and more ideas to try out. It is exhausting, and in return…they don’t get the results they were hoping for. What can they do?
If this sounds like a situation that you find yourself in right now, then apart from the urgent need to get your building blocks sorted (niche, audience, offer and message), you also need to simplify your life. A better routine, easy-to-use tools, and handy apps to improve calm and productivity.
As a creative business coach, no week is the same. Being a coach means having a lot of freedom and flexibility around my time, which is wonderful, but if I don’t keep myself organised, I quickly feel stressed out. With many different activities, I need to organise my week well to accommodate time for client calls, admin, marketing, and also time for my hobbies, social life and family. I go mad if I don’t see it all mapped out in front of me.
But it is not just the day-to-day stuff that I like to keep a tab on, I also keep my ideas and thoughts for the future organised. Business plans, goals, affirmations, content ideas, etc. I like writing things down, and I often flick through old notebooks and journals for ideas that I had some time ago, or notes that I took. If I don’t, I will forget. Or these ideas turn into thoughts that keep popping up at random, and very inconvenient moments (such as the middle of the night). Here are the things I do to save myself from going mad.
1. Buy a weekly desk planner to keep calm every day
I have a printed out A4 planner pad right beside my computer, with a simple 7-day grid, which I religiously fill out. I use this one from Etsy*, but there are plenty of similar ones. It helps me to see at one glance what my main tasks are that week, what appointments I have, and what other activities are scheduled. For me, a paper version works quicker and better than having it on a device while I am working.
2. Keep your notes and ideas organisedto save great ideas
I am an old fashioned paper girl, and have a stack of notebooks on my desk: one for client notes, one for business ideas and planning, one for finances. If you prefer digital versions of notebooks, there are great apps around, such as Trello and Evernote. I also stumbled on this blog post from Lifehack with some fantastic organisation/productivity apps.
3. Start writing your Morning Pagesto clear your head Morning Pages are something that author Julia Cameron suggests in her classic book The Artist’s Way (A spiritual path to higher creativity). Basically, you dump three pages of random thoughts on paper, by hand, each morning. Not meant to be read by anyone, and certainly not meant to be perfect prose. Just write, and empty your brain over breakfast. This clears the mind, stops overwhelm, lightens the doom and gloom stories in your head, and organises your thinking before you start your day. Try it.
Was this helpful at all?
I hope these tips have given you some tools to use in your own life, so you feel calmer and more in control. If you need more than just planning tools, have a look at my main offers right now, and see if it’s for you.