• Shopping Cart

    Your shopping cart is empty
    Visit the shop

  • BLOG


    Posted on

    Self care for small business owners


    By Monica Ng

    No matter where you are on the spectrum of being a full-time small business owner or work a fulltime job alongside your small business pursuits, running your own business can seem like running the longest marathon of your life. Day in, day out, you work long hours at your day job and come home, tired but continue work for your own business. You hope to grow it into something that supports yourself and perhaps your family too. You spend every spare minute working on your sidepreneur gig. Any time that you are not working on your business, you are wracked with guilt and fear. In your mind you are constantly plagued with “what if” questions and try to rationalise your decisions for working on your business instead.

    “What if I were to skip this (insert social occasion) and spend time doing X, Y and Z instead? I have an endless To-do list! There’ll always be next time…”

    If you do take time out, you’re constantly thinking about or worried about your business. You’re glued to your phone, monitoring and updating your business. You’re not fully present. You feel inadequate and question whether you have the drive to really “make it.” Maybe you view this way of working like a badge of honour? Sacrificing things now for a better future? But really, if this is the mentality you’ve adopted, it can be all too easy to burn out. Your ability to be effective and efficient becomes diminished. You stop producing your best creative work. You’re stuck in a vicious cycle. Lose direction. Panic! Feel paralysed. Which is why the most vital thing for you to do for your business is to look after your number 1 and best asset: you.

    This has been something I have always struggled with, especially most recently. Together with deadlines for my jewellery studies, last minute organization for my holiday (who gets stressed from organising a holiday, right?!) and tying up loose ends at home before flying overseas for said holiday – I felt completely deflated, unenthusiastic and a bit directionless about my business. But after being reminded that self-care as a small business owner is the most important thing I can do for myself and my business, here’s my top 5 action tips you can do too to look after yourself and your business.

    Celebrate all your wins (whether small or big)

    You’ve worked hard to achieve your goal – whether it’s big, like gaining a new client you’ve signed up or something ‘smaller’ – every achievement should be viewed as a win in your eyes and you should do something to celebrate these milestones! Whether its a nice meal out with loved ones, a candle lit bubble bath, or some time walking along the beach with your dog – take the time out to celebrate your achievement – because you worked hard to achieve it!

    Look after your body

    When you’re busy, it’s easy to forget that our bodies need regular exercise, nutritious food and plenty of sleep to be productive! Take the time to schedule into your calendar, regular times to do some exercise – whether it be an early morning walk with your pet, a midday yoga class or cycling around your neighbourhood, whatever activity you enjoy, make the time to do it! Life is too short to feel sluggish, be unfit and neglect your health. Not only will you feel better after exercising (hello endorphins!) but you’ll be so much more alert and energised to do the best work that you can.

    The same goes for the food you eat too! Too often, we reach for the easiest and most convenient food options, which usually contains too much salt, fat or processed sugar. If you continue down this path of unhealthy eating, it’s no wonder you won’t feel at your best. If your schedule is busy, why not spend time planning your meals for the week, take a few hours and batch cooking some food and freezing it for the remainder of the week? You’ll be surprised how easy it can be to eat some nutritious home cooked meals when you put a little planning into the process.

    Get enough sleep. Simple advice but often the first thing that gets sacrificed.

    Go on a digital detox and recharge

    Give yourself time to get away from the online world and reconnect with the natural world around you. Yes – this means disconnecting from all forms of social media, your blog, your online shop, forums etc etc.

    Being constantly connected to the online world can be draining and counterproductive. Sometimes it may be best to just disconnect completely for a while, whether it is a few days, a week, a month or maybe more and spend time doing other things. Not only may this help you find new sources of inspiration, but also help you recharge so that when you do return to the online world – you’ll feel refreshed and ready to kick some butt again!

    Allow yourself time to rest, catch up with friends and family and general “me time”

    Give yourself permission to read a book and soak in the sun’s warm afternoon rays over a flat white, take a holiday (and don’t take work with you!) or do an activity you enjoy and don’t feel guilty about it!

    For those that operate their small business from home, where this may mean a spare room, bedroom or kitchen is the “office”, the lines between work and play can be difficult to differentiate. Remember that for your business to be successful in the long-term, you need to draw some boundaries – just like you would if you worked a day job. Don’t fall into the mindset that you need every minute to work on your business to make it a success and that if you don’t do this, it means you’re not dedicated enough to your business. You’re not a failure for resting and relaxing! Our minds and bodies were not built to work 24/7. We need rest to recharge and you’ll be happier and healthier for it.

    Remember why you decided to become a small business owner!

    Think back to why you started your small business in the beginning. Did you start it up to gain financial freedom? To gain freedom away from the usual 9-5, operate during the hours you work best and pursue your passion? Whatever your reason may be – don’t forget it!

    Sure there may be some late nights and early mornings – to grow a small business into a successful operation, it takes some serious hustling. But remember, that hustling means working efficiently, effectively, with excitement.

    Now – don’t mind if I kickstart my own digital detox, recharge by immersing myself in Taiwan’s glorious luscious natural and urban landscapes and enjoy my holiday in Taipei!

    Monica Ng left her accounting career at the end of 2013 to run Geometric Skies, her Etsy jewellery business, alongside her jewellery and object design studies at the Design Centre in Sydney. Find Monica at her blog or on Instagram @geometric_skies.


    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: business tips, my advice, stress and wellness | Comments Off
    Posted on

    My Advice: Adding Value

    My Advice: Adding ValueBy Andrea McArthur

    How to define value and add value to your product or creative service for customers and clients.

    It’s a big question but one that can create a spark! I’ve always found that clients and customers are always happiest when they have their expectations met and exceeded. For me (being in design) it’s really important to fulfil and exceed clients expectations it’s what can set me apart from other designers.

    Small business tweaks can pay off! It’s the small details which manifest as your brand which show your worth. Showing that you care about your brand, your service and your presentation are all important details. When you strive for excellence – clients will see the additional value in your business.

    But the best and truest form of value-add that I’ve seen in practice is showing that you understand your client’s business and their needs. Clients are open to receiving recommendations. By going a step further and exploring tailored options you will blow their mind, add value and possibly have more work. Creative solutions show value and keeps clients coming back for more!


    Diana Scully

    Diana Scully, Principal (Interior) Designer
    www.spacesbydiana.com.au // Blog  www.spacesandplacesblog.com

    Working in a service based industry, adding value to what I offer comes down to my relationships with clients and therefore can be different for each project I work on. For me, its about understanding what’s important to my client, then going the extra mile to deliver it. This may seem obvious, but for me, it about supporting my client through the process in a way that best suits their needs.

    For potential new clients I have set up a lifestyle blog Spaces and Places where I discuss topics of interests relating to interior design. Sometimes its about understanding how certain pieces of furniture can work in your home, where to go shopping or breaking down the process of design so that readers understand how to apply the idea into their own home. I’ve even set up a Handbook page which has a list of showrooms and stores I usually visit for client projects! I hope that by sharing my knowledge and experiences with the community, they receive a benefit from my services, even before they have engaged me.

    Without a doubt, adding value to my business means improving customer service, as I’ve learnt, people are predominately emotional beings when it comes to their home. They are greatly impacted by warmth, friendliness, being helpful and supportive. This may sound simple, but to me, this is a crucial aspect of adding value when you work in a service based industry. A positive attitude and level of enthusiasm towards a project is what can distinguish your service from the next, especially if you’re working in an industry where there’s plenty of competition! I find that offering to manage aspects of the project like collect/return samples, process orders or make myself contactable, even after hours, are just a few little ways I can make the process more convenient and rewarding for my client.


    Steph and MicaelaSteph Parsons and Micaela Cleave, Two of a Kind Events
    www.two-ofakind.com // Instagram  @two_ofakindevents

    As we are still a young business (only a year and a half old) we are constantly asking ourselves how we can define the value we offer to our clients. As cliched as it sounds, so far it really has been a process of finding what works for us through a lot of trial and error. Event styling itself is sometimes a hard concept to define, with our clients often expecting a concrete product for their money.

    Recently we have introduced a clear step-by-step process for each of our service pathways which our clients receive when they book with us. This acts as a reference point for them to see which stage of the event design process we are up to at any given time. We’ve found this to be really helpful with managing a client’s expectations and ultimately allowing us to exceed those expectations.

    We also think it’s really important to be our authentic selves in all aspects of our business. This of course impacts the relationships we form with our clients, and is something that we can offer them that no one else can. We are our product, and staying true to that has allowed us to connect with like minded people who have ended up becoming friends along the way.

    {Image by Geelong Advertiser}


    Andrea FinchAndrea Finch, Graphic Designer & Virtual Assistant
    www.andreafinch.com.au // Twitter  @andreafinch_

    I’m great at delivering exactly what I promise, when I promise. My clients are always impressed with what I have to offer. But I can do more by going the extra mile.

    Here are three things that I do to add value that you might also find helpful.

    Creativity. When I’m designing a logo for a client, I go the extra mile and also save it out at the right size for their profile picture for their Facebook business page. This might seem little but it creates a big impact on the client. I try to be creative and think of something small that I can include to delight my clients.

    Professional Advice. As a supplier, I have the chance to offer a professional perspective on a clients’ business. My advice can help take them to the next critical step in growing their business (winner!). Professional advice could play a huge role in highlighting issues a client may not have yet considered, and if that input can help them reach big results, then the added value will be appreciated.

    Communication. I’m a strong believer that you can’t do business without communication. It is the key ingredient to running a successful business. Ensuring I keep clients up to date with where I am at with their project (even if they don’t ask) is not only good work ethic but it tends to give me brownie points when you’re keeping them in the loop.

    – – –

    Thanks ladies for opening up and explaining some of your processes that work to add value in your creative businesses.

    Andrea McArthur (www.andyjane.com) has a passion for all things visual and works as an Art Director and Designer for the Brisbane Festival. Design is her true love and she goes weak at the knees over strategic branding. You’ll find her sharing on Instagram @andyjanemc.

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger... Tags: Advice, business, business tips, my advice, Value
    Posted by: Andrea McArthur
    Categories: business tips, my advice, regular columns | Comments Off