Before we jump in: This article was originally shared with my email community in September 2018. I'm sharing it with you on the blog today in the hope that it may be of some encouragement and insight to you in your creative journey right now, and also give you a little sneak peak of what you can expect from Weekly Letters too. If you'd like to receive letters like this one straight to your inbox every Sunday, you can sign up below. You'll also have access to all of my Mini Books too!
I had lunch with an internet-friend-turned-real-life-friend a few weeks back.
I'd recently sent out a Weekly Letter sharing why I'm not focusing on increasing my income right now in my business, and she asked why I didn't include actual figures in the email.
The truth was, that email was all about not comparing our own financial goals to anyone else's and I didn't see the point in sharing another number for anyone to measure themselves against.
Though, as anyone in my real life will tell you, I'm a complete open book so I told her my number and she was a little shocked.
Why, I asked?
She shared that she just guessed it would be around half that amount, considering how honest I am about how much time I take off each year and how I don't work a typical 40 hour workweek.
And it got me thinking about how much we've really internalised the lie that we have to work every hour under the sun to be able to make a sustainable income in our business.
Because here's the thing:
I work 15-20 hour weeks.
I take 16-18 weeks off a year from client work to rest, travel, and dive into personal creative projects.
And I make a sustainable income that enables me to provide for my family, prioritise my health, and nurture my creativity too.
And I really didn't know that this was possible when I first started my business four years ago.
I thought that I'd have to hustle, hustle, hustle if I wanted to find financial stability in my business.
At the end of my first year in business, a year where I did hustle, hustle, hustle with 60 hour workweeks and weekends and evenings spent hunched over my laptop, I was completely burned out and exhausted.
I remember turning to Alex and saying, I don't feel like a person anymore.
And this tiny voice inside my head told me that I had to see if it was possible to choose more for myself than this, if I could build a sustainable business that was also sustainable for my life too.
Because for me, the truth is that I don't have the option to hustle, hustle, hustle for success.
My physical and mental health wouldn't be able to sustain that pace, and my mind and body need space and time to rest and recharge if I want to live a whole and happy life.
So many of us don't have this option, due to maybe our health or family commitments, and so many of us don't want to have to make that choice either.
Many of us just want to do work we're really proud of, that has a positive impact in our clients and customers lives, and also have space to live, and rest, and play and explore in our own lives too.
And I'm not saying that my business is always easy. I feel stressed sometimes, and tired, and overworked if I put a little too much on my plate. That's just the reality of being a business owner (and a human in the world).
But I have the freedom to be in control of how I work and how I live my life. And I have more joyful days than I have stressful ones, and for that I am oh so grateful.
My business is built to work for me, and I don't have to bend and break myself to work around it anymore.
So why am I sharing all of this with you today?
Because I have searched and held onto examples of people living their life and running their business on their own terms and at their own pace these past few years, to remind me that it's possible and to remind me that it's a-okay to live life a little differently too.
That you can reject the hustle without rejecting financial stability.
That you can work less and still have impact in your business.
That you can prioritise your health, your wellbeing, and your relationships as much as you do your career.
So today's letter is just a little reminder from me to you that, if you want to, you're allowed to live your life and run your business a little differently too.
And that it is possible to build a business that works for you - the first step is sometimes just being brave enough to give yourself permission to do so.
Something to think about: what would running your business and living your life a little differently look like for you if you weren't afraid that it wasn't possible to do so?
As always, I'm rooting for you!
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