How I made real changes to get the business and life I wanted
When my daughter was born in 2016, everything changed, but not in the way you’d expect.
I set up my company, Claire Creative in 2012 when my son, James was on his way. Going out on my own seemed like the best way to have more flexibility as a parent and more creative freedom to work on interesting projects.
(Did you do the business+baby thing at the same time too? WHAT WERE WE THINKING???)
2012, Paris (Baby #1 on the way)
I was living in Paris at the time and the initial projects poured in. I worked hard but I was happy to be busy. Yes I was tired when my boy didn’t sleep through the night, or refused to nap, but I was excited about planning and learning and figuring out the business stuff.
As the years went on though, I was still adapting, searching, testing and learning. That elusive balance between work life and family life was always just out of my grasp. I was getting more and more exhausted trying to make it work. I was stressed out. Saying ‘Yes’ to every project that came my way to keep cash flow going and saying ‘No’ to pretty much everything else in my life.
This business that I had created to be more flexible and have more freedom was actually preventing me from spending time with family, my friends, and myself!
The Breaking Point
I was working late nights and weekends and staying available to clients, even on holidays.
I never had a break.
I never had time.
I never saw my friends.
I had no time for my lovely husband.
When I was with my gorgeous baby boy I was checking my phone for emails.
My neck hurt. My stomach churned each time I saw ‘urgent’ or ‘further changes’ in the subject line.
I needed to take a step back.
I needed to make changes.
But I didn’t know where to start.
My boy was 3. We had moved our little family to the south of France to find a better quality of life. Claire Creative gave me a fairly steady income but CRAZY work hours. My stress levels were through the roof. Baby number 2 was on her way and I knew that something had to give.
Why was I carrying on like this?
I was putting my health at risk. Putting strain on my relationships. And pretty much feeling like sh*t all-the-time! I was stressed about not having enough work, then stressed about having too much work!!! The cycles of feast and famine meant that there was always something I was worrying about.
I needed help but I didn’t know how to ask for it.
I had always run my business pretty lean. Instead of paying for support, I’d take a course or buy a book. I wanted to do it all. Email marketing. WordPress website best practices. Digital marketing. Everything my clients needed, I wanted to give them an amazing, memorable service. I invested my time even when I had none!
The truth is that I was terrified of making a big financial investment. Maybe it’s my Cavan* upbringing, but I felt that spending money on my business was a huge indulgence. A waste even! “I can figure this out” I thought. “I can do it all alone”. So I continued invest my time until I was at the edge of burn out!
(*I’m from Cavan where have a mostly false reputation for being mean with money)
Then came Zoé, my baby girl. On the first of August 2016, she joined our family. My little Zozo! Her big blue eyes and porceIain skin. A good baby. A little sister to James. Our family is complete. I took my maternity leave, fully. Out of office. Out of inbox. OFF WORK!
I sent all my clients to trusted contacts without a second thought for my business. I took a breath for the first time in 3 years and found some much needed perspective.
When it was time to go back I knew that I couldn’t return to how things were. It was time to reclaim my life. Mama of 2 now, I had no spare time or energy left to invest so I invested money. I signed up with a business coach. I ran ads on social media. I created events.
It might seem obvious to you but it was a revelation to me at the time. Investing in business will show a return if you invest wisely. What an incredible discovery! Spending money instead of spending every hour of the day and night was actually MORE effective. More profitable.
- Working with a business coach was expensive but brought invaluable clarity and direction which meant I wasn’t wasting time on useless busy work anymore.
- Running expertly targeted ads meant that I could spend less time posting and commenting on social media for visibility. My online systems were bringing me clients while I was enjoying time with my kids!
- Running events meant that I got OUT OF THE HOUSE and met real live, three-dimensional human beings. I grew my network of friends in my new city and WOW, I didn’t realise how much I needed that!
Spending money on my business was a million miles out of my comfort zone. I was so nervous about it. But it paid off (phew!!) and is still paying off years later. My business and life are now unrecognizable. I have more control I get to work a 4-day week doing work I am genuinely excited to do. No more late nights and weekends working. When I’m with my family, I’m fully present. When I’m with my clients, I’m fully dedicated and focussed. Sure, there are some hectic times, but life is good.
2016, Montpellier (Baby #2)
Does any of this sound familiar?
If you’re in business for yourself, you’re probably a very resourceful person. If you’re anything like me, you like to be in control of all the areas of your business and understand how it all connects up. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that YES, you can make it work all alone, but you don’t have to. If you want to get your business working you can ask for help. You can pay for help. That investment will come back to you. Your time is too valuable to be tearing your hair out and wasting hours trying out random ideas that you saw on someone else’s site. You can earn the money back but you can’t get that time back.
How I can help
My work is all about helping you get leads and clients with your website consistently. Your website can literally be a lead generating machine that drives droves of leads your way every month. And the truth is, it’s not all that complicated. I’d love to hear more about your business and offer some guidance if I can. Should we set up a time to talk?
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