How To Feel Comfortable In Your Business
Don't laugh - this stuff matters.
Come in and sit down. Here, take the big armchair by the fire. Give me those wet socks and put your feet up. Oh, go on. I’ll have these dry in a minute.
Here’s some hot chocolate and a blanket for your knees. What? Your knees look cold. Yes they do. Look, just take the blanket, okay?
I’m putting Midsomer Murders on. Let’s see who’s been shot by a crossbow, bludgeoned with a cricket bat, run over by a tractor, poisoned by mushrooms or pushed off a bell tower this week. I know you find it very soothing.
Do you need another cushion? How about a sandwich? I’ve got a new jar of pickled onions here. I know how much you like those.
Just relax for a while, alright? Get comfortable.
Now let me ask you this.
When was the last time you felt this comfortable in your business?
Have you ever been?
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you probably don’t put much of a premium on your own comfort. We know that to succeed we must work hard, make sacrifices, make difficult decisions, roll a hard six.
We arrange our lives so our businesses are best placed to grow, even if that means inconveniencing ourselves elsewhere. This might mean moving back in with your parents, borrowing money, putting off starting a family or neglecting to take a holiday for the last five years.
Maybe you reinvest all of your income back into your business.
Maybe you eat boiled eggs every night so you can afford the raw materials you need to make your lovely thing.
This is all very well, but here’s my question:
What are you getting in return for all this sacrifice?
It’s not okay for the answer to be “nothing.” Your business needs to reward you on a daily basis for the work you put into it. I’m serious.
Okay, that reward might not be in money – not yet, anyway – but that doesn’t mean there should be no reward at all. Yes, you have to work hard to make your business successful. Yes, that might mean choosing to put up with temporary discomfort in order to achieve your goal. But here’s the thing:
You’re a partner in this enterprise, not a slave.
Your business has a purpose in the world and a distinct life of its own. So do you.
Your business has needs. So do you.
Your business requires energy, support and resources to grow. So do you.
If you’re running a new business, you’re probably an expert in deferred gratification. You give more care and attention to your work than you do to yourself.
That means you’ve got wet socks on right now.
You might have had wet socks for so long that you’ve forgotten about them. You might think having freezing, aching feet is normal. That it’s just how things are. Well, I’m here to whip those socks off and put them in the washing machine.
In fact, here’s a brand new pair. They have a fluffy lining and little rubbery paw-prints on the sole so you don’t slip.
Now let’s look at how you can make yourself comfortable in your business right this very second. Can you do this?
1. Get yourself a decent chair.
One that doesn’t hurt you in unmentionable places and which supports your back.
2. Organise your work space
Even if that’s just the kitchen table. Spend a tenner and get a proper lamp. Put some motivational posters up if that’s your thing. Create a little inspiration board. Spend some time making your space welcoming, pleasant and easy to use.
3. Deal with persistent irritations.
Your cat/partner/mother might fall into this category but unless you have the funds to set them up on a remote island, focus on banishing other annoying stuff first.
This might be dealing with that software update your computer keeps pestering you about, or switching your energy provider to a cheaper deal. Maybe it’s creating some template emails so you don’t have to write everything from scratch all the time. Take a whole day and use it to ruthlessly dispatch the small but important tasks you’ve been meaning to do for months.
4. Buy yourself some flowers.
Just because you want them. I know this is revolutionary thinking.
I know this might actually mean spending some money on YOURSELF. Don’t faint, alright?
Here’s why you should do this. When you’re comfortable you work better. When you’re comfortable you can see new possibilities. When you’re comfortable you’re in a mutually-beneficial partnership with your business, not some messed-up master-slave dynamic.
But above all, and I mean this without a shred of irony or sarcasm:
You’re worth it.
You deserve comfort. We all do.
Hello, I'm Clare Holliday. I'm a shopkeeper who's helped thousands of creative people sell their work to stores, galleries and regular customers all over the world. Now it's your turn.