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If this then that [Impact Report August 2020]

If this then that [Impact Report August 2020]

If I make X each month, then I’ll give X to charity.

This is what I used to believe; that I had to make enough in order to give enough.

But this ‘if this then that’ thinking messed with me.

In my first few years of business, it didn’t even occur to me that I could use my business to ‘do good’. Yes, I wanted to make a difference to my clients but that was as far as I took my thinking. And in my early years of business, I just wanted to sell enough to make a good income and create a career that could fit around my young family.

As I started to write about True Profit Business and research how money, creativity and impact work together, I got interested in how business could genuinely do good, and not just as a thinly disguised marketing stint. However, I still stopped from taking any real action by my ‘if this then that’ thinking.

I just couldn’t get excited about giving a percentage of profits so any thoughts about wanting to contribute didn’t make it past the idea stage.

Then in 2019, I had a real shift. Thanks to the work of Alisoun Mackenzie and a deep dive into how to incorporate impact into my business at her Give To Profit conference, I came away realising that I had my giving statement all wrong.

Giving didn’t have to start when I had made ‘enough’.

Giving could start from where I was; right here, right now.

And what really got me excited into taking action was the idea that giving could become far more than a meaningless transaction.

Fast forward eighteen months and I am proud to give you my latest Impact Report.

Since May 2019, we have made $691.64 in donations, which has created 10,820 impacts broken down across these projects:

  • 4770 days of literacy and business training for women in Uganda
  • $156 to support wildlife affected by Australian bushfires
  • 5880 days of access to personal hygiene to girls in need
  • 14 days of business training program to women in Zambia

We support a new project every four months, which is voted for by our members in Momentum at the start of our new planning cycles. Each project has been selected to support the two United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that I believe will support my vision for the future:

  1. Gender Equality – the empowerment of women around the world to not only be safe but to have choices in how they live, work, contribute and lead.
  2. Responsible Consumption and Production – supporting businesses that choose to do good, be good and treat our planet with the respect that it deserves.

We make a donation every four months based on how many weekly Accountability Reports are submitted by our Momentum members.

No more waiting to see if there is enough profit in the pot at the end of the year. Just a simple count of reports at the end of each 90 Day plan which, thanks to the organisation www.B1G1.com, embeds our giving into our processes.

I love the fact that our giving is now based on activity, rather than sales, which has breathed life into our business impact for me. Plus there’s nothing like using an additional emotional reason to help keep our members motivated to post weekly Accountability Reports, which in turn helps keep me committed to my giving goals throughout the year!

Now this way of using client activity is not the holy grail of impact. There are lots of ways of how you could incorporate raising funds and supporting projects into your business.

What this process does is give me a business model that works for me, rather than have me working hard trying to work it. And that’s what I believe is key; having a process that excites you and inspires you to take action, rather than have an idea that never makes it past your to-do list.

If you are inspired by how you can create more impact with your business, get in touch. I’d love to know more about what you want to do and if I can help in any way.

Until next time, do less, be more and play bigger.

 

 

 

Wintering in a heatwave

Wintering in a heatwave

The heat has been vicious here over the past few days. Having been a teenage sun worshipper, I have now become a version of Patsy; floating around the house in my beach kaftan, sighing, “I like it hot, but not this hot.”

To make matters a little hotter, we are having an extension built.

The back out of our house is boarded up, blocking any form of breeze able to drift through. And with both front and back gardens full of cement boards, diggers and skips, there is no chance of finding a shady corner outside, either.

So this weekend, I found myself dragging a chair into our hallway to sit in front of the open front door, and gave myself permission to do nothing but read for two days.

The book I found myself immersed in for the whole weekend was Wintering; a story of how the author, Katherine May, learned to flourish when, as she calls it, life becomes frozen.

And yes, the irony of reading Wintering in the middle of a heatwave was not lost in me. 

As it turned out, it was the perfect book to read.

A client recommended it to me after we spent time together working through how she could build a business, without having to jeopardise her health. Our discussion took a deep dive into how important rest was. Together, we worked out how to develop a work rhythm that would allow her to sell enough to meet her money goals while avoiding the need to fight hard to keep up with it.

It seems to be me that rest is something that very few people feel good about taking. 

Over the past decade, our society has sped up to allow us to buy anything, chat to anyone, post online anywhere, 24 hours a day. Our patience to wait for things is no longer needed, which has no doubt impacted on the fact that patience with ourselves has been pushed aside, too.

I live in a country that not only has vast changes to our daylight hours throughout the year, from 16 hours in the summer to less than 8 hours in the winter but is also buffetted from our island’s ever-changing weather patterns. 

In a matter of days, we can go from clicking on our central heating system in the middle of June to wondering how much it would cost to run air conditioning for the few nights of the year that seem to cook us from the inside out. (Nothing like a slow roast when you are going through the menopause!) 

And yet it seems that us Brits do our best to homogenise our work patterns so that we can still go at it hard no matter how many hours of daylight we get in a day; no matter what the season is; no matter how tired we feel or what in life we are dealing with. 

We are conditioned to keep working at a pace because going slow would be wrong, yes? 

I fought rest for a long time.

I had images of laying on the sofa, watching TV and eating wotsits. What a waste of my time! I couldn’t possibly allow myself to do nothing. That would be so unproductive.

Rest was for sick people; people who were signed off by their doctor and needed to recover from a severe illness. Rest wasn’t for someone like me, who had things to achieve and goals to reach.

But over the years of learning how to slow down and let go of my over-achiever self, I have realised how powerful rest is. So when I got my hands on my Katherine May’s book, Wintering, I couldn’t put it down. I read it from cover to cover.

Not only does she tell her own story of recovery, but she also interlaces it with interviews and research of the power of winter; that point in your year where you shift down a few gears, rest and sleep more.

She writes “Transformation is the business of winter…  a cyclical metaphor for life, one in which the energies of spring can arrive again and again and again, nurtured by the deep retreat of winter. We are no longer accustomed to thinking in this way. We are instead in the habit of imagining our lives to be linear; a long march from birth to death in which we mass our powers, only to surrender them again, all while slowly losing our youthful beauty. This is a brutal untruth. Life meanders like a path through the woods. We have seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.”

Let’s face it. You’ve had your from-hell-and-back moments, haven’t you? 

The older and wiser we get, the more travelled our paths become. Whether you’ve lost a parent or a child; recovered from illness or an accident; dealt with bully bosses or redundancy; closed down a business or declared bankruptcy; had a divorce or broken heart; everyone has one, if not several, periods of life where you are put under extreme stress.

And as you grow older and you experience changes in your hormones and body, stress is often harder to deal with. Without real rest and recovery time, it layers upon previous stressful times until you find that you can no longer cope. 

And yes, your body has a way of making you stop if it needs you to!

How many of us have allowed us to truly winter?

To believe that resting and taking time out will allow your creativity and impact to form? Because, after all, Wintering doesn’t just happen in the winter season. Resting can happen at any time you need it. And often resting needs to occur BEFORE you think you need it. 

In Katherine’s concluding chapter, she writes “To get better at wintering, we need to address our very notion of time. We tend to imagine that our lives are linear, but they are in fact, cyclical. I would not, of course, seek to deny that we grow gradually older, but while doing so, we pass through phases of good health and ill, or optimism and deep doubt, or freedom and constraint.”

This is my hope for us all at this crucial point of 2020. 

As I write this, it is the middle of August, traditionally the month of holidays before we gear back up for the back-to-school busy-ness of September. Whether you have school-age children or not, we were all school-age children once upon a time so this energy of a new academic year is often inbuilt into many of us.

But the danger is that we, as a society, haven’t really and truly rested. Yes, we’ve had enforced lockdown and haven’t been allowed to go anywhere for weeks and weeks. But very few people seem to have really and truly found the time and space to process what has happened over the past few months. 

And let’s be clear, we have all been through catalytic changes to the way that we live and work. The levels of anxiety bubbling through our communities are running high, with many on alert, waiting for the latest breaking news to ping through on their phones. Not one person has been unaffected by what has happened this year.

It feels to me that the more we can allow ourselves time for a good wintering, the more chance we have to flourish and become our potential, rather than chase a version of ourselves born out of busy-ness.

Rest is not just for people who need to recover from an illness. Rest is a critical stage of our cycle of growth, both for ourselves as people and for our businesses. 

Rest doesn’t have to be sitting on a sofa, binge-watching the latest box set (although it could be). It doesn’t have to be sleeping all day (although it could be). Rest doesn’t have to be isolated time to yourself (although it often is). 

Rest can be your version of how you shift down your gears and take the time and space to breathe; to review and reflect; to ignore your phone and forget about what time it is.

Rest can be for an hour, for a day, even a whole month or longer.

Rest can be the opportunity to feel into your power; to ground your energy; to connect with who you are, where you can impact and what is it you desire.

Whatever version your rest becomes, one thing I know for sure is that rest has got to happen BEFORE you think you need it.

Who’s up for a bit of wintering in a heatwave? 

Until next time, do less, be more and play bigger.

 

 

Books Referenced:

Wintering by Katherine May

 

It’s growth, Jim, but not how we know it

It’s growth, Jim, but not how we know it

One thing you may not know about me is that I am an economics nerd.

I took Economics A Level at school, which was the nearest thing I could study to business due to the limited range of topics on offer.

Even back in 1987, the growth models taught just seemed to be outdated. If countries were going to continue to use GDP (Gross Domestic Product) as a measure of growth, at what point would the charts stop working? You couldn’t just keep going up and up each year, could you?

And this frustrated and bored me, hence my disappointing D grade!

When Freakonomics came out in 2007, I couldn’t put it down. It re-ignited my love for the subject and I came back to exploring and questioning what economic growth meant. But I still couldn’t get my head around the way our economic growth was measured.

Then in 2018, a brand new economics book came out; Doughnut Economic; Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist.

Have you read it?

I’m guessing that unless you are an economic nerd like me, probably not. It’s a great book, but it’s not exactly one of the must-reads of marketing or business books. But for me, OMG … I couldn’t put it down. This was what I had hoped my A-Level course could have focused on when I was 17.

Kate Raworth changed the goal from GDP to Doughnut; identifying how mainstream economics has led us astray by obsessing over growth at all costs, to offering a new model that “brings humanity into a sweet spot that meets the needs of all within the means of the planet’.

OK, great. That all sounds amazing, yes … but what the heck has it got to do with the likes of you and me?

Well, everything IMO.

This backdrop of macro-economics has contributed to our current business culture; work hard to get more.

Do more to get more.

But the good news is that I’ve started to feel the shift.

And I hope you have, too.

These past few months have been a catalyst for so much change … yes, with all changes there is often much discomfort (and sometimes a lot of pain). But the changes feel hopeful; especially in our business culture.

I am witnessing growth in more ways than just money in the bank and numbers of clients in a Facebook Group. Yes, more money is still necessary to many of us. But I’m seeing growth being measured in time spent with family and friends; in our health and fitness; in the impact and difference we can make to people’s lives.

These growth measures are no longer only seen fit for our social enterprises, charities and not-for-profits. They are growth measures fit for our commercial businesses, and the likes of you and me.

And this is what I call True Profit.

True Profit places you, your impact and your wellbeing at the heart of your business, while still recognising the importance of profit and cash flow.

I’d love to know how you are planning to measure your growth over the coming year. Rather than counting pounds in your bank or numbers of clients in a Facebook group, what growth is vital to you?

Until next time, do less, be more and play bigger.

 

 

Books Referenced:

Freakonomics: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Freakonomics-Economist-Explores-Hidden-Everything/dp/0141019018

Doughnut Economics: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Doughnut-Economics-Seven-21st-Century-Economist/dp/1847941397

True Profit Business: https://www.amazon.co.uk/True-Profit-Business-without-burning/dp/1788600843/

 

The ONE simple thing that will ALWAYS get things done in your business

The ONE simple thing that will ALWAYS get things done in your business

I’ve always run my business from my diary. If a meeting or call with a prospect goes into my diary, it happens. Simple.

It’s the same with my important ‘get done’ tasks. If they go into the diary, I treat them as I would a meeting or call with a prospect. I show up and they get done.

And it’s why whenever I plan out a marketing campaign, either for myself or one of my clients, I look for the opportunity of where the live events are. Not stuff like ‘launch date’ or ‘decide on the price’. I mean a live event where you have to show up in person.

For many marketing campaigns, there’s often an event; a workshop, masterclass, webinar or Facebook Live. You can discuss the pros and cons of running these events at different times and days of the week. But until the date is fixed, it difficult to get any real implementation energy behind the campaign.

The real traction starts from the moment when you get a date in your diary … and then start telling people.

Even if your next new product is an online one and you are not intending to be there ‘in person’ with your customers, always create the opportunity to run one, either in the building awareness stage of your marketing or in the selling and conversion part.

Yes, there are plenty of good marketing reasons to do this, including creating higher levels of engagements, but the truth is until a date for a live event where you have to show up is put in your diary, it’s really easy for a project like this to stay in the ‘I’d love to do’ stage.

Let me give you an example.

Yesterday I ran the first round of Pod calls for our new 90 Day Planning Cycle in Momentum. Two of the members were both in the same situation of discussing a new product they are launching in the next 90 Days.

One was a 12 week mastermind programme. The other was opening up a new membership community. There were a lot of details still to be worked out; the product names, onboarding logistics, price, payment plans, etc, etc. Both of them could spend the next 4 weeks working through all this … but we all knew that stuff was going to get in the way if there wasn’t a real ‘I’m showing up’ date in the diary to work towards.

Both of them had young children at home. Yup, not only are they both running a busy business but also home schooling two children each. The reality was that there was always going to be more pressing things that could potentially distract them, making it easy for them both to push milestones back.

Start from where you are and don’t try to work out all the details BEFORE you begin taking real action.

And, in both of these cases, the ignition needed to kick start both these projects was getting dates in the diary of when to run the live support sessions. Not think about doing a survey and asking their list when would be a good time to. But making a decision for what’s right for them, based on their current commitments.

If you are short on time, there are always things to distract you that feel far more urgent and important at the time than your new marketing campaign for your new programme, membership community or product.

If there’s no commitment from anyone else to show up on that day, then there’s a very good chance you’ll let yourself off the hook. And this is one of the BIG reasons why so many new product projects just don’t happen in so many businesses.

They stay in the ‘I’d love to do’ stage.

Once the dates are in the diary, making decisions about product names, pricing, processes … well, they are going to happen. The energy will HAVE to flow towards this project of yours. You’ll have to no choice but to be committed to the dates you’ve put in your diary to show at an event.

So I’d love to know what date you are going to put in your diary.

If you’ve got a marketing campaign or new product idea that’s been stalling over the past weeks, what event can you decide to run to ignite you into action?

Until next time, do less, be more and play bigger.

 

 

 

How I decided on which Impact Project to support

How I decided on which Impact Project to support

Last year I decided to align my business so it can become a real force for good and, in particular, in how I can contribute towards the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

(You can read about these SDGs here if you want to know more https://www.globalgoals.org/) 

One way I have decided to do this is to use the Accountability Reports that each of our Momentum members posts each week to donate to specific causes I want to support. I use an organisation called www.B1G1.com which allows me to give to charities easily through a process of “whenever we do this, we make something great happen in our world'”.

As of next week, I have decided to up the value of each accountability report from $1 to $2, which means for every Accountability Report they post over the next 90 days, they have the potential of helping me donate $408 by the end of August. 

There’s nothing like using an additional emotional reason to help keep our members motivated to post weekly Accountability Reports. Plus it helps keep me committed to my giving goals throughout the year! 

I have just decided on three projects that I would like to support and I’ve just asked my Momentum members to vote on the one we will be supporting for this next 90-day cycle.

And, I’ll admit … it was bloody hard to pinpoint three projects that I wanted to support this time around. 

With so much attention going on raising funds for our NHS right now, I got confused about where I should be focusing my impact right now. With so many charities needing our support at this current time, how do any of us decide who we support?!?

Should I be moving away from my SDG goals and B1G1 commitment, and switch?

We can’t support every charity. As much as we all like to give when we can, we just don’t have the funds to give to everyone, do we?

And yet if we stay undecided, we end up supporting no one. 

Wrestling with this dilemma this morning has made me realise why it’s important for us all to spend time to keep connected with the vision we have for the future. Our vision is our guiding light; our North Star if you like. 

And this morning I reminded myself of my vision. 

“Imagine a world where our global political and economic drivers are deeply connected to our spirituality and humanity; a world where money, creativity and impact are aligned to give us a planet where every person, animal and ecosystem thrives.”

Reading this again helped me see why I needed to continue to support the two SDGs that I believe will support my vision for the future: 

Gender Equality – the empowerment of women around the world to not only be safe but to have choices in how they live, work, contribute and lead.

Responsible Consumption and Production – supporting businesses that choose to do good, be good and treat our planet with the respect that it deserves. 

Once I reconnected with my vision again, the choice of what projects to present became easy. I was able to select based on my top-down criteria. 

These are the three projects I presented to my members today. Although your vote can’t be counted (Momentum members only, I’m afraid!), I’d love to know which project you’d vote for if you had to. 

And if you find the choice hard, I get it. Choosing who we support can be tough and I hope by sharing this story with you today it helps you make your decisions on who to give to and how to do it. 

The important thing I believe is that we DO make a decision. 

Because, if we stay undecided, we end up supporting no one.


Project 1: Train a Farmer in Sustainable Farming

Logging the rainforest is a dangerous job that takes you away from your family and compromises the water you depend on for life. Loggers in Indonesia know this but have no alternative livelihood. By teaching farmers sustainable farming techniques like crop rotation, using organic fertilizers and pesticides, these farmers no longer have to practice slash and burn agriculture, but can farm the same land year after year. Train one farmer in sustainable farming techniques and you will protect the rainforest and improve community well-being.

Project 2: Fund a Social Entrepreneur

Fund a social entrepreneur and help to make a change through financial support, which is inclusive of the start-up costs needed to set up a pilot initiative or business. Seed funding, especially the costs of setting up a pilot are critical in the early days of a start-up social entrepreneur. These entrepreneurs are primarily solving social problems around livelihood, education, health & wellbeing, environment, agriculture and waste management, leading to long-term solutions for problems occurring daily in India.

Project 3: Empower Women with Literacy and Business Skill

Five Talents is a microfinance organization that uplifts the world’s poorest families. Your support helps women build their own businesses through education, business training and access to financial services, which supports their families and entire communities – paving the way for a sustainable future. Poverty levels in Uganda are high, access to electricity and education are limited and the country relies heavily on agriculture. This project works with the community to address their specific needs and find ways to diversify their incomes.


Until next time,

 

 

 

 

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