Marketing with your cycle

Marketing with your cycle

Have you ever considered the timings of your monthly cycle when planning your business or deciding when to launch your next programme or speak at an event?

(Yes, this article is written for women, but if you’re a guy with women in your team, please read on because this is a serious post and can be incredibly enlightening if you’ve never considered this in your business!)

Cycle tracking is becoming an everyday conversation, at least with our clients.

It’s one of the ways you can track how your energy flows naturally and responds to external influences, such as what food we eat and how we look after our bodies, and since doing a lot of research in this area and bringing it into the work that we do with our clients, I’ve seen that creating sustainable business success is more than a well-put-together business plan or marketing funnel.

Being aware of what affects your energy and how you approach certain decisions in your business can help you design, create and run your business so your work fuels you rather than burns you out.

Why track your monthly cycle?

If you’ve ever tracked your cycle, you’ll know your energies have ebbs and flows.

I’m now post-menopausal, so I no longer have a monthly cycle; I tune into different things to track my energy flow now. But in the last few years of menstruating, I tracked my cycle to help plan my marketing campaigns and promotional events as it became a helpful barometer to tune into my ebb and flow of emotions, creativity and periodic stuck-ness.

I started to be aware of the exact dates of my cycle when my husband and I decided to start a family (ah, those fun days of taking one’s temperature to confirm ovulation days!). But it wasn’t until my adrenaline reached boiling point and my system crashed back in 2012 that I started seriously to research my peri-menopausal symptoms. I began to track my monthly cycles again.

Tracking my emotional and physical changes throughout the month helped me make sense of what was going on inside of me; the feeling of being out of control one week focused and in flow the next, often followed by a severe energy crash, irrational mood swings and my inner critic shouting down any great ideas I had for my business.

In my experience, knowing where I’ve been in my cycle at any given point in my working week has helped me enormously over the past few years to deal with things that haven’t gone according to plan … as well as helping me realise I wasn’t going mad; I’m simply a woman!

The four stages of your cycle

Your cycle has four distinct stages, each affecting your energy, emotions and physicality.

Of course, not every woman has a regular 28-day cycle; we all have our unique pattern, sometimes so irregular that it’s hard to track. But if you are still in menstrual flow, the first step in taking this approach with your business is to track and record how you feel and what symptoms you experience.

Plenty of apps to choose from today include tracking your symptoms and moods, too.

If you prefer a ‘paper’ version, I have a brilliant 28 Day Energy Tracker here that you can download for free. 

Phase 1: Menstruation

Day 1 of your cycle is the first day of menses. I often found a massive sense of relief on this day, followed by a few days of general yuckiness, bloating and tiredness that worsened as I got older. It felt as if my body found it tougher each month to kick start the engine as I get closer to menopause each year.

Day 2 or 3 was a day I could have quite happily stayed in bed all day, and although walking and getting out and about brought relief, it was always vital for me to lower my pace and keep rested. I learnt from experience that to go full pelt during these days would have a knock-on effect of being knackered for weeks or even picking up a bug and getting ill. So, instead of pushing through with complex tasks, I leant back and took everything at a slower pace during these times. When I did this, it often turned out to be an incredibly productive time for me, as I pondered more, avoided making decisions and focused on creative projects such as writing, content and programme design.

Phase 2: Follicular

This phase usually lasts 7 to 10 days of your cycle, and it’s when your oestrogen and testosterone levels start to climb, getting you ready for ovulation.

I used to feel wonderful during this time, but as my peri-menopausal symptoms kicked in, the lack of oestrogen made this week tough for me for some months. It was often when I felt the most frustrated; I’d been used to surging ahead with plans and action-taking with my brain going full steam, but my body did not respond in this way in my last few years. And if I’d pushed through in my menstruation phase, I would feel a bit shit during this time!

Phase 3: Ovulatory

Lasting only a few days, your body produces your egg, and you may feel incredibly powerful; able to take on the world and say yes to everything.

It’s Mother Nature’s way of making you attractive to the opposite sex and ready to mate, of course, so this can be a fabulous time to run an event, negotiate with a new contract or even pick up the phone to prospect you’ve been putting off for an age.

Phase 4: Luteal

Typically lasting 12 to 16 days, this is the remainder of your cycle. Oestrogen and testosterone decline, and progesterone, the heat-inducing hormone, kicks in, preparing your body for a potential pregnancy. Often, you feel the most tired because Mother Nature is preparing you for ‘rest and nest’.

This phase can become an excellent time to brain dump to-do lists, clear up clutter and re-align yourself before taking action on any new projects or ideas.

And, of course, PMS can start to kick in towards the end of this last stage; from chronic back pain and stiff joints to raging anger and mood swings. So be aware that this can be a particularly stressful time to think straight or do projects such as the end-of-month accounting! So perhaps it is not the best time to reconcile your banking or respond to a negative comment on one of your Facebook posts.

What about you?

Every woman’s monthly cycle is unique to her. You will have your own symptoms and experiences; and some months go better than others. But the more aware you become of your cycle, the more effective and productive you can be in your business decisions and marketing activities.

And as marketing can be such an emotive part of your business, from deciding what price to sell at and whether to record a live video when all you want to do is climb into bed with a hot water bottle, here are some of the lessons I have learnt along the way of planning my marketing and my business around my cycles.

Lessons learnt from tracking my cycle

1. Stop beating yourself up

You can stop beating yourself up when you get frustrated something’s not working.

Being “on your period” is not about making excuses but when you are aware of how your body is responding to which hormones you are producing, it can clarify why you may be screaming at your laptop for deleting your file (because, quite obviously, it had nothing to do with you!).

2. Give yourself a break when you need it

You can give yourself a break when your body needs it most and plan to deliver your best work when you are at your best.

Planning a two-day event in the fourth week of your cycle may not the best time if you’re contending with stomach cramps and irritability so if you have control over your work calendar, choosing days in your follicular weeks could allow you to rock your best work in front of an audience.

3. Stop taking yourself so seriously

Nothing … and NOTHING … is more irritating than someone (AKA your partner) asking you if you’re PMSing … when you are PMSing.

I would often head this off at the pass once I became aware of my mood swings. When I got that first sign of irritability, I was off to check my period tracker, and then tell my husband and my children that I was on the way. I found that I could laugh about it if I were the one to bring it up first … funny how that happens!

4. Take days off when you need them

Running your own business gives you the enormous benefit of controlling your diary, so don’t make it more difficult for you or your team members than it needs to be. If you have a particularly bad PMS or find it tough on other days of your cycle, factor those days into your working calendar. Your body and brain will thank you for it when you come to your productive days, and you can turn up the energy dial.

In corporate life, taking a sick day for bad period pains can be challenging to negotiate, especially if it’s as regular as clockwork and it’s the same day of every month. Plus, trying to explain in a board meeting why your brain fog is so thick and why you have no idea why your sales figures are down this month may not go down well. However, I remember one lady who worked as a Communications Director for a small company. She began to add her cycle in her work diary after a conversation with me about his topic so she and her team could see her predicted cycle. This may be one step too far for you, but I believe the more we normalise our normal cycles as women, the better support we can get from others.

5. Get braver on your brave days

This was a game-changer for me!

Add this cycle time to your diary if you know you’re raring to go during your follicular week. Plan your sales days during this time. Or your business planning or creation of a new programme. Let Mother Nature help capitalise on these days and help you do your best work.

Making periods part of the business conversation

This topic of periods and hormonal cycles is incredibly important, and although it is easier to bring this topic up than it was a decade ago, I wish more people, men and women, could discuss this in the context of business.

As we grow into a more feminine world and more female leaders rise to the top, this topic must be discussed openly to enable us to develop and grow our businesses without burning out.

If there is one thing I’d love you to take action from reading this article, if you don’t already, it is that you start to track your cycle.

It can be as simple as writing in a journal, or if you prefer a piece of tech, then there are plenty of period tracker apps you can get for your phone (you get the added benefit of the apps automatically calculating your future due dates based on your cycle dates).

Or download my free 28 Day Energy Tracker.

Self-awareness is powerful; gathering evidence, rather than wondering what is going on with your energy roller coaster, can give you specific patterns to look out for and help you plan your marketing WITH your menstrual cycle rather than run your business against your natural ebb and flow.

For those who already track your cycle, I’d love to know what you do in your business and marketing plans to consider where you are during the weeks.

Leave a comment below. Do you plan your business around your dates already? Or has this article made you think about how you could?

Until next time,



POST EDIT: Originally published 17th January 2009. Updated and republished 5th March 2024.


The top 4 work boundaries to increase your profitability and avoid burnout

The top 4 work boundaries to increase your profitability and avoid burnout

As a woman of a certain age, I’ve grown wise to the fact that two things are most precious to us: time and energy

But we can often spend our whole lives giving them away without a moment’s thought.

When we feel we have lots of time and energy, we can take them for granted.

But when we don’t have much of either, we grind along, working to other people’s schedules and demands. They exist as a finite resource for everyone, no matter where you live, and yet we can’t make more of either of them when we run out.

They are the most valuable resources we have in our lives and businesses, and yet without some fundamental boundaries in place; we will under-value them and give them both away to anyone who demands them of us, without recognising the need to use them first on ourselves and what’s important to us.

In my 20s and 30s, I often felt I had boundless amounts of both. If I felt tired, I would grab another cup of coffee. If I were hungry and didn’t have the energy to cook a meal, I would throw a ready meal in the microwave or eat a sandwich on the run.

We could do that then, couldn’t we? Without much thought to the consequences or long-term impact.

But as I woke up to my 40s, kicking off the decade with a young family (2 kids just 22 months apart), reeling from losing my dad to cancer and a business to run, my time and energy resources were suddenly depleted.

That coffee fix or sandwich on the run didn’t quite do the job as it had in my 20s, and I spent most of that decade crawling my way through quite extreme peri-menopausal symptoms, over-worked adrenals and wearing my Superwoman cape to get by every day.

But what has all this got to do with business?

There’s a magic word that I want to share with you that has become one of the most essential strategies to my business growth and comes up repeatedly in our coaching conversations with our clients.


Without boundaries to protect and fuel your time and energy resources, you will often end up working like a ‘busy fool’, as one of my clients called herself before we began working together. You may be making money, but the amount of hours you put in and the money you pay yourself at the end of each month doesn’t feel worth it.

In this article, I’d like to share the top 4 work boundaries I’d recommend you have in place to increase your profitability and avoid burnout.

1. Hours Worked

What hours are you prepared to work?

Very few clients I have worked with have ever stopped to think about how their ideal week could look; they have allowed their weekly routine to be shaped by what their business gives them.

When you started your business, your work diary probably looked very empty. It’s not until you begin marketing, start working with clients and become able to attend various events or conferences that you find your diary getting booked up. Meetings are being scheduled to suit other people. You don’t consider the preparation or rest time you need between appointments. Your once-open diary is now pulling you apart; you’re wearing your busy badge of honour, and you don’t have the time to focus on projects that could grow your business.

The irony of time management is that you can’t manage time; you can only manage yourself.

To stop this, I’d recommend you take a breath and work out your ideal week. If a week feels too routine for you and you imagine different things happening at other times of your working month, change the time frame to an ideal month.

Here is a list of questions to help you define your ideal week.

  • My ideal working week starts on …
  • What would I do on my first working day to set the right tone for my week?
  • How would I spend the other days? (For example, are certain mornings or afternoons important to keep clear for certain activities?)
  • My favourite day of the week is … and this is the reason why …
  • The days and hours I want to work with my clients are …
  • I am most in flow during this time …
  • What I love to be spending most of my time doing is …
  • Who I want to be spending more of my time with is …
  • When I am not working, I want to be … (This question is crucial for those of you who don’t have other commitments, such as family members to look after, to pre-determine your working hours. It can be far harder to switch off from work when you only have yourself to be committed to, so decide what you want to do when you are not working.)
  • How I want to feel at the end of my ideal week is …
  • What do I want to do or achieve daily?
  • What do I want to do or achieve weekly?
  • What do I want to do or achieve monthly?
  • What are you not prepared to sacrifice? (Are your Fridays sacred? Do you have to pick up children every day at 3.30 pm? Are you happy to work during the weekends but you have to have two days off during the week? Decide what time you aren’t prepared to give away so you can set those boundaries in place now and avoid frustration or resentment at a later date.)

Once you have answered these questions, could you decide what changes you can make to your scheduling and working hours? Do you need to block out certain mornings or afternoons for routine activities, such as content creation or team meetings?

If you cannot make any immediate changes, at what point can you introduce this new schedule? Can you add this to your diary right now?

You control who and what takes your attention during your working week. Some may not feel this is the case, especially if you are fully booked with clients for the next weeks or months. But when you decide what’s important to you in spending your time, you set the necessary boundaries to create the space to grow. You will realise that the right clients will want to work with you when you are available rather than you being dictated by their schedules.

2. Capacity Available

What is your capacity and availability for taking on new clients?

I often hear business owners asking for more clients, but they haven’t stopped to consider how many clients would give them a ‘full’ business. Think of your business like a hotel booking sheet. A hotel will have a finite number of rooms to sell for every day of the week. No matter what you sell, you will find an optimum level of clients, products, or programs you can sell while maintaining the service level you want to give.

If you choose to maximise your sales and compete on price (AKA always sell at lower prices because you feel it’s easier for you to sell), you are going to find this a challenging marketing strategy; competition is going to be tight, and you have to ensure you have the distribution channels or delivery systems in place to keep up with the demand.

For most of you reading this, you will have better success in optimising your sales and deciding how many clients or customers you can serve in any one week or month. By doing your sales numbers this way, you can work your charge rates back from here once you’ve decided how much you want to earn and thus set your boundaries on how many clients you can effectively onboard each week, month or quarter. This simple exercise can radically change your profitability overnight, and if you need help working this through, get in touch.

Please email me at [email protected], and I’ll happily arrange for one of our coaches to talk you through the process and help assess your profitability options.

3. Communication Channels

Technology is a double-edged sword; it’s made communicating and corresponding with clients and prospects more accessible than ever … but that’s also meant that you are in danger of managing multiple platforms, never being able to follow a message trail, and constantly switching on.

The first rule of communication is that you DON’T have to be everywhere or have every messaging app switched on at all times.

Yes, your clients may have their preferences, but if you allow them to communicate with you on their messaging channel of choice, you will let your precious time and energy run out each day. You decide which communication channel(s) you want to use and set your working hours.

For example, you may want to only use email for all communications on the projects you are working on, and you promise to respond within one working day or the same day if you get their email before 2 pm. And for all quick messages or check-ins before meetings, you keep your WhatsApp between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday through Thursday.

Over the years, I have had many clients complain of having to answer WhatsApp messages on Sunday mornings or late at night. But the truth is that they have allowed that relationship to happen because they didn’t have clear communication channel boundaries set up at the start of their relationship.

If these boundaries slip as the relationship goes on (as often is the case if a client forgets or gets comfortable with working with you and treats you as they would any other team member), you can remind them of the original agreement and reset the boundary again.

For those of you who run a business that serves hundreds of customers online, the same principle applies to customer support and help desks. Could you clarify what support your business offers and when so your customers know what is expected? Lousy customer support happens when there are no clear communication boundaries set up, and the customer will ALWAYS have higher expectations of response than you can give them. So, avoid this from happening by setting clear expectations upfront.

4. Holidays & Time Off

Last but not least is the need for holiday boundaries. I see only a few self-employed business owners rarely plan their holiday times.

If employed, you would automatically get 20+ days of holiday a year. And yet, when most people want to work for themselves because of the freedom of choice, they rarely take holidays. The irony!

For many, holidays and time off are forced upon you, either by kids’ school holidays or you end up booking a week off just as you reach breaking point and the holiday becomes a necessity before you keel over in exhaustion.

Holidays and days off need to be planned.

Without this, you will keep working and working and working. Set the boundaries now, and look ahead over the next 12+ months and decide which days you want to set clear for holidays.

You don’t have to book anywhere, nor do you need to decide what you want to do with that time off. But without blocking these days out in your diary, you will automatically fill up the space with more work and more work. I have to do this myself every 3 or 4 months, on top of our family holiday time. If I didn’t block out chunks of 2 or 3 days around the flow of our business, I would keep on trucking, which I know is not suitable for me over a long period.

What Now?

These four boundaries may be just the foundation for you to work on more, depending on your business model and how you work with your clients. But if you have found yourself working like a ‘busy fool’, starting with these will hugely help shift your patterns of work and help reclaim your time, energy, and precious resources.

Now that you’ve read through this, I recommend you schedule the time to work through each. You will need time and energy to do this, a clear space to think and reflect on what’s important to you. Some of you will think you won’t have the time, but this will be because you need to have the proper boundaries for yourself and your business. You need to take this critical time out to avoid keeping those wheels spinning.

If you are super busy, start with a small slot of just 20 minutes – just the right amount of time to sit down with a cuppa – and work through the first one, Hours Worked. This is the most doable one to put into place, especially if you start to change your schedule two months hence. This may not make an immediate difference, but if you do, you will thank yourself for your forward thinking in just two months!

If you would like to know more and want help with how you shape the way you run your business, then I invite you to join me on my next live Ignite Workshop. It’s a great place to learn more about how business can work FOR you rather than have a business that works you into the ground.

Check out the next dates and book your place. 

And if you know someone else who needs to read this article, please share it with them. You could be saving their health and sanity!



How to choose the right business model (and why 80% of your profession are doing it wrong!)

How to choose the right business model (and why 80% of your profession are doing it wrong!)

Have you ever stopped to think why you run your business the way you do?

Most people have ended up with their current model based on one of two reasons;

  1. It’s because it’s what everyone else in your profession is doing
  2. You’ve followed advice to teach you what is the most profitable or easiest to run

Running your business like everyone else

First, you may have the same business model as everyone else in your profession, not because of choice but because you don’t know any better. There’s no judgment here; what you don’t know, you don’t know. You may have spent a lot of time learning about marketing and getting clients, but you’ve probably never given much thought to how to design, set up and run your business.

Doing what everyone else in your profession does has its upsides because you know what works already. Why reinvent the wheel? However, there is a big problem with this. Just because most of your colleagues or competitors run their business in a particular way doesn’t necessarily mean they are all doing it correctly.

But … 80% of your profession are doing it wrong

If we take the Pareto Principle, which statistically proves that 80% of output comes from 20% of input, then we could theorise that 80% of the success in your profession comes from just 20% of businesses in that profession.

If we flip this the other way, 80% of businesses in your profession create just 20% of the output.

Hmmm …

Let’s stop and think about this and wonder how true this is.

Could we conclude that no matter which profession or business sector you operate in, too many people seem to be struggling? Look around at the faces at your next networking event or industry conference; how many of those businesses would you say are flourishing?

The reality is that many are experiencing one or more of the following:

  1. Overwhelm; procrastination over marketing initiatives and new product ideas because busy-ness is taking over the day-to-day, and there’s no space to work creatively on projects that will grow the business
  2. Overworked; stuck in the never-ending to-do-lists and client delivery
  3. Underpaid: competing on price and charging by the hour or the time spent with clients, which often leads to over-delivery and doing far more than initially promised to try and keep clients happy

This paints a pretty depressing picture, especially if you realise you may be in this average 80%!

What about the top 20% of your profession?

Are they creating 80% of the output?

There will be, of course, all sorts of reasons for the success of these top 20%, and yes, there is every chance that they are using technology to create massive growth advantage opportunities to allow them to stand out as leading experts in your profession.

You’ve probably already seen colleagues and competitors create new ways of sharing their expertise. From expanding their offerings to serving groups of clients, large and small, through to creating digital content and cutting-edge use of AI, the opportunities to do something ‘different’ and grow the number of clients you work with are open to you if that’s what you want.

This leads me to the second instance, where many of you may choose your business model based on what’s been taught to you as the most profitable or easiest to run.

Running your business because you’ve been taught this is the way that will make you the most money

The internet became mainstream in the late 1990s, changing our lives. When I started my first business in 2004, email marketing and blogging began emerging for small businesses. When the doors opened to mainstream social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, digital growth skyrocketed and advances in technology today, don’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down.

Unsurprisingly, the explosion in selling digital content since 2015 has led to tens of thousands marketing experts teaching digital ways of making money and growing a business from your laptop on the beach, particularly within the consulting and coaching professions.

Because technology has been the reason for the success of a lot of businesses which are very visible online, it’s easy to get sucked into believing that digital is the only way to grow a business.

But this is simply not the case.

Many marketplaces are now flooded with digital offerings that it’s hard to break in and claim your space, especially when so much of the content can be of poor quality. Your client base may already begun to distrust this form of learning or support. I am sure you have already experienced digital learning and Zoom fatigue over the past few years.

You also have to consider that plenty of businesses in this top 20% bracket are running different or more traditional business models. You may not even realise they exist because you don’t get to see their marketing campaigns or brand presence on your Facebook or Instagram feed.

I remember a client told me once that she was impressed by the number of people I would attract at my live training events despite her needing to see more marketing about it. She wasn’t seeing it because I wasn’t targeting her; she was already my client. So be aware that there is plenty of success around you that you are not even aware of; because it’s not being marketed to you, you don’t see it.

Let’s get honest about how it is to run a top 20% business.

On paper, you may have a business that is well within your profession’s top 20%, especially if you are measuring its success on key performance indicators such as turnover, market share or social media followers. But, if you are a regular reader of my blogs and articles, the reality of trying to run a business in the top 20%, measured in this way, is that it may be burning you out.

If you feel you may be getting burnt out by trying to run a business in the top 20%, you will probably be experiencing one or more of the following:

  1. You’re overwhelmed; you’ve stepped up and created your expert status but don’t like the visibility and constant pressure to perform.
  2. You’re overworked; you can’t keep up with what you’ve promised your clients and can’t come up for air long enough to hire the right people to help you grow.
  3. You’re underpaid; your turnover may be great, but there’s not much left for you once you’ve paid your team, advertising invoices and running costs.

Again, another depressing picture, perhaps.

But you won’t be the only one to have created a business that is burning you out because this practice of growing a business based on following someone else’s formulas and business model is rife.

This is why I want you to see the possibilities available by a business model that allows your business to give you the time, money and energy you want and not have it running you into the ground.

You have a choice.

It may be that you are still looking for a formula to follow because you don’t know which direction you should be going in. And creating a formula for your success is what I want to help you with, but based on a choice that gives you the freedom to grow.

You have a choice on what business infrastructure, processes and team to have in place to give you the right business to help you achieve your creativity, purpose and money aspirations to be your authentic self, do good in the world and make money in the process.

You can choose the design, setup and how you run your business based on how you want success to look for you, just the way you can decide on the right car to drive every day.

Choosing which car to drive is similar to choosing what kind of business to run

Choosing which car to drive is similar to choosing what kind of business to run

There are so many different types of cars on the road because each of us has another reason for choosing our mode of transport and to varying stages of our lives.

Starting out, you’ll probably drive any car you can afford, a small hatchback, or even stick to your bike, especially if you live in a city. Families may drive a big SUV. Some may like fast cars. Others choose their mode of transport based on environmental impact and may even decide they don’t want to own a vehicle and instead use Uber or rental cars for longer journeys.

No one car is right for everyone.

And so it is with your business model.

You can decide on several different business models, but that’s not to say you have to pick just one.

You’ll likely decide you want a hybrid, like many electric cars are entering the market. But a word of caution here: be careful of mixing in too many as you may be in danger of creating a convertible SUV that runs on pedal power; no matter how innovative that may be, you’ve got very little chance of getting it off your driveway!

There’s every chance your business model will also change and evolve as you go on your business journey, just as a couple may swap their compact convertible for an SUV when they begin their family, or a city dweller who relies on their bike may realise they need a car when they move out to the suburbs.

As you and your business grow, you may develop new skills or be attracted to new marketplaces and audiences. You will also stretch your thinking over the years and imagine more significant and different opportunities as you grow confident and shift many limiting beliefs.

So, it’s essential to know that your choice of business model becomes part of your longer-term thinking. You may even need to swap your small hatchback for that super fast sports car quicker than you thought if your business takes off!

If you would like to know more and want help with how you shape the way you run your business, then I invite you to join me on my next live Ignite Workshop. It’s a great place to learn more about how business can work FOR you rather than have a business that works you into the ground.

Click here to see the next dates and book your place. 

Meanwhile, I hope this has helped you step back from doing what 80% of your profession does or try to work hard to follow the latest marketing formulas and digital trends.

Has this opened your eyes to realising that you can grow a business to suit you and how you work best?

Until next time,




3 essential pillars of successful business planning that prevent burnout and pave the way for sustainable success

3 essential pillars of successful business planning that prevent burnout and pave the way for sustainable success

It’s easy to get caught up in busy; the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life and business.

Finding the time for strategic planning can be challenging, especially if you are a busy consultant or coach who manages work around a family or eldercare.

And yet, if you don’t find the time and space to plan for your business, you are in danger of getting stuck on the busy treadmill, heading for burnout. 

If you have been woolly about your business planning over the past few years and beginning to feel exhausted by work, then this is for you.

In this article, I want to share the three essential aspects of planning that are often overlooked and can help prevent burnout: setting money goals that mean something to you, defining your joy metrics, and reviewing your time and energy flows.

Setting Money Goals That Mean Something

Let’s start with setting money goals that mean something to you.

Most clients we work with tell us they are rarely motivated by money. Yes, they need an income and would like to have more money to enjoy their lives more, but they don’t like to set money goals because they tell us it’s not what motivates them on a daily basis.

And when they do feel they ought to set a money goal, they pluck a figure out of the air or default to the infamous ‘6-figure’ goal.

Without clear money goals that mean something to you, you can drift from year to year, taking whatever work comes your way.

1. Work out your ‘need income’ and ‘enough income’

Consultants and coaches often only focus on setting big money goals income, which can frustrate them when they don’t get it. It’s like one of those 6-figure goals that get thrust down our throats as an approved sign of success; you may have felt great when you first came up with it, but years later, when you still haven’t achieved it, you feel frustrated and lose your confidence.

Knowing your minimum ‘need income’ is – what you need to live on – and your ‘enough income’ – what would make you happy and give you a better lifestyle – not only helps manage your expectations and emotions but also means you make better commercial decisions about your prices and sales targets.

2. What do you need to sell in order to give you the income you want?

Your business revenue isn’t your income, yes? You have costs and taxes to pay before spending any hard-earned sales.

But knowing this logically is one thing; it is easy to forget this amid a busy month, especially if you are self-employed or selling your time for money.

Ensuring you know what your monthly revenue needs to be to give you both your ‘need income’ and ‘enough income’ helps you manage your expectations and set realistic sales targets so you know how much is enough to get you what you want.

You may even realise there’s less to do than you think needs doing to achieve it!

We love it when this happens with our clients; it’s easy to over-complicate business and work harder than you think you need to.

3. Review your costs and monthly outgoings

Money can leave your business as quickly as you bring it in at times if you don’t keep a close eye on your figures. So, when looking at money goals, this is a great opportunity to run through all your regular expenses and subscriptions and make sure you are still using them or they are adding value to what you do.

Cancel anything that you aren’t using or won’t help you move your business forward, and this will instantly improve your profit margins without getting more clients!

4. Review your prices

Again, this is a great opportunity to review your charge rates and prices. You must give your current clients notice if you need to increase your prices. So review now and prepare for a price increase if it needs to happen.

Working on your money goals can throw up all sorts of emotions and feelings, especially if you don’t feel you have a good relationship with your money (and yes, this is very common, so you aren’t alone!).

But don’t stick your head in the sand and tell yourself you’re too busy to do money goals. 

Even if you aren’t motivated by money, your business needs money goals to be able to give you a simple, less stressful work week; otherwise, you work harder than you need to get what you want.

So, if you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for your health and well-being!

Setting Your Joy Metrics

Let’s dive into the next cornerstone: defining and setting your Joy Metrics. 

While money goals are important, what’s the point if you are stressed and miserable trying to achieve them?! 

It’s why so many of us left jobs to start our own businesses; we wanted to have more control over our time and who we wanted to work with and make a difference in the process. Yes?

This is why I believe it’s equally vital to prioritise your well-being and happiness in your business planning.

Joy metrics came up recently for one of our Momentum members.

Kaye had just renewed her one-year membership and had spent the first year of Momentum getting to grips with her business numbers and money flow. Going into her second year, I saw how much pressure she was still putting on herself, and I asked her whether it was time to measure her joy, too.

Tracking your finances can feel heavy at the best of times, and it can be easy to lose sight of how important happiness and enjoyment are to you if you let money pressure build-up.

So, how do you measure something like joy to help you in your business planning?

1. Identify what specifically brings you joy

Reflect on your past few weeks and identify what parts of your business and life have brought you the most joy and fulfilment. 

Is it your impact on clients, the quality of your work, or how your week flows?

And if you can’t see many joyful parts over the past few weeks, go back to a time when you did feel joy in your work and ask yourself what has been missing recently.

2. Set your joy scores

Identify the top 2 or 3 things that bring you joy and write out your definition of what a 10/10 score would look like for each one, as well as a 1/10 score. You want to quantify and qualify each extreme score to give you a benchmark from which to measure.

Don’t worry about ‘getting this right’ … this will be very personal to you, so trust yourself to do what you feel is right. Everyone will have different answers depending on what’s important to them.

3. Regularly assess your Joy Metrics

As often as you track your business numbers and money flow, measure your joy for each one on a score of 10. Yes, this will be subjective, but if you consistently measure against a perfect 10 score and a horrid 1 score, you should be able to see what’s improving for you.

When you can measure your joy in this way and be able to add up and compare scores across the coming weeks alongside your business numbers and money flow, you will have some clear data to help see where and what you need to improve on to set yourself up for success next year.

Managing Your Time & Energy Flow

Let’s move on to the third cornerstone of your time and energy flow.

Time and money are your two most precious resources.

You CAN NOT make more time and energy … nor can you manage them.

What you can do, though, is manage yourself and regulate your pace of work.

1. BIG Events

First, look at where your BIG events are coming up over the next year; what will you need to be on top form and feel great for? Perhaps you are moving house or have one of your children leaving home for University or changing schools. Maybe you are predicting that you may have to step up and take on more care for one of your parents.

And with work, what BIG projects are coming up? Are you planning to write a book or launch a new programme, or have you scheduled some big keynote talks in your diary?

Knowing what BIG events will likely happen will allow you to take this next step …

2. Time Block

Add buffer days and down weeks to your diary now. I do this in my own diary at the start of every planning cycle, including blocking out Bank Holidays and holiday time.

For example, I have a big business exhibition in a few months, so I’ve blocked out the rest of the week as I know I will be exhausted from being on my feet all day. 

You may need to take three weeks out at the start of next September to help your child move to Uni; block this out in your diary now.

3. Energy Tracking

Thirdly, start getting conscious of how your energy naturally flows. This is particularly important for women whose natural hormone cycles run over 28 days and yet work 24-hour day cycles, expecting to have the same productivity every day of every month.

Consistent productivity isn’t something we can hope to achieve, so knowing how your body naturally ebbs and flows throughout the months can greatly impact how you plan your weeks.

I liken this to opening up your weather app to find out what shoes to wear; it’s not a perfect prediction, but it helps you prepare for the worst and not get caught in a downpour in your best suede boots!

If you want help, I created a brilliant 28-Day Energy Tracker for my Ebb & Flow® programme. You can get a copy here.

So, how do you feel about business planning now? 

Setting these money goals, your Joy Metrics and beginning to take steps to manage your energy flow, will all help you flow more elegantly throughout your year and avoid burnout.

And, I hope, will help you find more meaning in your work and pave the way for long-term sustainable success. 

5 Small Business Trends You’ll Want to Jump on Board With in 2024

5 Small Business Trends You’ll Want to Jump on Board With in 2024

There’s always a lot of talk at the start of each new year of business trends and predictions.

But in recent years, so many are focused only on technology and speed.

Yes, there’s no doubt that technology has imploded in recent years, especially with the advancement in AI, but it feels to me that we are unnecessarily speeding up an economy and the way that we live our lives that is already spinning too fast for most of us to handle.

I want to shine the light on the small business trends that will help us slow down; to go at a pace that helps build deeper relationships, stronger resilience and enhance our joy we get from our work.

Here’s are the five small business trends that I see ready to fly this year …

1. Simplifying how you do business

We have had an implosion of digital tools in recent years, all designed to increase our reach, speed up our marketing and make it possible to do almost anything online.

But this has meant we have lots of ‘should do’ and ‘must do’ stuff marketed at us, particularly with the surge of AI ‘productivity’ tools.

We don’t have to have funnels to have a successful business.

And yes, you can decide to only work face-to-face or have a local business serving local people if this is what makes you happy.

Over-complication is out … simplification is in.

2. Happiness goals will trump revenue goals

We operate in a push-drive economy where progress and achievement is measured by 5-figure months or 10X-ing your income.

And this is often pushed upon us by people who can work like this, all the time.

But most of us can’t sustain our energy or motivation to work like that, especially if you are in your 40’s, 50’s or beyond.

This is how I tried to operate in my 40’s. I worked with mentors who incredibly successful, but they were teaching me ways of doing business that weren’t suited to me; they just burnt me out.

Happiness goals may not be seen as sexy as achieving 7-figure success, but this is changing and we are going to see more people celebrating businesses that give them joy and sustainability over big money goals.

3. Health goals will be critical to your financial success

Taking a ‘Health First’ approach will be more important than ever as we enter 2024.

There are positive signs that our economy is going to improve, but probably not until 2025 … and there’s a good possibility of a change of government later this year which could spin things further.

Keeping your head down and taking a ‘just work harder’ approach is not going to work anymore, which is why we are going to see more business owners incorporating health goals into their business plans.

We’ve been doing this with our clients for the past four years and the difference to their results has been amazing.

4. Small will become more attractive

When you look at business growth strategies, they often come with words such as scale, double or bigger. Business growth doesn’t always have to be measured in financial terms.

Look for other ways to measure your growth if you are very happy to stay small.

And staying small doesn’t mean you have to play small, and if working less hours or working with less clients or finding work that less stressful is important to you, 2024 is a brilliant year to celebrate your smallness as more people will want the personal, human relationship that small can give them.

5. Experience over transaction

Our High Streets were beginning to die way before 2020; the lockdowns simply accelerated the process that was already happening because of the ease and increased trust of buying online. But as most of us move over to the likes of Amazon for our every-day transactional buys, the demand for experiencing products and services have been steadily rising since we started to value human exchange and relationships again, and some food stores are even beginning to bring back cashiers again and doing away with the self-service tills.

The same trends are happening in the world of small business.

Whilst there will always be need for transactional buying for commodity services such as accountancy, HR, legal, coaching, marketing support and the like, we are craving more human experiences and a deeper connection for longer term services and human-led programmes.

Finding ways for your clients to access more of you without burning you out, and thinking about how to wow your clients with onboarding and customer service support, will grow you from strength to strength as we move away from recession in 2025 and your clients have bigger budgets again.

Which ones resonate with you?

Have you experienced any of these already in your business?

If you want to discuss how you bring any of these (or all of these!) into your business this year, I invite you to schedule a free call to talk through your plans for the year ahead.

No time to business plan? It may be that your brain is overloaded.

No time to business plan? It may be that your brain is overloaded.

Are you an over-thinker? Does your brain only know how to solve short term tactical problems?

One of the biggest barriers to growing my own business over the years hasn’t been because I didn’t have enough clients, or good enough products, or even enough time; it’s because I lacked the mental clarity and the space to think strategically.

Over the past 18 years of running my own coaching and training businesses, I have been working around my family. My children are now 20 and 22, but I won’t forget those crazy school day schedules in a hurry. My head was always full of to-do-lists.

What to cook for dinner, and did I have enough in the fridge or did I have to stop off at the supermarket on the way back from pick-up? What are they going to wear for World Book Day next week? Did they have the right trainers for hockey season? (and why do they need different sports shoes for every different sport FFS?!) … the lists never stopped.

This mental ticking off carried over into my business.

I had trained my brain to think in short term decision making and although this meant I was a very good problem solver, this wasn’t helpful for thinking about my business growth.

I was often knee-jerking from one product launch to the next and I would get bored of a programme or a workshop and want to do something new, even when what I was promoting was working really well, and I spent my week making tactical decisions and reacting to what was coming into my inbox.

And I know I am not alone.

Whether you are a parent or not, this kind of mental overloading happens regularly with service professionals such as trainers, coaches and consultants. Because you are often working directly with clients and you are good at solving their problems, you are giving a lot of your time to each new piece of work or proposal that comes in.

And even if you think you can solve this by trading your time with online products and digital programmes, if you are a natural over-thinker, as well as good at what you do and clients keep buying from you, you will still do a lot of tactical thinking and reacting to everyday problems that keeps your mind focused on the here-and-now.

So how did I shift and create the mental space for strategic thinking so that I could make the time for business planning and spotting the right opportunities for growth.

Firstly, I had to recognise that getting better at time management wasn’t the solution.

If your brain is trained to be solving short term problems and you get a buzz out of a busy delivery week, there’s every chance you will make yourself more efficient at getting stuff done, rather than creating the space needed for strategic thinking.

Secondly, I began to address my working week rhythm’s and flow. To begin with, I couldn’t simply plug in a whole day to take off for business planning; my diary was booked out for weeks and it seemed that I didn’t have the time. The trick I discovered was to block out days out for thinking ‘on’ the business 6 weeks or more in advance, and this has become my go-to advice for everyone since.

Go to the point in your diary when you have spaces in your delivery calendar – and yes this may be two months or more – and block out two or three days. Don’t worry about what you are going to actually do during this time at this point; the important thing is that you carve out the time in advance now so that you have a firebreak in your schedule.

I also addressed how I started my working week. Monday mornings became time for me and the business and this now looks like weekly review of campaigns and implementation plans, team meetings and finances. Again, this acts like a firebreak and I can reset myself, no matter how busy the week before was.

Finally, I needed a process to follow. I knew that if I left strategic thinking time to its own devices and simply went with the flow, I would fill my head with more thoughts and ideas that never had the chance to be executed. I have found techniques such as journaling to be helpful to a point, but I needed a way to structure my ambitions and vision into a way that could be implemented.

And buying beautifully designed planning diaries (and yes, I have most of them on my bookshelf!) rarely helped me because they often over-complicated the process or distracted me by giving me lots of irrelevant boxes to complete.

So over the years, I crafted my own planning process that simplified what was needed to scale my business, and it worked so well that we now teach it in our Momentum business growth programme. The Grow Strong planning process is based on the 90 day planning principles, but rather than have a back-to-back quarterly cycle, I run it three times a year on a trimester basis.

What this does is allow space between the implementation time to review and reflect (as well as catch your breath which, as I got older, I needed so much more of!) and slows the pace down.

And it’s this slowing down that actually speeds up the business growth.

I know it may sound rather counterintuitive, but for a classic over-thinker like myself and for many of our clients in the Momentum community, it’s been instrumental to creating the space for strategic thinking, respecting your health needs as well as being able to behave more like a CEO, rather than someone who runs a busy business.

So where are you at? Are you an over-thinker? Has reading this made you realise that your brain may be trained to solve short term tactical problems, rather than the long term strategy needed to grow your business?

And if you’ve already identified this, what have you done to slow down your tactical thinking and create the time and space for business planning?

Next steps: If you know you want to scale your business but you’re not sure what your next steps are, then an easy first step to take is my Scale Scorecard. You simply answer 21 questions and then my system will make a recommendation based on your responses.

This is a game changer – saves you time, focuses your effort, and gives you clarity all in under 3 minutes. Better still, I’ve made it free for you!

Click here and get your custom recommendations.

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