Creating a thriving business may be the ultimate personal development challenge.
However, being self-employed is fraught with uncertainties.
There is no regular pay check.
There are no health benefits.
Self employment can be isolating.
Making a choice to deliberately incorporate more love into our work can be a refreshing way to bring our spiritual practice in greater contact with our work life.
As a a freelance communications person who helps compassionate “helpers” for a living, love is pretty much the invisible basis of everything I do.
For me, “love” includes kindness, gratitude, generosity, self-love and creativity.
Here’s a list of concrete ways to build and improve your business – with love.
These could be “one offs” – or if you find something that works really well for you, you could adapt it into a loving business practice.
Randomly schedule something fun into your work day (bonus points if it’s exercise!). If you feel guilty, schedule it over lunch time. One of the perks for many of us who are self-employed is a more flexible schedule: I hereby give you permission to go rock climbing (once in a while). You will be more successful if you are happier.
Set a timer for 25 minutes and send out short, sincere “thank you” emails to your clients, employees, friends, and partners – actually, ANYONE you can think of who pops into your mind. Let people know what you appreciate about them. This activity of appreciation will not only bring more love into your business but also make you a happier person.
Write the words “I love you” on a post-it note. Stick it on (or close to) your computer. If it’s more meaningful, you could write “I love you because…” and fill in the blanks with some of your incredible attributes. Saying the phrase out loud every day will make this simple action even more powerful in the long run!
Make yourself a delicious lunch or breakfast. At least once this week. If you’re anything like me, you may be skipping some meals (or many meals). Deliberately feed your body something it loves as a form of self-love. You could even call it a “business lunch” and book it in your schedule as a date with yourself!
Notice what is NOT love. Make a deliberate effort to minimize anything specific in your life that is NOT love! If you are stressed about something, honour yourself by taking it seriously – acknowledge it. Say compassionate words to yourself, the way you would to a friend (perhaps even a stranger). Potentially, take a small action to address the issue, e.g., order a book that appeals to you on that topic. You are not alone. You are loved and cared for. Small steps taken consistently can lead to great accomplishments!
If you get discouraged or stressed about something, take a break and go outside for a few minutes. Walk away. Walk around. Breathe.
Make a list of things you love about your business and life. Make a list of some of your own astonishing accomplishments, and bask in the feeling you get from knowing you are super great!
Stay on top of whatever administrative tasks you don’t enjoy (and can’t outsource), by bribing yourself with something delightful that you love. For example, I don’t enjoy working on my taxes. So yesterday I committed to working on it in 25 minutes chunks (with a timer). After I’d done a few chunks, I went outside on my bike to a nearby park as a reward. If you do this you’ll likely feel a sense of pride for being resourceful enough to trick yourself into doing admin, plus the relief of having it done.
Leisurely daydream about the people you love working with. Imagine in detail all the amazing people out there who need your talents. Enjoy!
Meditate (by breathing) for 5 minutes. Don’t overthink it – just set a timer, get comfy and breathe deeply for 5 minutes. This is pure love for your mind and nervous system.
Write a recommendation on LinkedIn for someone you truly admire and respect. This will make you feel good.
Notice how you feel about your marketing materials – e.g., do you like your website alright? Is it helping you? Or do you secretly not like it much? Figure out a strategy (or get help!) in order to work through the dilemma. Not liking your own website is not the best way to get clients.
Fill in the blank: “The #1 thing that brings me joy in my business is: ______.”
This might be challenging, but it gets to the heart of why you are doing what you’re doing. Now figure out one simple, ingenious way to feel that joy. Today.
Send out one cold email to someone you’d love to work with. That’s right. Find one person you’d love to work with, find a contact for them, and write a concise, heartfelt, honest message to them. Explain what you admire about them. Tell them what you do (briefly) and make one suggestion that you think could help them. Close by asking if they need any help. Do not expect anything back – just see what happens.
Make yourself a playlist of songs that you love. Listen to it, and get up and dance once in a while!
Plop yourself down into the "present” moment. Like, now. The present is where it all goes down. Once the worries drift away, there’s love. If you find this obnoxious, no worries. Just notice that, and move on : )
Pick one night, and go to bed extra early. Get in your pjs, get the popcorn and netflix or book you’ve been meaning to read forever and just relax and enjoy your own wonderful company.
Remember: you are loved and cared for. Simply remembering this and believing it will bring more love to you and your business.
Share yourself more! I was told recently that having a successful business is about being seen. I believe that letting ourselves be seen and heard is also part of loving ourself. Why not start by picking one thing from this list, and commenting below to tell us a bit about yourself, and which thing you picked? : )
Self employment can be challenging!
By bringing more love into your business, you automatically open yourself up for more success and joy. Isn’t that why you started your own business in the first place?