How can I make my business kinder to me is a question I’ve been asking myself consistently over the past year. Like a lot of other people, I had a rough year last year. I didn’t take enough time off, I did work that took me off the path I want to take my business and I had some health issues that took a lot of effort to recover from.

Underlying this question is the overarching question of what is a kind business? I’m still thinking about this but this is what I’ve come up with so far:

01. In alignment with your values.

In the short term you can run a successful business that is out of alignment with your values. A lot of us do when we first start our businesses. We build and market our businesses following any number of roadmaps or blueprints that are not in alignment with our values. When you are new to business it’s easy to get swept up in the idea that this is how you have to do business. There are a lot of shoulds out there from big names making good money. But in the long term I don’t think it’s sustainable. It’s hard to maintain the energy to run a business if it isn’t in alignment with your values.

I want to clarify that this doesn’t mean it has to be a passion project. There are many ways that a business can align to you values. For example, if integrity is one of your top values then making sure you design your business so you always act in integrity will be crucial.

02. Takes into account your personal circumstances.

We all have unique circumstances that will impact on the best way for us to run businesses. It could be you have a young family and you want to be able to finish for the day when school finishes. Or you may have a health condition that means you need to be able to work flexible hours. Or you are neurodiverse and need to be able to create offers that you can deliver in a way that supports your neurodiversity.

When you take these circumstances into account when designing your business you reduce the chance of burning out. It means setting schedules that work for you, designing offers that light you up and feel good to deliver and marketing in ways that feel sustainable.

03. Pays you a living wage.

We are seeing at the moment the impact that not having financial security can have on people, both mentally and physically. To be kind to you, your business needs to be able to pay you a wage that you can live off as a minimum. How you define that living wage will depend on your circumstances. As a minimum I recommend it includes enough to save for an emergency fund and for retirement as well as paying your bills.

04. Allows for reasonable work hours.

There is research out there that shows working over a certain number of hours makes you less productivity and that 6 hours is probably the maximum hours you can work each day and be productive.  This study from Stanford showed people working 60 hours a week coding produced less than those working for 40 hours, which is just crazy.

Plus the World Health Organization found working 55 hours per week increases your risk of death from stroke and heart disease. Which sounds pretty unkind to me if you are having to work these hours to keep your business going.

05. Leverages your strengths.

Being able to do your best work feels great. When you are using your strengths this is so much easier to do. If you are trying to build a business based on an idea of what you should be doing rather than your strengths everything is going to feel harder. 

06. Has clear boundaries.

It can be easy in business to have very porous boundaries. Whether that is working outside of the hours you plan to, allowing clients to contact you at all hours of the day or having loose payment terms in your contracts, any of these can lead to resentment towards your business and burn out.

07. Personalised to your definition of success.

We’re often told that a successful business is one that makes a large profit and is constantly growing. But if that doesn’t fit into the lifestyle you want for you and your family, it isn’t going to motivate you. It’s going to make running your business feel hard. What is going to motivate you so you enjoy your business more?

08. Working with your ideal clients.

Working with the wrong clients is stressful. It doesn’t mean they are bad people but rather you aren’t a good fit, whether that is their personality or the kind of services they need. I know from experience that working with the right people for me lights me up. Whereas bad fit clients take up a lot of energy and brain space.

Starting to make your business kinder

I wouldn’t say these are in any particular order. That will depend on your personal circumstances and how you’ve set up your business. You may have built a business that is closely aligned to your values but isn’t paying you enough to survive. Or you may have a highly profitable business that feels out of alignment with your values. Or any other number of combinations

If you are looking to create a business that allows you to thrive and is kind to you, I recommend journalling which of these you would like to work on first. It could be what would have the biggest impact or what feels the easiest to start with.

It isn’t all on your business either. You can also be kind to yourself in business. Allow yourself to see things as an experiment and to not beat yourself up when things don’t go to plan. Self-compassion is one of the kindest things you can bring to your business.

Pin to read later:

Pin It on Pinterest