Pattern Shift

#68 - Creatively Navigating Storms: Managing Small Business Stress

September 22, 2023 Saskia de Feijter Season 4 Episode 68
Pattern Shift
#68 - Creatively Navigating Storms: Managing Small Business Stress
Pattern Shift + PS
Help us continue making great content for listeners everywhere.
Starting at $3/month
Support
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever been left picking up the pieces after chaos struck your business? Listen in as I, Saskia, share firsthand experiences of weathering the unpredictable storms of podcasting and running a business. From managing a bustling yarn shop to juggling multiple newsletters and a thriving community, I'm here to reveal the systems and strategies I've devised to navigate these hectic waters with calm and grace.

Through tales of forgotten yarn orders and unexpected business hurdles, we'll uncover the true importance of being present and how it factored into my journey of business growth and mastering time management. Learn how I reshaped my business approach after an incident at my yarn shop, and how thoughtful planning and system-building can create much-needed breathing space in any business environment. Plus, hear about my unique work routine and my upcoming adventure - a trip to a business hippie summer camp near Brighton!

Finally, let's delve into managing stress in a supportive business environment and the secrets to staying afloat in times of crisis. We'll explore why understanding our strengths and weaknesses is a worthy investment of time and money, and how immersing ourselves in our subject matter can help us find focus and energy in times of chaos. On that note, I'll share some handy tools and tips that have helped me manage time and prepare for unexpected events. Join me as we embrace the art of mindful business management and hopefully learn how to face challenging moments with grace and resilience.

 FULL SHOW-NOTES WITH TAKEAWAYS

https://www.ja-wol.com/blogs/podcast

BEST QUOTE FROM THE EPISODE

 "Chaos may be inevitable, but how we respond to it is within our control."

LINKS

If you want to build or grow your business in textile crafts, why don't you join our online community for a small, monthly contribution of only 10 euros, which is $10 ish. You get to hang out, learn from and share your business. And your craft journey with all the lovely people there, support the podcast at the same time and you get everything wrapped into one loving package. I would love to welcome you there.

Go to Patternshift.fm and click

Support the show

☆☆☆

SUPPORT THE SHOW

If you appreciate the free content and the work we put into this podcast, consider showing your support in a way that feels right to you. This could be by sharing episodes with friends, signing up for our newsletter, or making a small monthly contribution through clicking the Support the show link, or -when you are listening via Apple podcast- click the subscription button and get monthly bonus episodes. Your support keeps the podcast going and aligns with the values we share. Thank you for being a part of this movement!

Apple Podcast subscription

  • super easy with two clicks and anonymous for those that use the apple app. Monthly or yearly. One amount. 4,-

Buzzsprout (my podcast platform) subscription

  • one click, fill out your bank details. Monthly. Choose your amount from 3,- and up. Leave your name and get a shoutout (if you want).


JOIN THE WAITING LIST

for the March cohort of the Ja, Wol Business Program!

☞ GET BI-WEEKLY ACTIONABLE BUSINESS TIPS AND INSIGHTS & EPISODE UPDATES ☜...

Speaker 1:

Welcome to Pattern Shift. My name is Saskia and this is a podcast for small businesses in slow fashion who want to grow. Things are a little bit different today. I'm just rolling with the punches as I woke up to a message from my editor saying that for some reason, the podcast that I recorded earlier did not completely record. So I was working with headphones and they were bluetooth and they lost connection and everything that I said after 10 minutes wasn't recorded. So here's the thing. I thought I'd just make a podcast out of it, because I then talked to somebody else about it and they said how are you so relaxed? How can, how do you deal with this so well? You're not stressed out. No, I'm not stressed out Because I have systems and I have plans and I have a calendar and I have everything set up so that when something like this happens, I have time to deal with it.

Speaker 1:

Now, interestingly enough, I don't have that time this time, because I'm leaving for the UK in a few days and I'll be away for 10 days. I try to record a whole bunch of episodes at the same time so that I have a buffer, but sometimes that's hard to do. We just came out of summer, I'm getting to the point of getting enough appointments with people and enough ideas to do like a whole bulk session of recording. That's the smart thing to do. I hadn't lent it there, and so, whatever you do, even if you're super organized, even if you plan everything to the T which I believe is a good thing to do sometimes it does not work the way you planned. So normally I'd have a whole week to fix an issue with an episode, and now I'm not going to be at my desk and with my phone, with my tablet, I can do lots of things, I can be creative, but I will actually be offline for a certain amount of time when I go away, so that's not really an option.

Speaker 1:

And I do want to be present because I'm going to a summer camp for business hippies I think that's the best way to describe it. I went there last year. It's near the Brighton area, it is hosted by the Happy Startup community Happy Startup School and it is such a wonderful event where you can connect with like-minded people that also focus on building businesses in a better way and taking care of people and the environment and all those kind of good, warm, fuzzy things. It's a really fun event and I cannot wait to go. I actually just got off a Zoom call where I met some of the people that are going and already, like within two minutes, we knew we had things in common and it was already such a good vibe. So that's going to happen and I want to be present. Actually, when they asked me at the end of the Zoom call, can you share one word that shares your intention for the weekend, I said presence, because that is really important just to be in the moment and to take things as they come and to be your best self when these things happen. And this is actually what's happening now.

Speaker 1:

So I could have recorded the actual topic that I had planned and rerecord it, but I think it's better just to talk about this in terms of how do you handle a crisis in your business, how can you be flexible and how can you help yourself to not get in that predicament as much as possible. So here we are. I don't have notes, I don't have a script. I am looking at my own face in the computer, as I'm also recording this for video because I might want to use that someday and I might not, so I'm actually talking to myself, which is the weirdest thing, and it's also very weird when you just start a podcast to just talk into nothing.

Speaker 1:

I started out doing a lot of interviews because that felt so much better to me, and some people I know that make podcasts are afraid of doing an interview. For me, it's the other way around. I'm afraid to just talk into the void because am I just like vocalizing the thoughts in my head? How is that ever going to be something that makes sense? But as it turns out, you can get used to that and it's like selfies, right. Like in the beginning people were like, ooh, I'm not going to take a picture of myself, and now it's all we ever do. So I'm here now talking to you and you either have a small business in a slow fashion, or you want to have a slow business, a fast business in slow fashion Ooh, that's a good one Should write that down and or you're a crafter and you make stuff and you're interested in the back end of doing business in our lovely, lovely industry. And I'm turning this into a lesson and I'm doing it as I go.

Speaker 1:

So let me go back. What does my preparation for a podcast look like? How does that work. I've done the podcast. Now I think I'm episode. I'm in the third, third season. This is episode 67 or 68.

Speaker 1:

I love doing it and it was a steep learning curve. I just basically started podcasting. I bought this course about podcasting I think about five years ago and that was the basis of everything, and I just started one step at a time and now I'm at this place where I have an editor, where I have system. I'm even starting to figure out if I could work with an assistant. So I'm on this trial period with this lovely woman who I will hopefully start working for a longer period of time, which is also very interesting, right, because sometimes you really have to do big investments before anything comes back to you and that feels like a chicken egg kind of situation. You're like, okay, so I'm not bringing in that much money.

Speaker 1:

But if I want to level up and want to show what it is that I can bring to the table and in a way that looks professional and that is not depleting me and my family life and my mental and my physical health, if I want to have all of that in balance, I have to sometimes make decisions that feel like I'm not there yet. I'm not ready yet, and sometimes you just have to go ahead and do it and reflect later, and that's what I'm doing now. So for this podcast, I'm totally winging this. But I do have an editor who has promised me that if I drop this episode in their mailbox today, they will work on it and I'll have it back the next morning. How amazing is that? Of course, he lives in Vietnam and he moved there from Scotland with his wife, and that's an amazing thing to have somebody that can work through the night. It's my night, not his, but that's a really good smart. I didn't think about that, but that really works. Now we can see that that is really good.

Speaker 1:

And then I'm at this moment in a trial with an assistant and they're all getting this moment of chaos and I am handling it. So how does it normally work? That's what I was gonna say. What I do is I used to work with Asana, which is a project management firm tool online. I love that. I've also worked with Trello. I love that too, and I'm now using aspects of both of them in Notion.

Speaker 1:

So I always teach that when you find a tool that works, don't go into the rabbit hole of trying everything out. So I have to tell you this over this has happened over the course of, I think, almost four years now that I've tried out different tools, but I'm always looking for tools that kind of cover more bases of my business In terms. That's really smart to do that in terms of budgets, because you don't wanna pay for multiple tools that sometimes do the same kind of things, and it's also just very work-friendly, mind-friendly. So I landed on Notion now and I'm really enjoying it. I'm also having to decide to use it for what I need it what I need now, and then dive into all the things that are possible when I have the time to do that or as it comes up. So that's my strategy with new tools Just go in, use it and as I run into things, I solve them, I figure things out and if I have extra time I'll dive a little bit deeper.

Speaker 1:

So now in Notion I have what I call the podcast sequence and it's basically a step-by-step process of what needs to happen. What I'm essentially using it for is to communicate to my team and to organize different projects. That's basically it. And so within my season four project of the podcast, we have a podcast sequence and that just goes through the planning. The pre-production gives some general info about the show. It talks about the recording and the things we need to do while recording, while editing, then reviewing, then doing the artwork, then writing the big text piece that is then also going to be the blog, the show notes, the summaries on the different forms, and then there's marketing communication and where we send all the information to, and all of those steps have different sub-steps.

Speaker 1:

So it's not easy, it's not fast, to make a podcast. This is probably going to pass this one that I've ever made. So all these different steps, we are now for the first time trying to split up and into our little team. So I'll do the recording, I do the big steps, the first big steps in editing. So we call that the distraction edit and then I take out the big pieces that I think are weird or unclear and then I send it over to Neil and he'll do the quality edits. So he'll look at the sound and take some us out and things that I might say double I tend to do that a lot and he'll make it sound better.

Speaker 2:

Hey, it's Neil here. Editor of Pattern Shift. I wanted to jump in here at this point and add that everything that Saskia is describing right now I've kind of already done, or I'm doing as we speak. So I've already taken out a lot of the ums that she talks about and she's going to listen to this and be like oh wait, I was talking about that fire alarm that went off, but no, it's not there. That's because I've taken it out and you'll know hearing the finished product, but Saskia is talking about the unfinished product. Anyway, I hope you're enjoying this and I hope that you enjoy the quality of the podcast. Cheers.

Speaker 1:

And then what was going to happen is that the trial assistant person that shall remain nameless for now was going to help me with the communication, and because I am writing the anchoring text, like the anchoring piece, which is a big text that we then split up into different types of texts, so summaries and quotes and smaller bits and pieces, and we use that in different areas of the Yavl form and also, obviously, on Tin, pinterest, youtube, the spaces and the places where I share things and the newsletter oh, yes, the newsletter. It's just there's stuff to do and what we then do, if that's all done, it needs to be done a week before it goes live. So I'll record an episode, then I will give it to Neil the editor, he will have it back with me within a few days and then I'll check it and then we put it to the side until it goes live a week later, or sometimes even a little bit longer, because this is a bi-weekly podcast and this is where we were landing at and it really works, but it then also never really works the way you plan it, and that's the truth for a lot of things in business, and I have really learned from trying to be actually no seriously, from being literally mindful and meditating and being in the moment, learning that sometimes there's just nothing you can do and sometimes there's a lot you can do. If you stay calm, if you smile, if you remember that the person on the other end that's you listening is probably going to be very kind and understanding. And what's the worst thing that can happen? Okay, the worst thing that could happen for me is that I don't have an episode coming out when it should have come out. That would actually I would actually be very frustrated. I've meant to keep it going so long and consistently. I think that is now. It's different than with Duolingo.

Speaker 1:

With Duolingo, I think I was at 268 days or something and then something happened. I don't know what happened. I was just doing lots of things and I lost my streak and I was completely fine with it. To be honest, I got a little bit annoyed. I didn't want to do it anymore. I just was doing it for the sake of streaking. Oh, that sounds weird.

Speaker 1:

But with this, I just don't like the idea that somebody is thinking, oh, I thought there would be a new episode and now there isn't. And I don't want to toot my own horn, but I hope that some people think that and I would not like that if that happens. So that's the worst-case scenario. But then again, is it vital for my business and that question comes from writer Carol and the bullet journal Methods. Is it vital? No, it's not. People will remember me if I come out a week later. It's fine, it can happen.

Speaker 1:

But what I'd rather do is to just be in the moment and feel open to any ideas that come to mind and see what can happen. So a second ago I texted a friend and I said do you have 20 minutes? Because I just want to. I wanted to talk to her and see if we could record the conversation. And then I'm like well, maybe that's not the best idea, because I think I actually have enough to say on this topic and I can always do that when this is a mess. And so far, so good, I hope.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, just being in the moment and trying to see what you can do, trying to remember moments from when I had my yarn shop. I remember, oh yeah, I remember when I started selling like a bigger brand and people came to my shop through the website of that brand and really connected me to the brand, obviously, and that's normal. I was still new at the game and I forgot to order a certain person's yarn and they were going to go on a holiday and I didn't have it in time. And they got so mad with me Crazy mad because I didn't have the yarn they wanted so badly. And they were quite. They were not even. They were quite aggressive and rude and that I think that was definitely one of the lowest points in my career. I think I closed the door and did a little quiet cry In the back room, but then also, I decided these things happen and it's just knitting, it is. It's not for me to decide how bad this problem is for this person, but I think I can decide that this was not a normal reaction and this was not like like I shouldn't be holding as this heart, get a promotion and keep it with me for a long time Although I did, obviously, because I always want to do it well, but I just got things happen and, yeah, I think in time, I just realized and I just made a habit to to say to myself okay, what is this all about? This is about knitting, this is about I don't know what other things happened.

Speaker 1:

Another big thing is when I turn my community into paid community and lots of people left, I thought like I needed to do this for my business. I need to make money so people can be frustrated about it, but that is really not something that I can change the fact that they feel frustrated about it. I need to run this business. So this, this making certain decisions in times where things get really hard in your business, kind of bring out the kind of leader in you that you can be, or maybe that or that you don't want to be. And this is always a moment to reflect. If it's in the moment, if it's too hard, then perhaps later on reflecting on how could I have dealt with this? Did I deal with it in the right way? What am I going to do different in the future? How am I going to avoid this?

Speaker 1:

And circling back to the beginning of this whole thing is what I'm trying to do by planning and building tools and systems and also teaching that in the business circle program is that these things are. If you have those systems and planning in place, then it gives you more breathing space to be in the moment and to do other things, because a system helps rely on the fact that things will work out because you've got a plan, and I think a lot of us work in this space where we don't have a plan, which is completely different from being in the moment. Although it sounds the same, it has a different vibe to it. So when you find a way to build yourself this, I guess it's a safety vest. I should think of a better metaphor a knitted safety vest. Oh no, that will sink you. Let's call it a safety vest. It's really helpful to have that around, and when you don't have it around, you will be able to get back to it after the crisis is averted.

Speaker 1:

So when I come back from the UK, I know all I have to do is to find my podcast sequence and my plan and to go back to episode number whatever this number is 67, and go to the script that I wrote it's not really a script, it's basically just notes and do it again. At this moment, I'm not in the right mind space because things are happening and I just need to be doing what I can in this moment, and what I can do is talk about what's going on. So that's what I'm choosing to do, and when I come back I'll sit down and go back to my original plan and I don't have to build this whole thing because it's there and this saves so much time and so much frustration that this is how I do it. I work four days a week of about six to seven hours a day, and I have six hours a day, I think. I make a podcast, I run a community, I am always thinking of new things, I have two newsletters.

Speaker 1:

I just heard how much work a podcast is. One episode, if we do it the normal way is, could end up being eight hours, like a whole work day or more. Yeah, it's a lot of work and it's good to find systems that make it easier, that buy you time to do things that will actually help you grow your business. So for me, that is, if I have more time, I can try working with an assistant, because I have time to talk to her and to figure things out together and if that works, if she knows what she can do, then if she knows what she and if that works, then that will give me more time and in that time I can. For now, let's just say what I have on my wishlist Things I really want to do is to connect with small businesses like yours and to send them emails and ask them if they have something they'd love to share on the podcast or if there's anything I can help them with.

Speaker 1:

So I really just want to take time to connect to different businesses. I want to travel locally and semi-locally to talk to business owners in real life, at festivals, at fairs. That takes a lot of time. There's press releases. I want to write. I want to be more visible everywhere because I decided not to be on certain social media, so that means that I have to do more writing on other social media and that takes time, and what I do now is everything that I just talked about and all this that I mentioned in this list I need extra time for.

Speaker 1:

But because I need to do this in those four days, six hours, because that's what I've learned I can do while staying healthy, that's just. I have to be more efficient and I have to make choices and make plans and make systems, and that's why I do it. And if you're thinking, well, I'm not organized, I'm chaotic, I can't do it. I have ADHD. There's no way that I can do that.

Speaker 1:

These are tools and tricks and things that I taught myself because I was like that and I still am. If I don't look in my bullet journal what's going on, if I don't look at my calendar, it will not be in my head. I will forget. It's just. That's just how I'm wired. So I need those tools. It's actually necessity for me. It's a necessity for me and I think it's helpful. It's helpful for almost everybody to build your own set of plans and systems that work for you, so that's not the same for everyone, and in the circle program, we focus on what works for you.

Speaker 1:

I do see myself as a mentor, and a mentor typically shares what works for them with other people, but I take a little bit of a wider approach. I talk to people and help them find out what works for them within my experience, and sometimes I'll dive a little deeper. For someone in specific, if they need something specifically, it's all a matter of connecting what you need as a person to what your business needs in order to grow, and sometimes that means that you have to invest first, sometimes with extra time more time than you want to spend or with money, and sometimes spending money will eventually save you a lot of time. So these are all hard questions to answer. Where am I right now? Do I want to pay money to do a course, to get a coach to learn directly, instead of scouring the internet for hours on end? Or am I in another space at this moment and do I want to kind of figure things out for myself and invest in time?

Speaker 1:

Beware of rabbit holes, by the way. That's just a tip from me. Yeah, I'm hoping that I'm making sense, that there's like a red thread going through this. Essentially, what I'm trying to share with you all is that having systems and plans in place for your business are so helpful. When you do end up in a stressful or chaotic situation, you can rely on those plans and those systems. And sometimes you have to be a little bit more creative, but you'll know that next time you can go right back to them.

Speaker 1:

So that's why I'm not stressed, and I think it's also a mindset shift where I just refuse to be stressed out because it's not going to help anyone, and I know how that sounds and especially if anyone in my family is listening, I certainly hope not, and if they do, I don't want to know, because I'm very sensitive to stress, like very sensitive. My body reacts to it like like crazy. But I'm not stressed at this moment. I think I get stressed from other things I don't know. I think it's more about I don't know. Is that another episode? I guess I get stressed about other things. I feel like I have to say something now. Yeah, I think the biggest stress for me is am I building something that people need and I'm getting the answers that I am and that people are super happy with what I'm providing? But sometimes it doesn't look like it. Sometimes I don't get feedback and it's quiet and crickets, and I'm still in this zone of come on the right way and I'm getting there, and so that's what I'm stressed about most of the time, but not in moments like this, because I know now. I know what I do well and I know what my weak points are, and that is also something that I have spent time figuring out and connecting all that knowledge to what I do in my business. So I did invest in talking to a coach and she really helped me getting to get clarity around what my talents are and what my challenges are and how to use both of them in what I do, and the connection and the investment of time and money in that is coming back to me in such a wonderful way. Yeah, I can. I don't know what this topic is. It's about dealing with stressful situations and having a business that supports you and support what you need and instead of you supporting your business. It's a balanced thing and it's about investing time, sometimes money, to be able to build a business around your person and your needs. I think I'm doing pretty well. I guess we're at 38.

Speaker 1:

Are we calling this an episode? Anyone? Is this an episode? I think it's an episode. Maybe I should make some more connecting the dots of all the things I just said. Obviously, I don't know all the things I just said.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so whenever you feel completely stressed out, I would say do one step back before you charge and take some time, even if it's just the time that it takes to drink a cup of tea. Reflect and write down if that's helpful. Is this vital for your business this moment in time. If something doesn't get out, if something doesn't get done, who is going to be? Are they going to be any victims? Will you not have money to eat? Those are all big things and I'm sure things like that happen in businesses, but a lot of the time we really stress out over things that are not that important and we should try to rely on our creativity and our strengths and so find out what is your strength and how can you use it in times of chaos.

Speaker 1:

I'm just thinking we just finished watching season two of the Bear. It's an awesome series on. Is it Disney? I think it's Disney and there's a lot of chaos there, so I'm not going to do any spoilers. Just talking in general. It's about restaurant business, the business of restaurants, and I worked in restaurants and cafes during most of my teen years and it is crazy busy. But as it is busy and seemingly stressful, you can also really get in the zone and their system in this world and the systems really support the outcome of the end of the night. So if the systems work, you can get back to the system if something is fucked up, like. I don't think I need an example.

Speaker 1:

I'm also reading this book. Let me find it. I feel like I have a hard time reading fiction because there's so many nonfiction books I want to read. Sometimes I force myself to read fiction and then I will take very easy going things. So I'm reading Alexandra Potter Confessions of a Forty-something Fuck Up, which is I think it's the Bridget Jones of today, something like that, but I have it as an audiobook and the woman that's reading it is such a great voice actor. I'm thoroughly enjoying it. It's also very, very interesting and very up to date. I recognize a lot of things in there, my point being yeah, sometimes things are chaotic and sometimes your life or your business doesn't do what you want it to do. If you can try to breathe and look at your strengths, what you do well, and see how you can turn it around into something that does work.

Speaker 1:

I hope you enjoyed this episode. It was definitely different. I'm going to have a hard time distilling the learning points and putting them in the show notes. Not really. I use I that's another assistant it's just really helpful and I tweak it until I think I cannot let AI give you something that's not true or that doesn't sound like me. So I still have a lot of work, but it's really helpful and that's also one of the tools and tricks and systems that you should consider using. It's going to be harder to turn this into a comprehensive takeaway thing, because it was all from the heart, one take. I hope I said something smart that helps you, and I wish you a life of non-chaotic events and when they do happen, I wish you to be your full self and deal with it in the way you want to deal with it and keep breathing. Love you Bye, bye.

Handling Crisis and Flexibility in Business
Business Growth and Time Management Reflection
Managing Stress in a Supportive Business
Reflecting on Episode and Sharing Tools