As entrepreneurs it can be so easy to get overwhelmed and burnt out and lose track of what we love - like why we started doing what we do in the first place. What systems can you put in place to help you stress less and get back to doing what you love?
Today's guest is Erin Cantwell. She was a graphic designer who went to work at a branding firm in NYC, so she's got some serious creative skills. And now, she helps creative entrepreneurs to bridge the gap between their creative work and the operation side, like how do you get down to the nitty gritty of your business.
And I love that somebody with that much skill and that much training, as an artist, as a creative has taken her passion and love of creativity and being able to spend more time in what she calls the zone of genius. I love how she's taken that and created a whole business to help other creatives be as successful as she was, and really get down to how do you put systems in place that support and nourish you, and that support and nourish your business.
And that's exactly what she and I talk about in this episode. And so I think you're going to learn a lot of interesting things about systems you can put into place. So even if you are not a creative entrepreneur, as in doing a creative business, like an artist or something, you still need creativity in your business, you still have to use creativity to be a successful entrepreneur.
She has systems that can support you to find more flow, to spend more time in those spaces of creativity when you need them. And she also does a brilliant job of helping us to figure out how we can focus more on the client experience. What is it like for your client, for your customer, for your audience? And how can you focus more on that experience as a way to set up boundaries and systems that support you as well.
Erin has a lovely way of helping us see the correlation between the systems that we set up, and how those systems can help to keep us healthy, happy and sane. But also bonus make us even more successful at this work that we love to do.
Erin: " it actually make their business kind of blossom and bloom, they find themselves a lot more fulfilled, because the stuff that I was talking about their stuff that we can put in systems for or the stuff that drag them down and kind of make them like, you know, it's that stuff that you don't want to like get into the office or your studio or wherever you're working and do first thing in the morning, you don't want to be worrying about like all of the little nitty gritty that are so important to keep a business running. But a lot of times when we can kind of systematize that, and I'm not just talking software, I'm talking about, you know, setting up their schedules in a way so that all of that happens at once. And then they can just set it and forget it for a week or two or a month. Or, you know, time blocking is big, just like let's just sit down and do this or whatever it might be, however, we choose to set up systems for them to work through it, then they spend the rest of their time really operating in this like their passion. And it comes through in their work, it comes through in their client happiness, they can just really, they can really build their business and spend time being fulfilled. And I always I keep going back to this phrase like doing the work they love because as a creative, and somebody that helps creative entrepreneurs like all of us get into this because we love this work because it is our passion. You know, it's not something that necessarily is always the most logical step for somebody coming out of high school or college to follow. It's a passion, it's a calling, it's something you really just feel in your heart you want to do. So the more you can kind of enable that the more that your business blooms, you yourself bloom, you're less stressed, you are just happier and more fulfilled, your relationships are better, it really kind of it has a ripple effect. Like you're happier, your business is happier, your personal life, your health, your relationships, all of that kind of just get better, the less you the less you have to worry about the stressful stuff and the stuff you don't like the stuff that you keep putting off and keeps building up, the more you can do, the more you can spend time creating and doing that work that fulfills you without that nagging in the back of your head, like Oh, I should be doing my finances, or I should be managing this or I should be calling that client that I don't want to call, the more you can kind of get that stuff out of your way and just really enjoy yourself. It really has a positive impact on all those other areas of your life and your well being. It's almost like you're able to get back to why you actually started the business in the first place. Absolutely. Yeah, that's that's a big thing that a lot of my clients kind of talk about, I had one girl that I worked with, and she was just the sweetest, but she was very overwhelmed at the point that she came to me. She had kind of duct taped the business together sort of is the way I described it. She had started off you know it the way many creatives actually ended up starting off, which was she had a nine to five job and people knew that she designed and she was a designer, and people would come to her and ask her for these like one off projects. And she loved it. So she did them. And next thing you knew, she got to the point where she was like, I can take this full time. I have a lot of different clients, but she was treating it very much like all these individual projects and not a business as a whole. So what we did was we really sat down and we kind of put a structure around her business and we put the systems in place and we really shifted her mindset to form instead of thinking about all of these different projects she was working on with all these different clients, we started thinking about like, this is my business and my business has these projects going on. And all of a sudden she was able to kind of like make decisions that supported her, her health and wellness, her life and her business in a different way. Everything just got easier. It just kind of all clicked, she was able to manage things appropriately, she was able to set boundaries that were good and healthy for her and her clients. And she was just able to see much better results. Because she, you know, we really got out of that overwhelmed mindset, and we got everything situated. And then she could really just focus on delivering and delivering within this, this guidelines that she set herself. And it really helped her like, the amount of referrals that she saw come in, in the next few months because she just blew her clients away and she loved what she was doing. And all of that really came through was just unbelievable. And her business boomed from, you know, from that, that big mindset shift and that big way of just kind of addressing things."
Erin: "as business owners, we were all of the hats all the time. And honestly, you know, I think that the boundaries and systems that we set up are what allow us to find that balance. Like there is something to be said people love multitasking. And honestly I'm like the less we can multitask the happier we are when I am mobbing. I am full on mom and I have two kids, I have a one year old and a four year old. And you know, the more I can put my phone away my computer away, and I can just shift them focus on them. That's good quality time, then that that like that fills me up and I can then go to work. And I can focus on my work. And that fills me up in a different way where when I find and I see this with a lot of my clients and I talk to them a lot about it too, when you're kind of like half and half in all these different worlds all the time or you're just being stretched too thin. You're never giving everything your full attention. And like you know, even like for your morning workout, if you're spending your morning workout going through everything in your to do list. Everything that you have to like all those emails you have to send you're not like really focusing and getting the best workout you can you're getting like an okay workout. And you're stressing about everything else where instead, if you can really be in that moment, you can focus and you can do that workout, then you got a great workout it and now you can hit the ground running with that to do list in those emails. That's kind of one of the things I really helped my clients to understand is that when we're intentional, intentional about how we're spending our time and where we're putting our focus. Every result is better than spreading ourselves thin across all of these different things that are running through our head."
Erin: "burnout is real. I mean, especially right now with the COVID. And everything going on in the world burnout is it's, it's serious, it's there, and it's harder to come back from than it is to prevent. So you know, I really always advocate that people are super proactive about it. I mean, I log off on the weekends on my business, I encourage my clients to because I didn't for a while I'm gonna be completely honest, at the beginning of COVID, especially, all of a sudden, my husband was working from home, my kids were home full time too. And I was the primary caregiver during the day while my husband was working, which meant that I lost a lot of time I had been planning to spend doing work. So I was up early, I was working during nap times I was working late, I was half working while I was watching my kids, I was working over weekends, I am exhausted."
Erin: "But you know, and it's one of those things too as a as an entrepreneur, I love the work. So it doesn't always feel like work until yeah is up with you. And that was you know, that was a big lesson for me really early on with all of this because I was just so used to juggling it and it being okay. But yeah, burnout is real. And the more you get the earlier you can set those boundaries and be proactive about stopping that from happening, the better off everybody's going to be. And that's part of where if you can get some of those. I call it like all the different tabs in your brain open. Like the more you can just like get rid of the ones that don't need to be there. You can kind of put them to the side and now they're getting taken care of the better off you're going to be and the less burnout you're going to feel in the long run."
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