When is a business plan not a business plan? When you never bloody look at it!

Laura Wigglesworth

It’s been a weird old few months, right? From lockdown, to home schooling, to a new ‘normal’ (let’s be honest – never have a pair of quotation marks held such a heavy clout!) and for some, a bounce back to lockdown round two, or at least the rather pendulous threat of it; hanging over us like the proverbial thundercloud of doom.

How have you all been coping? I hope you’re doing OK. As for me? Well, it’s been a rather monumental change of pace, to say the absolute least. Lockdown and a worldwide pandemic is rather obviously no fun for anyone; but chuck into the mixing bowl a dollop of self-employment, a cup full of a small person, a rather generous helping of mental health issues (more about that thrilling ingredient another time!) and a garnish of a personality that thrives on routine and security? Well (and I feel the need to be brutally honest here); absolute shitshow springs to mind.

 So it was time to decompress, before I imploded. I took a step back from social media (I can highly recommend that by the way – I never realised how much that never ending scroll gets under your skin and sucks your soul out with an Insta- perfect straw), and I breathed.

 Oh my word, how I breathed. It immediately felt like I was more free; less suffocated. None of that comparison, none of that major league nebbing and curtain twitching about every man and his dog. We all do it – come on, fess up! I made a conscious decision to only use my Facebook to access a couple of business groups that I’m in – I needed that nurturing community; that safe space. I’ve truly found my people, and I’m oh so grateful.

So. What on earth have I been doing with myself to fill that void where mindless scrolling previously had parked its arse? Clarity. That’s what. I found some clarity (and a packet of sweets – but I made light work of those, don’t worry). I gave myself the space and the permission to sit back, take stock, and be honest about where I was going and where I wanted to go. I have made some chuffing monumental business decisions – more about those another day. Don’t eyeroll me – I need to have something to make you come back another day.

I sat down, with a fresh notebook that I had made myself for this very occasion. Yes, it’s an obsession. Yes, I’m perfectly fine with that. And I made lists. For anyone that doesn’t know me so well this is absolutely my go to solution for everything. Got a creative block? Make a list, everything will come back! Leg fell off? Grab a notebook; everything will be fine…

Having the space and giving myself permission to really think hard about where I want to take Ey Up Design, what I want it to be, and my values both as a person and a business, and drill down to that nitty gritty, plan that minute detail, schedule launch dates, work flows, and all that jazz. And it felt GOOD! I got my mojo back. I’m not feeling weighted down by Keeping up with the Jones’, wondering what everyone else is doing, comparison, imposter syndrome (in the spirit of honesty, that’s still there but I’ve slapped a gag on the miserable cow), and everything else that being uber connected with the entire word brings with it. Damn, that world has baggage! It also gave me the time to think about me; what I wanted from my business, what I wanted to bring to it, and I refreshed my work on my values. It never ever hurts to remind yourself why you started in the first place. What sparks that joy, to quote a certain guru of organisation.  I looked at what I wasn’t happy with, what was getting to me, and how I could fix it. And I reached out. I spoke to my friends. I asked my tribe that I have somehow managed to build around me. I called upon them, and boy did they not disappoint. Words of buoyancy, encouragement, planning and strategy, comfort food, self-care tactics, and boob jokes. Every single response was gratefully received, and every single piece of advice, listening ear and wise word uttered were equally welcome and important. Actually – that’s a lie. The boob jokes were definitely the best, but the rest careered into a very close, photo finish second place.

So what now? Well, I’m not quite ready to throw myself back upon the mercy of social media just yet. If I’m honest, I’m enjoying the peace and the calm. But I’ve rediscovered my mojo; addressed (or at the very least acknowledged) the chronic burnout, and have a plan in place to keep that particular nibbly little demon at bay. I’m not usually in the business of handing out my opinion and advice like that nosey old moustachioed Auntie that everyone avoids at the family gatherings. But I will say this: take some time; eat some cake, and find your fun. 

Oh – and all of those plans, product launches and amazing ideas that I wrote down? They were in my damn business plan all along! Read your business plan!


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