happy1) I’m a child of grunge

I grew up in the 90s. Kurt Cobain’s death was the talk of the school for months. Raw, dirty, depressive, angry music is what I broke my teeth on. Pearl Jam playing at Eastern Creek Raceway in Sydney was my highlight of 1995.

2) I try to work 35 hours a week

Over the last nine years of self-employment, I’ve tried out lots of different things. When I first started my business, I had fixed ideas about being ‘professional’ and used to work long hours, telling myself that I love what I do and I’m living the dream. Right now, my working week is approximately 35 (school) hours. I’m sure this will change again in future. One of the benefits of working for yourself is deciding what conditions, hours and times work best for you.

3) I love stories

I love hearing, telling and crafting stories. I’m a terrible mix of highly empathetic and imaginative with a shockingly bad memory which means I often adopt friends’ stories as my own and tell these stories back to them (they’re good humoured about it after so many years). I really enjoy coaching clients and interviewing people. Many of us struggle to see the deeper message, pattern or storyline behind our own lives so it’s a privilege to help elucify this.

4) I used to lead kirtan meditation

As a baby hippie in my late teens and early 20s, I used to lead kirtan chanting, complete with dance step (similar to the Hari Krishnas) on behalf of an Indian religious sect. I taught myself five chords on the guitar. I was barely competent. But I was hugely enthusiastic. I found yoga through kirtan meditation and was really head over heels.

5) I worked in Public Relations

I’ve had several different positions in Public Relations and have witnessed the industry undergoing dramatic change since the advent of social media and the internet has rocked the industry. From my years in Public Relations, I learnt the value of building trust, a solid reputation and what makes a story newsworthy. My PR background has made me far more careful (and somewhat conservative) in how I teach, train and coach people on creating publicity.

6) The steepest curve of my life was as a tour leader

I lived out of hotels for two years and took hundreds of people across Cambodia and Vietnam and into and out of Bangkok. I visited the temples of Angkor Wat at least once a fortnight. Despite taking people to the Torture Museum in Phnom Penh every week or so, I only went in twice. I used to wait outside while the groups went in. This was easily the steepest learning curve of my life – teaching me more about human psychology and communications than any other experience. It was simultaneously a very difficult and most enjoyable job.

7) I’m a frustrated designer

I’m a very visual person and give my (highly tolerant) designers a lot of direction. I have little ability with Photoshop but can visualise great designs and often feel frustrated that I can’t create them (I also can’t draw or paint). My very kind friend called me a ‘conceptual artist’. I love her for that (and many other reasons).

8) I’m stuck in my musical tastes

My partner synced our iTunes libraries recently. He’d purchased dozens of albums. I’d bought one song (embarrassing!). I love Nina Simone, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Queen, Mahalia Jackson, Bjork, Patty Smith, Sia, big band jazz, and a few others. These guys are my staple and are on rotation on Sonos.

9) My business was created in a week

It took me about a week to decide whether I was going to do this. I registered the business name and domain name within the week and had my first client, Byron Yoga Centre. It took about three months to make money.

10) I’m a big advocate for hobbies, joy and celebration for self-employed people

Self-employment is not an easy path, despite popular propaganda. It can be immensely stressful. Holidays or time to relax aren’t always effective if you are preoccupied thinking or worrying about work.I encourage my clients to celebrate business milestones, to notice the small daily victories, to cultivate a sense of progress and gratitude for self-employment and to bank joy so that it blooms into enduring self-confidence.

Hobbies can be hugely beneficial for stress relief and to encourage creativity. I love rock climbing and fine woodworking, as well as yoga, reading, walking and gardening. My partner’s also self-employed. He loves reading the papers in a hot bath. I also enjoy baking so that my mind can wander off. Plus people always appreciate desserts (except dieters).

What about you? I love stories – and I’d love to hear ten things about you! Please comment below.

Business planning

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