In celebration of the all-new charlotteargyrou.com, I’ve invited seven brilliant founders to share their expertise in seven areas of creative business. These are subjects I have found especially fun or challenging in my first 18 months since launching Charlotte Argyrou Illustration. “On the Sofa” invites creative, wedding and wellness entrepreneurs to join the conversation, each focused on personal branding, community, tech & SEO, balancing business and life, design, self-belief and uniqueness.
My fourth guest is my own business coach Faye Cornhill, founder of Faye Cornhill Coaching as well as her highly-regarded eponymous wedding photography business. Through her coaching, Faye supports and inspires hundreds of small business owners to build sustainable and profitable businesses they love. Faye and I dig deep and unravel the concept of having it all.
Having It All
Charlotte: Is it possible to have it all? And is that even the goal?
Faye: The truth is you can have what you want. It’s about understanding what “it all” is. You are standing at the buffet dessert table and you fancy a slice of everything, even though you probably don’t really want a slice of everything. It’s about finding that sweet spot of having pockets of joy and abundance and pleasure, while feeling challenged and fulfilled but not overwhelmed.
Charlotte: Some days it feels like a struggle just to get everyone fed, dressed and where they need to be on time. Can it be possible to build a successful business around that?
Faye: Your measures of success will evolve as your situation changes. In those early hazy days of motherhood, just keeping everyone alive feels like an achievement. Same with having a full time job and a side hustle. Sometimes just publishing a blog post will be a win, but as you gain momentum in your business your become expert at the things that once seemed challenging.
Can there be a division between work and life when you run your own business?
There needs to be a self-imposed divide. I’m really strict with my boundaries and it enables me to have a lot going on. People ask me all the time how I manage, and the answer is because I block out my time and I schedule everything. Here’s some action points to consider:
- Create time boundaries.
- Turn off social media notifications.
- Try to create a separate working space, removed from clutter of everyday life.
It will have a positive impact on everybody. Your clients will like to know how and when they are going to hear from you. If you are not giving you people the options of when to contact you, you are allowing them to have all of you. Not because they are greedy or bad, but they’ll lean on your availability.
When it’s your name above the door, work and life are linked. I carry a notebook with me everywhere. My way of dealing with the barrage of ideas is to offload nuggets of ideas in there, but then dealing with it at another more appropriate time. If you write ideas in a notebook, your ideas are safe. Resist jumping into the idea at that exact moment if it’s not a good time.
Lonely or Alone?
How do you lift yourself out of a slump when you work alone?
I literally get up and walk away. I walk the dog. When I return, my energy is different. If you sit and fight it – especially for creative people – the situation will only get worse. Go to the gym, have a nap, turn some music on, then get back in the zone.
I’ve never been a procrastinator, but I know many solopreneurs struggle to get going. What’s your advice?
I think nine times out of ten we have complicated the job in hand. I’ll procrastinate if I don’t have a clear path of what I’m supposed to be doing. I’ll faff around. But if I have a clear path from where I am now to where I’m going, I can move forward. Chunk it down into little actionable process goals.
Humans are pretty simple in many ways. If you break things down, it’s more palatable. When you can tick things off a list, we feel good. If we are swallowed up by enormous goals, it’s hard to feel like we are getting anywhere. It’s what we need to feel happy and at peace.
Where does wellness and self-care come into all this. Are they just buzzwords or should these be non-negotiables?
It’s non-negotiable for me. I do things that I know make me feel good. I do things that give me energy and joy. I don’t come up with new ideas and new ventures when I’m feeling tired and can’t be bothered. It’s self-fulfilling. I have to do those things to get to where I want to be in my business.
Even if you are not a scheduler, you need to find a way to make friends with routines. That includes self-care. If a client comes in wanting to interrupt that, you need to push back even if it’s daunting. Your name is above the door. Without you, it’s not going to happen. I’ve spoken to hundreds of business owners who don’t do this who end up losing their mojo. Self-care must be part of the process of running a business.