For me, running a slow, gentle and profitable business is as much a matter of mindset, as it is of practical strategies. In this post I share 4 practical strategies that help me run a slow, gentle and profitable small business.
#1 schedule as much as possible
One of the things that turned me off Instagram was the need to be ‘on’ all the time. The way in which the app rewarded me to spend time and energy on it. Of course, that’s not Instagram’s fault: it’s their business model, and using Instagram works for many small business owners.
But it doesn’t work for me.
When I started to move my business away from social media, I started to focus on ways of marketing that allowed me to schedule more. Pinterest is a big one here, as is my newsletter. I love being able to follow my energy and rhythms, and write or pin when it feels good, and rest while I need to (while the newsletter and pins go out into the world).
I also use scheduling software to allow clients to schedule calls (currently I use Fantastical), so that we don’t have to do the back-and-forth in emails.
Scheduling allows me to follow my energy in my business, instead of feeling like I have to be ‘on’ all the time.
#2 communicate availability
Years ago, I read the book Busy (affiliate link). One of the things the author writes is that email is someone else’s agenda. That was a lightbulb moment for me. For a while, I’d been used to always having my email open on my laptop. In the mornings, I would start my day catching up on my email—there was even a year or so where I’d do my email over breakfast, with the idea of getting a head start on my day.
Ever since reading that phrase about email being someone else’s agenda, I am much more intentional about how often and when I check my email. I definitely don’t start my day with my email anymore. Instead, I start my day with an activity that is part of my core business: client calls, writing, preparing classes for my teaching job (and this is after my 30-minute of reading that I do before sitting down to work).
I don’t have my email open anymore all the time, and I don’t have my business email on either my phone or iPad.
Instead, I try my best to only open my email when I have the mental space and the time to actually do something with it. So often in the past, I’d open my email, see a message that I wanted to do something with, but not have the time to actually act on it. The message would linger in my inbox—and in my mind.
I only open my email when I have the mental space and time to actually do something with it.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are generally the days that I spent on my business. In order to prevent myself from feeling like I “have” to check my business email on other days of the week, I’ve set up an out-of-office reply to say that I only check and respond to my business email on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This creates boundaries for me, and clarity for people who get in touch with me.
Similarly, in my scheduling software, I’ve set my availability to Tuesdays and Thursdays only. On those days, I’m not available until 10, and have also blocked time for lunch.
I don’t beat myself up about sticking to these boundaries though. Sometimes I do mindlessly check my business email. Sometimes I reply on a Monday, and not on a Tuesday. That’s fine. But I do keep these boundaries in mind to prevent myself from feeling frazzled. In the end, these strategies that help me run a slow, gentle and profitable business need to serve me–not serve as a tool to beat myself up with.
There is a slower, gentler and more profitable way of running your business.
Discover your way of doing your business with my 1:1 mentoring support.
No hacks, no hustle.
Instead: marketing and launching that is slow, gentle and gets results. Clear boundaries and priorities that encourage you to live a life next to your business. Accountability and support to help you create the live and business you crave.
#3 set prices that support me financially
This is one of the key strategies that helps me run a slow, gentle and profitable business. I have more to say about this under #4, but when I set my prices, I made sure that these prices would be high enough to support me. Pricing is a tricky one, whether you have a product business or a service business.
I go into more detail on how to set prices in this post, but my general rule is that I need to be able to make enough money with my business in the days that I have available for it. I’ve created a scale for this, which means that I don’t need to be fully booked in order to make enough money.
#4 develop multiple income streams
One of the big things we don’t talk about much in small business is whether our business supports us financially 100%. It seems to be this dirty little secret that we all carry around—almost as if your business is only a success is it does support you financially 100%. It’s a topic I’ll dive into deeper in the future (make sure you’re on my email list to read it when I do!).
But, as of writing this blog post, my business does not support me financially 100%. My business is about three years old, and during that time I’ve tried out several things and shifted my focus once or twice.
I’d love to make more money with my business. It’s something I’m working towards, and I remind myself to trust myself and my business a lot.
Next to my business, I work part-time in higher education three days a week. I love teaching and have a PhD in English literature, and teaching English literature is something I generally enjoy. I also have a partner who contributes financially to our household.
I’m currently exploring adding more income streams to my business and to my life. My main offering is 1:1 mentoring—I love diving deep with small business owners like you, supporting you in making that slow, gentle and profitable business come true.
Over the next year, I’ll start adding other offers to my business. I’m planning a programme on slow, gentle and profitable marketing. I’m planning to give more workshops in memberships and communities. And I’m planning other, smaller ways for you to support me financially, and get bonus resources, behind-the-scenes access to my business and more. If you want to stay in the loop on all of this, make sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter which is where I share everything first.
I’d love to know which of these practical strategies that help me run a slow, gentle and profitable business resonate with you. Are there any other strategies that you use and that you can recommend? I’d love to know!
Please feel free to share it with business friends, in your newsletter or on social media. 💛
I’d love to support you in all phases of your business. Providing clarity, focus and next steps is something that my clients tell me I’m really good at. If you’re curious about how we can work together through 1:1 mentoring, check out what I offer or send me an email–no strings attached. I have payment plans available, and flexible options for mentoring calls (30 or 60 minutes).