about me

Astrid Bracke, mentor for small business owners

Hi, I’m Astrid

I started my business because I longed to grow and experiment in ways that my 9-to-5 didn’t allow. I wanted more freedom and flexibility in my days, and be more in control of my income. 

Those early weeks of hatching a plan and starting my business were really exciting. But soon I felt lost. I realised that I had no idea how to build and run a business that worked for me—and none of the books I read or podcasts I listened to could tell me. 

Even though I wanted more freedom and flexibility, I was still stuck in ideas of productivity and work that I learned working 9-to-5 jobs. I wanted to honour my energy and work with it, but found it really difficult to incorporate my own patterns into my business (and enable more rest + give myself permission for it).

I struggled with social media: I realised that posting five days a week was great for my engagement, but bad for my emotional and mental health.

Especially because I was building my business next to my teaching job in higher education, my time was limited. And I didn’t want to spend that time serving social media, or doing things because other people said I had to. 

I wanted to mentor small business owners, run workshops + create workbooks and guides. I wanted to write blogposts and newsletters. 

In my previous career in academia I’d learned a fair bit about boundaries, and especially how I needed to set and affirm those again and again as I was dealing with mental health problems. When I started my own business, I learned that I needed to set boundaries here too, in ways similar and different to my 9-to-5.

A few years in, I have build a business that genuinely serves me and the life I want to live. I’ve kicked the ’shoulds’ to the curb, have grown confident in setting boundaries around availability and demands, and have created a marketing system that works for me, including social media. 

motivating, intuitive, clarity, ease, calm, clear, positive, insightful, reassuring
(how people describe working with me 💛)

likes + dislikes
+ strong, milky earl grey tea
+ reading all the books
+ filling my house with plants
+ 1:1 conversations with people
+ writing
+ creating workbooks and guides
+ my newsletter and Pinterest
+ yoga and Pilates
+ spending hours in coffee places
+ walks with friends and my partner
+ the sea

– productivity hacks
– ‘hustle’-culture
– early morning appointments
– white chocolate (ugh)
– large social events

I now mentor small business owners around the topics that I needed to learn most about:

(these also happen to be the topics I love to write and talk about most :))

  • marketing in a non-icky, slow and gentle way, with or without social media, that doesn’t require you to be ‘on’ all the time 
  • how to make time for your business consistently next to a 9-to-5, family demands or other obligations 
  • making time for rest + recharging, including if your hobby has become your business 
  • running your business from a place of energy
  • setting boundaries in and around your business
  • overcoming ingrained 9-to-5 habits, productivity stories and presenteeism 
  • self-doubt
  • dealing with the mental load of owning your own business