interview: Josephine Brooks on running a slow, gentle + profitable business

One of my key values is community: I love connecting with other small business owners and get inspired by how they run their businesses and live their lives. In this interview series I’m asking lovely small business owners to share how they run a slow, gentle and profitable business. In this post, Josephine Brooks shares her journey to living a slow and gentle life, and the steps she’s taken to creating a slow, gentle and profitable business. Enjoy!

Interview: slow, gentle and profitable business with Josephine Brooks (pictured)

Josephine Brooks works with coaches, course creators and change makers on creating sales funnels without the ick and adding evergreen marketing to their business.

Find out more about Josephine on her website and connect with her through Instagram and Pinterest.

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What does living a slow and gentle life, and having a slow, gentle and profitable business look like to you? What does a day look like for you?

I used to think living a slow and gentle life was wearing linen dresses, wafting around in meadows and lighting candles, and as lovely as that sounds, that’s not the reality. 

In fact it’s an unrealistic pressure we can put on ourselves, and a stick we can use to beat ourselves with when our slow and gentle lifestyle and business doesn’t live up to (unrealistic) expectation.  

I’ve found that slow and gentle living is more to do with listening to your body, your intuition and following your curiosity and energy. That means my routine tends to change throughout the seasons and what my work looks like changes as I grow and evolve. 

Working hours

At the moment my routine looks like starting the day around 8, when I get up and walk the dogs (I have a Labrador and a Spaniel with endless energy who need walking). A couple of times a week I get up earlier, around 7, and ride out a friend’s horses that are based about 5 minutes away from me. This is what really recharges my batteries and makes me feel really glad I am in charge of my own schedule!

I like to make my non-negotiables (horse riding, walking my dogs, slow mornings) happen first in my day so they get done first before any other appointments and to-do’s.

I start working at around 11am most days, unless I feel inspired first thing, then I’ll often write a blog post while sat with my morning cup of tea in the garden or in my PJs in bed. 

I work until 5pm when I wrap up, feed the dogs, make dinner and hang out with my husband, probably watching something trashy on TV for a bit, or we might take the dogs for a walk down the river and go to the pub for dinner. 

Sometimes in the evenings I will do a bit of work. If I do, it will always be easy stuff I find easy and don’t need much brain power for like Canva graphics or scheduling Pinterest. I don’t mind working in the evenings and I only do it when I feel inspired to.

I work with clients Monday – Thursday so Fridays usually consist of working on my own business and creating evergreen marketing content, before finishing early. Some weeks, when I get organised, I will get all of that done before end of the day on Thursday so I can take Fridays off. 

Overall I like to follow my energy and inspiration with my work, sometimes this will mean working an evening, others it will mean taking a nap at 2pm on a Monday. I’m all about having a routine – BUT being flexible with it.  

Slow and gentle business

In my business, my focus is on being intentional with my time and avoiding the trap of scrolling endlessly on Instagram. As a result, I often delete Instagram from my phone, schedule my posts through Business Suite and only use Instagram on desktop where I’m a lot more intentional with how I use it. 

I try to follow my energy as much as possible with my work. When I start working with clients I have a kick off call to explain my working hours, how I communicate with my clients and how I work so they don’t expect me to be in touch every single day, and so I can be flexible with how I use my time working with them. I’m a big fan of setting expectations with clients early on as that sets the tone from the get-go of how I work. 

I tend to work in 2-3 hour blocks, which is what I’ve found works for me to get really focussed and in the zone with my projects. 

In my marketing I do a lot fewer live launches now, and focus my energy into creating evergreen content that will grow organically over time rather than getting on the content treadmill that is social media where my content only has a shelf life of a few days. 

And this is how I walk my talk, because this is the stuff I help my clients with too – escaping the launch cycle and eye-watering screen time on Instagram by helping them power up their evergreen marketing and build anti-ick marketing funnels. 

What inspired you to live this way? Which choices and changes did you make, or have to make? 

Firstly, I was a terrible employee and I HATE feeling like I’m being told what to do. I’ve always been an independent person and I started my business out of a hunger to be my own boss. 

But then a bad bout of anxiety and depression meant I got signed off work for a couple of months back in 2018. That gave me the final nudge I needed to grow my business and escape my 9-5 job, so that I could create a slow, gentle lifestyle that nurtured my mental health. 

Being my own boss has made a MASSIVE difference to making the slow, gentle lifestyle I dreamed of a reality because I can set my work hours and respond to how I’m feeling, which is something I could never do in my 9-5 job. 

But even in my own business I ended up getting burnt out after a cycle of launches and relying on Instagram for a big bulk of my sales. I got so busy running my business that I didn’t have time to actually live the lifestyle I set it up for. 

Luckily, burnout gave me the nudge I needed to find a much more sustainable and fulfilling way to run and market my business, by focussing on evergreen marketing rather than feeling like I had to be on Instagram every day. 

What three tips would you suggest for readers who also want to create a slow, gentle and profitable business? 

I was talking to a client recently about who her ideal audience was. She described someone who called her friends every week, never worked evenings, always had time to make her meals from scratch, had a wardrobe full of eco-friendly sustainable clothes and made time for reading and self-care every day. I said to her: ‘Does this person even exist? Even my friends who have nannies and don’t work don’t live this life!’

She found it really reassuring to have this conversation because she realised that she was assuming there were lots of people out there living this lifestyle and was beating herself up for not living that lifestyle too. 

We put unrealistic expectations on ourselves of what our slow and gentle lifestyle should look like, and we assume everyone else reflecting that image on Instagram IS living that lifestyle. 

But we need to remember that Instagram isn’t just the highlight reel of people’s days, it’s also highly curated! If you turned the camera round on a lot of those pictures, you’d see a disorganised mess a lot of the time. 

Slow, gentle living & business isn’t beautiful and perfectly balanced, it’s messy and seasonal – sometimes we have seasons where our businesses are ticking along and we can lean much more into the slow gentle life. Other times something will happen in our business that requires our full attention and there’s a season of hustle. The important thing is to avoid the constant-hustle. 

3 tips for a slow, gentle and profitable business

Understand what your non-negotiables are and make them your priority – i.e. the first thing you do in your day. 

The reality of creating a profitable business is that sometimes you are going to have to hustle – especially in the early days, and especially if you want to see results faster. Give yourself permission for your slow and gentle lifestyle and business to be messy and don’t set unrealistic expectations of what a slow and gentle lifestyle and business looks like based on what you see on Instagram. 

Go evergreen with your marketing and set up systems that save you time. Not so long ago I learned the hard way that being reliant on regular launches and sales from Instagram would lead to burnout. I had to re-evaluate my business and shift the way I do marketing to fit with the lifestyle I want to live and what’s best for my introverted self. Burnout helped me discover the importance of powering up my evergreen marketing, implementing feel-good sales funnels and actually making that elusive work/life blend a reality, and as a result I have got back to a much more sustainable way of working.

Thank you Josephine, for sharing this peek into how you are running a slow, gentle and profitable business. I love seeing how much we have in common in terms of what is important to us, such as slow mornings and focusing on non-negotiables. Find out more about Josephine and the ways in which she can help you build evergreen marketing into your business through her website. I’d definitely recommend signing up for her newsletter while you’re there. You can also connect with her through Instagram and Pinterest

If you’d like to answer these questions on how you are building and running a slow, gentle and profitable business, do get in touch with me. More interviews on how to run a slow, gentle and profitable small business are coming soon! Sign up for my newsletter below so you never miss one.

And, if you want to create that slow, gentle and profitable business that truly nourishes you, discover how we can work together here.

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