interview: Rachel Baker 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’ve asked lovely small business owners to share how they run a slow, gentle and profitable business. In this post, Rachel Baker, a.k.a the Ethical Copywriter, shares how she build her business, how she works best and also gives tips on how others can run a slow, gentle and profitable business too. Enjoy!

Rachel Baker, the Ethical Copywriter

Rachel, a.k.a The Ethical Copywriter, is a freelance copy and content writer who works with ethical and sustainable businesses, helping them succeed with good words.

In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, walking the dog and settling down with a good book (or reality show…).

Find out more about Rachel on her website and connect with her through LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

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?

For me, balancing a slow and gentle life with running a profitable business is all about working in sync with myself, which also happens to be the most efficient way of working, I find!

I noticed a long time ago that my energy is at its highest in the morning, while I’m always sluggish in the afternoon and really struggle to concentrate. I also work best when I can focus really hard for an hour or so, then step away and take a proper break, so I can come back and do focused work again. Sitting at a desk for 8 hours never worked for me (does it work for anyone?!).

So for me, a typical day looks like doing my focussed tasks like writing, proofreading and admin in the morning, while the afternoon is reserved for calls and research. I have a gentle start and usually begin working around 9:30/10. My lunch break is often an hour and a half/2 hours, with time to eat, take the dog for a walk, and sit and chill. I’m often known to take a cheeky afternoon nap as well.

The great thing is that I get just as much work done – in fact probably more – than if I chained myself to the desk all day. When I come back to work after a decent break or a nap, I’m rejuvenated. And for creative, focussed work like writing, that’s so important.

For me, balancing a slow and gentle life with running a profitable business is all about working in sync with myself, which also happens to be the most efficient way of working, I find!

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

I’ve always been quite an independent worker, and when I did some freelance work after university I really liked being able to work to my own schedule. Back then though, I was very much a freelancer rather than a business owner and was more tied to the projects and hours that agencies expected me to work.

I spent a few years working in offices, where I really struggled with sitting at a desk all day. In the back of my mind, I always had the idea that I’d work for myself again one day.

When the pandemic hit I was made redundant. After an initial period of panic and trying to pick up any freelance work going, I decided to set up my company The Ethical Copywriter to work with ethical and sustainable businesses.

I joined some freelancer communities where I learned more about creating the kind of business you want, setting boundaries with work and making it fit around your life. I read Company of One by Paul Jarvis, which was a huge eye-opener about different ways of doing business.

I’ve become more and more passionate about the fact that there are different ways to work, and that a slow & gentle lifestyle is what suits me. I’m working hard to shake off the inner corporate guilt that’s been drummed into me and not feel bad when I start work a bit later or take a longer break.

Honestly, the first year of working for myself was really tough, financially and mentally. However, I had a vision of the life I wanted to lead, which kept me going. I’m now at the point where I’ve achieved that, and I can honestly say I love the life that I’ve carved out for myself. I feel like I’m really enjoying my day-to-day, rather than waiting for the weekend to live my life.

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

Figure out how you work best and create a routine that fits with that. Whether you do certain tasks on specific days of the week or month or times of day, you’re the boss, so do what works for you, not what you feel you *should* be doing. Personally, I also found that creating some kind of routine or structure was really important for staying motivated and preventing overwhelm.

Set boundaries. Consider what’s important to you and put boundaries in place to protect those things. For example, for many of us, being able to switch off is so important. So perhaps you protect that by only being reachable via certain channels (e.g. email) or at certain times.

Have patience. Building a profitable business isn’t going to be an overnight thing, and neither is learning to slow down and switch gears. As long as you’re always taking little steps towards your goals, that’s the important thing. Looking back and comparing to what things were like a month/few months/year ago can really help you appreciate how far you’ve come.

Thank you Rachel, for sharing this peek into how you are running a slow, gentle and profitable business. I love your focus on discovering what works for you, and breaking away from 9-to-5 mentality as well! Discover more about Rachel through her website and connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

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 interview 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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