Podcast episode artwork with Holly and Amy at a podcast Microphone

Do you find that you only ever get so far in your business?

That, no matter how successful you are, it’s always a little less success than you hoped for?

Wanting to always be that little bit further along than you currently are?

Most of us self-sabotage without even realising it. We have hopes and dreams for our businesses and they often stay just that… dreams. It can be demoralising not ever being able to pin point what’s really going wrong and how to turn it about.

In this co-hosted episode with me and  Amy Newlands, my business bestie, we take a deep dive to recognise the signs that we’re self sabotaging, why we do it (anyone interested in psychology is going to love this one) and how to stop it. We draw on personal experience and years of working with other, independent businesses.

Are you looking to be more successful in your business?

It’s time to recognise then ditch the behaviours that are keeping you stuck.

Episode Transcript

I'm Holly Christie, your host. I'm a website designer, mentor, and marketing strategist. I have two companies, This Demanding Life for small businesses who want to grow with flow, which means not running themselves ragged, and SimplySites for startups and micro businesses who want a stellar website and experience.

I'm here to help you to fall in love with your small business, to show you how to implement fabulous business practices, and how to turn those challenging moments into defining moments where you find your strength. Today I am joined by Amy Newlands. Amy is someone who I have worked with for five years now.

She is a, an artist, a branding designer, a graphic designer, you name it. If it involves creativity and colour, preferably, then she can do it. And Amy and I have, as I say, worked together for so many years that she is my absolute second in command. this demanding life. And all those beautiful Simply Sights graphics you see, those are all from Amy, not from me.

One of the things that Amy and I have noticed crops up quite often with small businesses is self sabotage. And lots and lots of people don't even realise that they're doing it. But I promise you, every one of us has self sabotaged at one point or another. And whether it's deliberately avoiding a client's call, or being inflexible about something which just needs a tiny bit of give, it's never quite putting in what's needed to get you over that hurdle to success.

Whatever it is, Amy and I are here to help you to identify it, to overcome it. And ultimately, to turn your sabotage into success. Are you ready? Welcome Amy! Come and say hello! Hello! Hello, hello. Talk us through a little bit of your journey, because lots of people know you independently, but also lots of people know you through my newsletters and my posts.

I'm like, ah, this is my Amy, but lots of people don't hear you quite so much there. So you've been doing this for a very long time now, haven't you? The artistry and graphic design.

[00:02:29] Amy Newlands: I have. It's almost nine years. As a business, um, I've always kind of been an artie from the time I could hold a pencil, really.

Um, but after my son started nursery, I decided it was time to find something that fitted with family life. Um, My business first started out doing custom illustrations for people, and whether those were portraits or cartoons, I just developed from there. So these days I'm quite well known for the mini me's, um, which I guess a lot, a lot of your followers will have already seen on your old branding.

[00:03:09] Holly Christie: I'm well known for my mini me's you created, and I think just before we retired then we counted that I had a record breaking 18 mini me's. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:03:20] Amy Newlands: To

[00:03:20] Holly Christie: be fair.

[00:03:22] Amy Newlands: Um, and from there, I think it just kind of developed. People started. Asking for logos and full brands, um, and as someone who's kind of learned in the hot seat as I've went along, um, it was easy enough to develop those skills with, uh, hard work, long hours, as we both know.

Um, So these days it's mainly brands, uh, as you know, um,

I have to say, I don't think I would change it now.

[00:03:56] Holly Christie: No, I have to say, I love our work on branding together. And, uh, one of my most favorite things are our branding brainstorm sessions where we'll sit there with the clients on zoom and Amy will share her screen and she'll be creating in Photoshop and then I'll throw in some ideas of let's try this or let's change that color.

And then it just all appears as Amy creates it. I'm. So envious of your skill set. Um, but yeah, it's really, really good fun. The branding isn't. Yeah. Yeah. And I love getting into the branding of what are we trying to say through this logo? What are we trying to represent as we're creating it? So it's not just shoving shapes on the canvas, is it?

[00:04:36] Amy Newlands: Oh, if only,

[00:04:39] Holly Christie: if only. So, in your nine years of, uh, business, how many of those, uh, years would you say have involved self sabotage?

[00:04:49] Amy Newlands: Every single one of them.

[00:04:52] Holly Christie: I think that every small business, especially like Amy said, this came about after her son was born. Uh, people who know my story know that This Demanding Life actually started out as a blog when I had my small children and then turned into a business not so long ago.

through blogging. I wasn't good enough at that side of it. It was more that I then just kept the company name and changed it into the business and every year there will be something. I think I'm less about the self sabotage now. Um, but that's because I do have a team behind me kind of cracking the whips, so I think that's easier.

Um, but I would say everyone has that point within each year of their business where there's something that they could have behaved better in or given more of their attention to and that sort of thing. So for the listeners here to say, when I decided I was going to do a episode on self-sabotage, I threw out to the team on a WhatsApp chat.

So I was on train to Birmingham and I had got the first two. points for self sabotage. And I was like, Oh, I can't just do an episode on two points. What, what else? So I threw the question out to the team and they just flew back with their answers. So I have a list of stuff that we're going to talk about, which are signs of self sabotage and obviously what we can do to overcome those.

So, Amy, the first one, and I think this is the one that people are going to recognize the least as self sabotage, but will probably admit to and own as doing the most in their own business, and that is procrastination.

[00:06:30] Amy Newlands: Oh, absolutely. This is one I do myself. Yep. Just like, oh, I really need to do that thing.

And it might only take five minutes. Hmm. You're like, oh, I'll do it later or do some scrolling on your phone because you're going to, you're going to message a customer back or you need to check the messages or your emails and you're like, I'll just scroll for five minutes and then I'll get to it. And it's the smallest little things that you don't notice to begin with, absolutely.

[00:07:01] Holly Christie: I, I agree. And I think I'm actually the opposite of that. I find it really hard to stop doing something. So, um, you know, sometimes my kids might find dinner dished up at nine o'clock at night because I couldn't stop the flow of creativity or, I have a saying, like, if you want to get on, always do one more thing.

Um, you know, even if it's like it for me, I work from home, so keeping on top of the house can be quite important for me because if I don't feel my environment's right, then I can't get that creativity and stuff. So my like one more thing rule might be rather than. Just getting up and leaving the sitting room, it would just be getting up, tidying the cushions on the sofa, and then leaving the sitting room.

Um, but as I say, with my work, I can tend to take it to, I'll just do one more thing. I'll just write that post. I'll just find an image for that post. I'll just schedule that post. Just do that. But I think lots of people go into procrastination as a freeze response to, you know, There were, and it could be because they're feeling overwhelmed with it, or they don't have quite the skill set to deal with it because ultimately as entrepreneurs, we should always be pushing ourselves.

We should always, always be stretching ourselves and learning and growing and. That growth can be really uncomfortable. And so procrastination can, you know, kind of sit you right back there in your comfort zone, but you're not going to build a business inside your comfort zone. It just doesn't happen, does it?

[00:08:37] Amy Newlands: Absolutely. And I think one of the, one of the main times I find myself doing it is if I had a client who needed changes to something, especially in the beginning, not so much now, um, if they came back to me and says, Oh, I like this, but I need this changed. Can we, can we find, Another accessory for my mini me, for example, and I think the procrastination came in because I was almost kind of hurt that I didn't get it right.

In the beginning, it always felt like kind of like an insult that I've done something wrong. So you automatically have that, Oh no, I've done it wrong. They're like, they're going to be mad at me. Whereas, and especially in the creative industry, it's. Extremely hard to get it right first time around. And it's not a reflection on you as a person, but you still have that kind of, I don't want to message them back because they're going to be mad at me.

So I'll just, I'll just go do this for five minutes and then I'll go do that. Before you know it, it's like two days later and you still haven't messaged them back.

[00:09:41] Holly Christie: You see my experience is different to that. So I don't think that someone's going to be mad at me because they don't like a design or something like that.

Often when I present a design for someone and it's the first iteration of it, it's usually, well no, it's always. Best that I can create with the material that I've been given to the information that I've been given from the client. So if, you know, I like this style or I like that style, or, you know, this is color palettes and stuff like that.

So for me, when people then come back and say, Oh, it doesn't feel quite right, or I don't like it or whatever else. It, it can put me into that freeze response because I think, well, I've just delivered what I think is the best I can do. And ultimately I do get over that barrier. And what we can end up design wise can be very, very different, or it can be subtle changes.

In fact, I would say most of the times now people will come to me and say, you've nailed it. Can we just have these kinds of subtle changes? Um, Other than my sister, who is my toughest customer for this. And I remember doing a whole website page and thinking this, thinking this is really hard to work with.

The coffee's hard to work with the, all of it and doing something. And she came back and just said, yeah, it just, it's really boring. And I was like, Oh my God. Um, And actually hers is completely different now and I love it and I love that I was pushed out of my comfort zone that we have these bold colors and strips and stuff and actually her website's now one that I use kind of top and center, front and center of my portfolio to show people, you know, what can be achieved the other side of your comfort zone.

So, um, procrastination is It's never, I would say, about not having the time, it's you going into a freeze response around what it is. And I think sometimes it's not so much about doing the eat the frog practice of just, you know, get it over with. I think it's more about identifying why are you avoiding the task?

[00:11:50] Amy Newlands: Absolutely. Um, one thing I do is. If I feel like I still need that kind of five minutes or so, I'll set a timer now, because my usual behavior is either scrolling on my phone or I'm going to clean something. Um, as you well know, um, so I kind of set a time and I give myself five, 10 minutes to kind of digest what information I was given.

And then, then when that alarm goes off, I have to go back and talk to them because I I find myself procrastinating for days if I don't.

[00:12:25] Holly Christie: I have to say that's why I often, uh, get clients to sign up to Zoom calls and stuff, or if we're not getting it when we're going back and forth on a website build or something, I'll get them on Zoom and then that does make me show up for it as well.

Yes. So, yeah, I think I can be, I know that I've got a website I'm building at the moment, which I was just telling Amy that I've been procrastinating, procrastinating in, and it's because I'm finding it hard to get the creativity with it. And I think definitely, you know, what's it when the going gets tough, the procrastination gets going, doesn't, uh, um, so another one, which I think is actually not that.

Well, I suppose it is different to procrastination, which is why it's separate. But another one that people won't necessarily think of as self sabotage, but is massively, massively self sabotaging is perfectionism.

[00:13:19] Amy Newlands: Oh goodness, yeah. Yeah.

[00:13:25] Holly Christie: So we all want to be, our stuff to be perfect. Of course we do. Like Amy said, like, oh, if I don't get it right, someone's going to be mad at me.

And I just don't like the idea of thinking there's something else. There in the world, but I could have done better, but you know, I haven't brought the best thing and there was an amazing quote It was actually a meme which someone I think had put on Twitter and it says along the lines of while you're there busy with your Perfectionism know that there is someone out there completely mediocre Doing a worse job than you and they're never intending to improve and people are paying the money for it And I just thought it was such a good way.

I mean, the person put it much more succinctly than me, but it's perfectionism. Oh, it's the thief of joy. It's an absolute blocker and it is complete and utter self sabotage.

[00:14:16] Amy Newlands: Absolutely. I still find this one hard, the perfectionism thing. And, um, no hate towards my parents, but growing up, it was always practice makes perfect.

Then I can't, I can't fault that logic for them. Because that's what got me through the hard practices, the, the drawing classes, the, the extra time with the art teachers, like, I practice, I'll get better, I'll get better. And I mean, with practice, almost everything gets better. Um, but that striving for perfectionism, uh, kind of put me in a, in an all or nothing headspace.

[00:14:59] Holly Christie: Like, if

[00:14:59] Amy Newlands: it's not perfect, it's not going out. Um, and that's no good for any small business to think that way. Like, if it's not perfect, we're not going to put anything out there.

[00:15:09] Holly Christie: No, and I think it's interesting because our parents generation, and I was, and still am, uh, with my parents held to very, very high standards.

And I, It's interesting, because on one hand, the world that they grew up in was less detailed. You couldn't take a picture and blow it up and look for, you know, the irregular lines in it or whatever else. And then I think for that, um, generation also the devil was in the detail, you know, we weren't allowed out without our hair being, you know, absolutely perfect and our clothes being clean.

And, you know, sometimes I see my mom wince when she sees my toddler charging out, you know, dressed in her big brother's clothes and, you know, just mess and hair everywhere and stuff. And it's interestingly, I did, um, podcast interview with, uh, Gus Bandel, who's, uh, the marketing guru, amazing. And he's been in marketing for 20 odd years.

And I spoke to him about the differences between, um, moving from print media to digital media, because he was there for that. And he said, fundamentally, those principles are the same, whether you take it between, um, from print to digital. Um, I think that that kind of talks about the generations as well.

There's that real kind of blurring. Like you say, practice makes perfect, but I think there's too much scrutiny on the perfect as well. And to go completely off topic, you know, you see the teenagers with all the makeup videos and tutorials and the contouring and the everything's got to look perfect and it's, it's hard, but.

Just like humans are, um, as Glennon Doyle so famously said, be complicated and messy and afraid and just show up anyway. And that's about life. And that's about our businesses too, because businesses are messy and they are complicated. And a lot of the time these entrepreneurs are really afraid and there's just no room for perfectionist, um, perfectionism in business.

There just isn't.

[00:17:17] Amy Newlands: There really isn't. That is, that is a big one. There isn't. Social media moves too fast for you to be taking hours and hours on finding the perfect post. If you're struggling that day, fire something up that's personal. Talk about your day. Be consistent with it, just be out there, don't, don't strive for perfection, especially on social media.

[00:17:45] Holly Christie: And as Sheryl Sandberg so famously said, done is better than perfect. Get it done. Yeah,

[00:17:50] Amy Newlands: I need to remember that one. I'll need, I'll need to write it down. I shall put it

[00:17:54] Holly Christie: on your office wall. Absolutely. Yep. Um, so the next thing that we are looking at is I like this one. It ties in with how we put it, not quite showing up.

So you're there, but you're not there.

[00:18:12] Amy Newlands: Mm hmm.

[00:18:13] Holly Christie: Yeah. That's me, right now. I know, that's why I left this meaningful pause.

[00:18:20] Amy Newlands: That's me. Like, I hold my hands up to, um, I, I don't know, I've been saying for the past couple of months, um, I just, I'm just kind of floundering. Mm Like, um, I'll put a couple of posts up a week maybe, and they're just random ones that have probably been reused from a few months ago, because my brain is just not in the game.

[00:18:43] Holly Christie: And I think, again, it's that when we feel the pressure, we go into a freeze state. So, you know how the psychologists used to always say there was fight or flight, you went for one or the other? And psychologists have then gone on to develop it to say that there's fight, flight, freeze, and thorn. And they say a

So, if you grew up, for example, with a really flighty parent, you know, very explosive parent, it's likely that you, it's likely that you're going to have one of two responses. You're either going to freeze and just not say anything, almost like, make myself invisible. This will pass. And it will be okay, just don't do anything to aggravate it, or you're going to fawn and you're going to try and make the parent feel better to coming out of it, like, oh, no, it's not so bad.

Oh, look, my behavior is really good. Look how I'm doing, you know, let's, you know, jolly jolly sort of thing. And we take those responses and everyone's got like a combination of these responses, but we Take those responses into our businesses. And that's where I know I keep saying to people that I'm going to do a specific episode on boundaries.

I haven't done a specific episode on boundaries because I talk about boundaries in every episode. And I always think, and it's coming up in this one. Um, I always think I cover it enough. Um, but we, it's where we have to learn different boundaries with a, our clients in business, but also with ourselves in business.

Um, so when we are not quite showing up, we have usually gone into the freeze response because when we're not quite showing up, it's actually when we need to show up the most. And that can be because the market's tough and no one's spending any money. And so we, We can go into that phrase response, but let's say using your example of social media is that you're saying you, you kind of can't think what to put in those posts because you've got so much writing on it.

And that's where that perfectionism kicks in again. There's so much writing. This post needs to be the one that gets people to buy. So the post's got to be perfect. I'm not sure I can do a perfect post because the market's tough and it feels like a reflection of me. I'm in a freeze state. I'm not quite showing up.

I'm physically at my desk, but mentally I'm not here.

[00:21:15] Amy Newlands: Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely.

[00:21:17] Holly Christie: I'm listening, I promise. So what would you say your answer is? I just got a directed lecture there.

I'm trying to explain to people when they, because one of the things that I think you can find, you as in everyone can find, when they are not quite showing up is they start to feel really bad about themselves. And they start to feel that it's, It's a reflection of them, that people don't want to work with them, that they're not good enough.

All that negative chatter comes in, and it's not to do with any of that, it's that they're stuck in this freeze state as well. Absolutely. What do you think, um, helps people to get out of that state?

[00:22:07] Amy Newlands: I'm not being funny, but if I knew that I wouldn't be stuck in it.

[00:22:12] Holly Christie: I often find asking for help is, uh, something that people are really struggle with when they're in a freeze state because they're not in a rational thinking. Um, but actually having someone else who can kind of Guide you out of it. I went through a freeze state in my marketing, um, last year, just after I launched the new website, so much went into the new website launch that I just went into a freeze state around everything else.

And so I had Joe Gardner, who's a content creator, come and create the content just to get me back on that horse with it as well. And, um, sometimes when I feel like I'm, uh, I just can't cope with the world, there is this amazing website designer, uh, called Mike Cotton. We met a few years ago, um, on LinkedIn and he is like my go to for, Oh, I feel like I can't do any of it.

Or I just need a pep talk or I just need a friend in the business. And I think I've got a lot. Better at reaching out over the last couple of years. But if you'd asked me to reach out before, then it would have been a big fat firm. No, but yeah, life is so much better for it. I'm currently working with a new person called Ben, who I was chatting to yesterday.

And we were saying about that just needing another. business owner to bounce off without burdening my whole team with, you know, these are my thoughts and my feelings. And I always think that if you find that you're in a freeze state, find someone who can just, you know, even if it's 15 minutes a week, you can chat to who can just help you overcome that negative chatter that's going on in your

[00:23:50] Amy Newlands: head.

Absolutely. And on the topic of how you. almost burnt out after the website launch last year. I want to talk about another self sabotage which is allowing yourself to run on empty.

[00:24:08] Holly Christie: That is next on the list. I'm literally working through your list. You were the one who came up with almost all of these. I had come up with the perfectionism procrastination.

You came up with, and I quote, lack of boundaries leading to burnout. Take it away, Amy Newlands. Absolutely.

[00:24:27] Amy Newlands: Um, I think for a lot of small business owners, um, they constantly feel like they have to be on the go. They have to be working, they have to be pushing, they have to keep doing this. Um, if they're not working on, um, products or working with their clients in their services, they feel like they have to be finding the next one, what they're going to do, how to improve.

And sometimes the only thing they have to do to improve Stick an eye off.

[00:24:57] Holly Christie: Absolutely. And I find actually my creativity is a lot better for stepping away. I'll often have the ideas when I'm at the gym and, you know, when there's no computer in front of me or I'm swimming or something like that, and my head will just start to unlock the colors and the patterns and what things should be.

You have to allow yourself to rest. And we went through a period last year. It was actually this time last year where you and I had started the year with about 18 websites, they're kind of listed and we were going through them. And I was so used to working until like midnight, one o'clock in the morning, thinking I'm a small business owner.

This is my job. This is my role. And then when you started doing it for my business. It's when I really realized how toxic that practice was to still be working at one o'clock in the morning. I mean, you know, that's when we should be sleeping, that's when we should be relaxing. And yeah, that lack of boundaries, um, leading to burnouts is a really rough thing.

[00:25:58] Amy Newlands: Absolutely. And I think when people hear the words lack of boundaries, they just automatically assume we mean with other people.

[00:26:07] Holly Christie: Well, yeah, I would say yes and no. I worked with a very challenging client last year, and I luckily seem to only have one a year. The challenging clients, but this one was, I've talked in earlier episodes about red flag clients, this one had come in with all the, Oh, you're the best in the world, everything's amazing.

Blah, blah, blah. And it's like, okay, it's a little for long, but I know that they've followed my work for a long time. And I don't work with people who have slagged off the previous website designer. I, as you'll know, from previous episodes, I'll say in all of my years of experience, it is never the previous website designers issue, even if their skillset was a little bit limited or the website build was a bit old fashioned, or, you know, they'd reached the end of where they could go with it, usually You know, the issue came with the client there, and this client kind of knew that I had that stance on it.

And so rather than say, oh, there was an issue with web designer or something like that, they just said, oh, well, web designer's gone in another direction. You know that I'm a legacy client, it's just time to move on. So I thought, oh, yeah, yeah. Okay. So I started the website build, it was great. We got to the point of publish, we published it was all great.

And then boom, they came in, we want these changes. This isn't working, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I remember it was this time last year, actually we published in May last year, we were recording this mid April. I still remember waking up in the morning. At about 6. 30 in the morning and literally opening my eyes and leaping out of bed and flying down the stairs to go and check that the website was okay or that a change had implemented or whatever it was.

And I remember in that moment of standing there at 6. 30 in the morning, which is earlier than I normally get up anyway, and thinking, this isn't right. No client should have this power. And then the client carried on with that. And I remember sitting there and I'm quite unshakable in business, as you'll know, you know, it's been a long time.

And they sent through this long list of changes they then decided they wanted, couldn't live without, and had to be done by, and I quote, seven o'clock on a Saturday morning. And I remember sitting there with my partner in tears saying, why would someone treat me like this? And so, yes, it can be a lack of boundaries around a client.

It can And that lack of boundaries around yourself. Yeah, I could have said to the client, I don't work at seven o'clock on Saturday mornings. So that's not happening. I'll get to this next week. Um, but it can be hard when the people around you, you know, this client had this, um, I remember my therapist referring to it as hostile energy.

She's like, when you've got this hostile energy, it's It sends you back into those responses we were talking about from childhood. So for me, it sent me back into that thorn response. Just do what she says and it will go away. Just do what she says. It'll go away. It never went away. I ended up five months later firing the client.

Um, it wasn't an easy process and you know, it's not a nice thing to do, but looking back now, the only thing I wish is that I had fired her the five months previously when she was trying to make me work at seven o'clock on a Saturday morning or in time for seven o'clock on a Saturday morning. So yeah, lack of boundaries.

Um, yeah, always kind of starts with yourself, like how you're valuing yourself.

[00:29:40] Amy Newlands: Yeah, absolutely. Um, finding those boundaries and where that comfortable spot and I say comfortable but where you want to be set your hours. Um, and it wasn't until probably towards the end of last summer that we both kind of said, right, okay, we're not going, we sat down, we're like, we don't like working Mondays, we're not working Mondays.

We're, we're going to do this on a Thursday. I just

[00:30:08] Holly Christie: want to interject here, it's not because I'm a Monday hater, it's because I don't have childcare on Monday. So, nothing to do with that. But Amy doesn't like Mondays, so she doesn't like Mondays for that reason. She has childcare.

[00:30:21] Amy Newlands: I didn't want, I didn't want to go back to that, oh it's Monday, I have to work today.

Like, I didn't want that feeling anymore, so I don't work on Monday. No, no, no. Um, but yeah, we, we sat down and we said, okay, like, this, this, we can't keep doing this. Um, this is not healthy. Um, obviously with the view to expand and everything for yourself and me, we're like, we can't be working until 11 o'clock and expect someone to answer us at 11 o'clock because we need, or we're looking for like help or anything.

So we're like, right, sort of dinnertime ish, like no set example or like times or anything. Like when the kids are home from school, we start winding down. We turn off at this time of night. Um, And for the most part we're good at that, except when, except when I get crazy ideas to decorate an entire room in a week, um, which then has me working the night shift.

We tend to try and stick to that now, and I think it works better for both of us.

[00:31:23] Holly Christie: I agree. And I think also we're both much better with clients saying we're going to be on reduced hours next week. And that won't necessarily be because it's school holidays or anything like that. It will usually be because we're striving for that work life balance.

And for us as well, the busy period for us is always that September to Christmas. Yeah. Everyone suddenly wants their websites ready for Christmas. People often book websites at the beginning of the year and then it takes them a long time to get their content across to us, so everything bottlenecks and then people come back off summer holidays.

And we might find ourselves trying to publish, you know, 12 websites in a three month period or something like that. And for us sometimes, you know, There is a benefit to kind of working in those evenings sometimes because, um, you know, it's dark, the summer's over, you know, we're not doing anything anyway, and we get to kind of clear the decks so we can start January with a fresh slate of websites.

Um, so it's about kind of finding that balance. And I think we're very much about kind of making, hey, well, the sun shines as well, you know, that we, you know, if there's not a lot of work to do, we don't sit there. I mean, we've always got something to do, but there's that balance. We don't sit there staring at a blank screen.

We will kind of go out and find other ways of kind of prioritizing good mental well being, isn't there? Absolutely. Absolutely. So the next one on your list. This is Amy's list we're working on now, although I've got a couple of Sharon's ones in here as well. Sharon's our lovely VA, who, God, we wouldn't be without her, and not a lot would get done.

Another one on your list, Amy, is reprioritizing doing anything but the one thing you need to improve.

[00:33:15] Amy Newlands: Yeah.

[00:33:16] Holly Christie: Yes.

[00:33:17] Amy Newlands: Yes. So, I mean, re prioritizing, like, I've found it's the most simplest things. The job that I could be putting off could maybe be 20 minutes, and I will actually do anything else that's on my to do list, but to do that.

And there might not be a specific reason for it. Like, I'm not trying to avoid that task for any particular reason, but I will find reasons to avoid it. Yes,

[00:33:49] Holly Christie: I would say as well, often the re prioritizing comes back to that freeze response with things as well. Um, and where we've said about as well, doing the one thing, you know, doing anything but the one thing you need to improve, is You know, improving skillset can be hard.

You know, like we're saying, the practice makes perfect that it's, you know, time consuming. We don't necessarily always feel we have the time and we don't have the kind of jobs where you can go off and do a training day and you've got your skillset from that training day, and then it's just, you know, drip feeding down to the team and implementing it.

I mean, God, can you imagine if we did that? Poor Sharon, Sharon, we learned all of this. Now can you implement it for us?

And I try and work around the reprioritizing by telling a client when they can expect to hear from me. So I'll be in touch on Friday, let's book a call for Wednesday. You'll hear from me by this time, that sort of thing. And that keeps me, you know, I know that I've got to have it done by the time. That I get out with that client.

[00:35:05] Amy Newlands: But I often see, like, I often see with myself, like, as you, Holly already knows, I like to have a to do list. It has to be physically written in front of me on a piece of paper. And it doesn't matter how many digital ones I've found, they just don't work. I often find that I will look down that list. And I'll go right, this is 10 minutes, this is 10 minutes, this is 10 minutes, this is an hour.

But rather than just taking the hour and doing the big task, I do all the little ones first. Thinking if I do these now, then I'll have nothing else to do but this one. And that's always like the little lie I tell myself. Like, if I just do all these little ones first, we'll have time for this big one.

[00:35:50] Holly Christie: Yeah. I can go for the quick wins with that sort of thing, but I think how valuable is the task versus the one that I'm reprioritizing. So yesterday, as I've already said a couple of times, I'm struggling to get my teeth into a particular website I'm working on. So I'm, I'm procrastinating, I'm reprioritizing this and that.

But for example, yesterday, Rather than crack straight into it, I set up a couple of direct debit payments for the Simply Sites clients who their websites have been built and they're now moving on to the monthly hosting plan. So I would say there was actually more value in getting those set up than there was in spending that 10 minutes on the website.

But it did mean I didn't get onto that website at all yesterday, so you may disagree with me on that value statement there. Yeah, see we all, we all do it. We do. This next one, uh, came in from Sharon. You're going to laugh when I say it, because obviously we know Sharon very often, very well, shiny object syndrome, always wanting and checking out the next thing and the next thing and the next thing, and never quite grinding into the thing that you're actually working on and you're doing.

The thing that would cause you to improve is just staying in your lane. sticking with what you've got and instead you've seen this and you're like, Oh, I want this, I want that, I want, you know, and you just wander off and off and off.

[00:37:24] Amy Newlands: I think if I see this more with, um, small businesses, especially ones that probably sell products, um, your businesses and things as they will try and jump on a trend.

Hm. Like quite quickly, rather than, it could have nothing to do with their, their ideal customer, where their niche is, but they're seeing it's got traction and they want to jump on the bandwagon to make some money.

[00:37:51] Holly Christie: Yeah, I agree. And the other thing, the like sub note that Sharon put to the shiny object syndrome was often masking poor self esteem.

I thought, yeah, I can really. Get that, you know, and this comes back into that perfectionism as well. That if I look at this new thing or, you know, this new bit of software or new that it's going to make me look better, it's going to make it look shinier. It's going to improve my performance. So it's going to have my customers perceive me as.

bigger and better than I think that I am, or, you know, it's always looking for that quick fix, isn't it?

[00:38:30] Amy Newlands: Yeah. And I mean, I mean, for some businesses that works. If you have enough of a budget to put behind the advertising and you want to jump on the trend, you can absolutely go and do that. And it may bring in more Customers that actually see your products or services and go, Ooh, that might work for me.

Let's try that. But it's likely that it's not. It might make you some fast cash, but it's not going to further your business the way you want it.

[00:39:01] Holly Christie: No. And I think as well, the, um, the shiny object syndrome can come, like you say, with the advertising and product stuff, it can come with, people will say to me, I've seen this on someone else's website and I want it for my own.

Um, So we can have that side of it. It can be jumping across lots of different types of software as well. And I think what it can really show or mask is a lack of confidence. So not always, I would say there's a difference between lack of self esteem and lack of confidence as well. Um, because your self esteem could be great, but you think, I don't feel very confident in this cause I'm not very experienced in this, or, you know, I don't have the experience working with customers and stuff.

And maybe I've seen designers swap from, uh, different software things like HubSpot to Dubsado to Hello Bonsai to Moxie, always looking for that next answer, the next thing that's going to send out their contracts and make them look great and do this, that and the other when actually, if they just, I mean, everyone should have a system.

You shouldn't just be overwriting the same one word document or something each time you send an invoice. If you just. Stay in your lane with your choices that are right for you. And I appreciate that nothing's going to be perfect. You know, we've just moved our system over. We've spent 10 months on one system.

So actually it's, it's just not working for us. Even with the growth that we were having on it, it wasn't doing it. We're moving back to what we had. No, that's great. And it's having that real confidence in yourself rather than kind of. Trying to be that bit of everyone else or doing, you know, jumping on that bandwagon as well.

[00:40:42] Amy Newlands: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

[00:40:44] Holly Christie: So another one that came in from Sharon, I thought this one's really interesting because this touches on what we were saying before about feedback, but it's a different spin on it. Another self sabotage thing is over defensiveness.

[00:41:00] Amy Newlands: Yeah, I think it does kind of touch on what we spoke about earlier, and it is hard when you're not, especially if you've come from like working for someone else or a big company, you start working for yourself, it's like there's, there's no defensive line for you anymore.

If someone comes in and you're like, Oh, I'm gonna. Asks for a change, or said like this isn't quite right, you automatically go into defence. Whether, whether you kind of acknowledge it or not, even, even after nine years I still have that, oh, okay, like, they're, and I have to set in mind myself, this isn't me, that they're, they're, Um, saying is wrong.

Like it's, it wasn't me, that it is just, we need this little change. Like this is fine . It's not a personal reflection. ,

[00:41:54] Holly Christie: I remember you saying that to me when you were sending a website off to a client with the first draft, and you said to me about, I just have to remind myself when the feedback comes in, it's not personal.

Yeah. And I think for me,

[00:42:08] Amy Newlands: personal.

[00:42:09] Holly Christie: I'm good at not taking feedback personally. It's about the design. You know, once I finish working on this web, right, my role's done, that client is having that website to represent them for, you know, the rest of the time. It's up to them. Sometimes I might push back and I wouldn't call this over defensiveness, but I might push back sometimes if I don't agree with the change that they.

Have a want to be made and we'll sit and talk it through with them or you know, I'll offer them some different options. But that not agreeing with the design could be because it's grating against the rest of the design or it's not going to work well on a mobile, or it's not very clear on the user journey.

You know, I'm not just gonna say, well that looks terrible. We are not doing it. But, and you know, Amy and I will confess to, we have. Released websites that we're not proud of or thought, Oh God, this, you know, this doesn't feel representative of the types of design that we do. Um, I had that same nightmare client last year, decided that they would give me feedback after going live and having changed their minds on a lot of stuff.

And they gave feedback with voice notes and they said, Oh, I feel like you really dropped the ball, Holly, on this one. You really, really dropped the ball. And so I went through and said, the I went through all of the processes and here's a copy of your checklist. Here's the mobile responsive copy. Here's this, here's that.

And ultimately you signed it off and you had your website user manual. I, you know, I'm known for my processes and it's what has people working with me. And they came back and they said, You're getting defensive. I'm just giving you feedback. You need to stop being so defensive. And I said, I'm not being defensive.

I'm just telling you that you went through the same process as every other client. And I just wanted to reassure you that you've been through the process and I'm, I'm sorry that you didn't like it. Um, so that was a tough one being accused of being over defensive when I'm just trying to explain.

Actually, it just. You were part of a system and that was that. Um, but I think over defensive, I do mentoring as people know for small businesses, and I think over defensiveness is the one thing that we always work on. I will sit there and help clients craft emails where they'll want to do a real shoot from the hip.

Response. And I think in business, particularly service industry, it's so easy to feel criticized and, uh, some of my clients will do this shoot from the hip. And I'm like, I, I really think you're going to regret that later. So let's, uh, you know, let's work together to get a good response there. What, what would you say, Amy, um, for you would be like a good antidote to the, um, being over defensive.


[00:44:58] Amy Newlands: I think what I do, um, or what I have done previously, is if I feel like I'm getting defensive, um, one coach I worked with told me to swap hats. I know it sounds a little bit silly, but swap hats. Put on your customer service. Um, and take the, the personal out of it. Pretend you're working for a big company and you're sending the customer service from a person that's not riding on it, that's not the owner, like, take yourself out of it and send it.

That's it. Work as if you were an employee of a company, because it does help kind of take you out of that mindset that it's my business It's a tackle me personally and and lets you kind of detach a little bit You're not quite as defensive when you're when you're replying.

[00:45:55] Holly Christie: Completely agree. I have the three hour rule, as you know, and this applies to everything in life.

So, if you have a difficult co parent, or, you know, the school have sent an email about your child, or, um, you know, you've got that work thing, I apply the three hour rule. Do not respond for three hours. Unless obviously it's an emergency, your initial response and your three hour response are going to be two very different things.

Even if you still kind of feel the same about it, you're just not going to have that fire in your belly three hours later that you do when you first, you know, and we all have it where we, uh, you know, we read an email from a client or whoever, and we feel like we've been slapped. And our response is an adrenaline fueled, well, because of this, that, and the other sort of thing.

Take three hours, step away. That, you know, that email, or whatever, is not going anywhere. And I also really like to remind myself, when we have this, that the People have specifically chosen to work with me. They want our working relationship to work. They want us to do well out of it. And, um, so they're not criticizing or, you know, whatever it is that's, you know, kind of made one of us go into an over defensive state.

They're not doing that to be difficult. They're not doing it to try and, um, wind us up there, you know, somewhere there's been. A miscommunication. And actually we had a client that, um, recently Amy and I were working with, who let's say there was a bit of a wrong end of the stick there. And I went through, so I first of all waited on the response.

I did my three hour rule. Then I sent them a video of the website changes that we had made it for request. And then on this video, I brought up their email, um, which was a little bit accusatory in places. And I said on the video, I said, I want us to have a really good working relationship and I can't do that when you're sending me emails like this.

And, you know, we, it was very, it was not the same response I had three hours before, you know, when I first looked at it, but it absolutely did it. We sorted it out completely. The misunderstanding was done and, you know, we've got really good relations with them now. So if anything, if that over defensiveness is kicking in, three hour rule, do not do anything for three hours.

[00:48:20] Amy Newlands: Yeah, and you can also find a Holly for me. It is Holly, because I'm lucky that way. But if you have a message or an email come in, and your automatic response is like, Why are you talking to me like that? Let, either tell your friend or whoever you decide, or another small business, and say to them, right, I've read this email like this.

Am I reading this how it's intended to come across, or am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Because sometimes it is just your kind of gut instinct to go, That's not right. Why are you talking to me like that? And you've just read it wrong. Having that backup, To kind of, for that person to go, Well actually no, I think they're just meaning to say this.

And they didn't mean it the way that you were reading it. Um, I think that really helps to kind of diffuse that instant anger that boils in the belly.

[00:49:25] Holly Christie: I agree. And actually when I, um, said to this client on the video and I said, you know, I want us to have a good working relationship and I can't do that when you're sending emails like this.

I did then read out the email to them as I read it and I said, I'm not sure that you meant to send it like this for it to be read, but that's how I'm reading it. That's how I'm hearing it. So I think that's a brilliant one, Amy, that, yeah, go back to the person and say, is this how you meant it to be? And a big gulp if they say, yes, this is how I meant it.

That's where I would say, use the phrase, uh, you know, I want us to have a good working relationship. So I'm aware that this podcast is a lot, lot longer than our normal podcasts, um, but I'm, I'm really enjoying it. So it's my podcast, but we're going to end and we have touched on this one anyway. Um, and I'm going to let Amy lead with this one.

And the very final one for self sabotage is staying in your comfort zone.

[00:50:25] Amy Newlands: We have spoken about it before, staying in your comfort zone is only going to get you so far. You do have to push, and as Holly will probably tell you as we're ending this, this is me pushing out of my comfort zone.

I didn't think anyone would want to hear my Scottish twang, but apparently people like to listen. So, um, I put my, I put my, my girl, my big girl pants on this morning. So, sometimes you'll find it might be a little push that you need, or it might be a massive leap, but at the end of it, once it's done, it's not going to feel like it's been the end of the world you thought it was going to be.

Even, even if you feel, even if it's a bit cringeworthy, just push out a bit, just

[00:51:18] Holly Christie: do it. And that real pride you feel for having done it. And the next time, it's not quite so difficult. Yeah, it took me a long time to persuade Amy to come on Facebook Lives, to come on Zoom calls with clients, you know, any of that face to face stuff.

She was not here for. So, but each time I've seen you really. Push yourself further and further and how much you and your business, your skillset, you know, everything has kind of grown because you know that you don't have to limit yourself or by limiting yourself will limit everything, the business, the money you make, the way you show up with clients, all that sort of thing.

So I think, yeah, if, even if it's just tiny things that push you out of your comfort zone, if you've also, if you've got a business buddy who helps you do it, then absolutely. Um, yeah. I love it. I will end on something that I have a mindset coach and therapist, Bibita, and she said to me once, if you can dream it, you can do it.

I think that's a great note to end on. So, that leaves us. Just to say thank you so much to my co host, who will be back on future episodes. Not every episode, but back on future episodes. Thank you so much to Amy. I hope that this hasn't been too terrifying for you. You have been amazing. I haven't decided yet.

I need time to think about it. We'll decide on the next one. And thank you so much to our lovely, lovely listeners. Without you, there would be no podcast. It would just be Amy and I chatting on for an hour. Um, thank you so much for showing up to the show. We will be back in your ears wherever you get your podcasts next Monday.

And in the meantime, if you could leave a rating and review for the podcast, We would so appreciate it. And if you think there's anyone else who would really benefit from this podcast, please do send it to them. It is a free resource that we are creating. It is not free for us. We have to pay for the software and the posting and our time and writing the episodes and stuff like that.

So, but we want to deliver it free to you guys. Um, so do share it with a friend and thank you so much. And we will look forward to seeing you or I will look forward to seeing you again next Monday.

Just listened to your first podcast episode and it’s absolutely brilliant! Good work Holly!

Mike Cottam

Small Business Growth

I love listening to each new episode of Holly’s podcast. It feels like she has read my mind and understands the challenges I find myself up against when running my business. Her advice and insights are fantastic and I’m looking forward to hearing her future episodes. This is a great resource for any small business owner trying to establish a successful business in the online (and/or offline) world.

Fay Wallis

Brilliant first episode!!

The first episode of “Your Business, Your Way” is a refreshing take on the entrepreneurial journey I needed to hear this morning . I felt reassured hearing Holly emphasise a crucial point: you don’t need to know everything to get started. This approach is a game-changer, especially for those new to the business world, breaking down the barriers of perfection and complete readiness that often hold us back.

What I loved about this first episode of the podcast is its blend of practical advice with an undercurrent of motivation. It reassured me that starting with what I know and learning as I go is not just okay, but a smart way to grow. The podcast feels like a supportive friend, nudging you to take those first steps while keeping the mood light and approachable.

For anyone at the crossroads of starting or scaling a business, this podcast could be the push you need. It’s a promising mix of insights, stories, and encouragement. I’m eager for the next episodes and recommend it to anyone looking to embark on a business venture in a way that’s true to them. It’s an exciting start, and I’m genuinely looking forward to where this podcast will take its listeners next.


Really Refreshing

Looking forward to the next episode, I’m hooked already. Really easy to listen to and definitely strikes a chord with me. 


Feeling inspired

Would definitely recommend this podcast. Aimed at those small business owners, but for someone who has recently started a new role in my company, this definitely motivated me on this cold wet Monday morning to not be afraid of being vulnerable in the workplace and putting myself out there!

Can’t wait for the next episode


Small Business Growth

I’m so excited to have your podcast alongside me as I grow my business. Looking forward to taking action on your steps and learn from someone who knows what they are talking about. Thanks Holly – you’re a star!