Masters of their craft all have one thing in common: they never stop learning. But how do they do it? How do they pursue their passion whilst keeping on top of everyday life?
Whether your dream is to start a natural skincare business, or simply to create products for yourself, your family and friends, we know it’s not always easy to find the time to develop your passion.
To help you with this challenge, I (Gareth) will be sharing my own experience and advice when it comes to the art of juggling life with doing what you love.
1. Start with your passion – your ‘why’.
The School of Natural Skincare grew from just two people and a shared passion for natural skincare.
Gail and I founded the business whilst both working full-time jobs. And as if that wasn’t enough, we then went on to start a family, including twins!
Somehow, amidst all these commitments, we managed to turn our shared vision into the wonderful, thriving community and online business that you see today.
It wasn’t easy! But it is possible.
So, how did we do it?
We have always believed in what we do, 100%. We find joy in doing it, and we look to the future with unwavering faith. What we needed was focus.
Finding out that we were expecting our first baby got us VERY focused indeed.
Now, we only had eight months to get things moving! Otherwise, we knew our dreams would only be pushed further and further down the line.
So, ask yourself, what is your passion – your ‘why’? What do you love to do, and why do you love to do it?
2. Figure out a way to do it around your family.
Our business grew dramatically after the birth of our baby girl. We had both quit our full-time jobs, and I can still remember vividly working on material for our flagship courses well into the early hours of the morning. My office hours became 9pm-4am!
Gail and I shared night shifts looking after our daughter, feeding and changing diapers – and writing course material in between!
It was the best and hardest experience of my life.
Being able to do work that I loved, as well as having quality time with my baby daughter was wonderful, and a joy I’m all too aware is not always possible for working dads.
Figuring out a way to work around our family was extremely important to us. We have always sought to find the fun and the excitement in our job – the things that get us going – and to incorporate these things into family life.
We even took our business and our baby travelling the world for 8 months – going from the USA to Australia, and then New Zealand.
Though balancing a baby and a business was definitely daunting at times, these months were our commitment to living the one life we have to the fullest. This was a time we will always treasure.
Juggling parenthood with starting a business taught us that if you want something badly enough, you will find the time to do it. Sometimes that means staying up late – after the family’s gone to bed – or waking up early.
Whilst doing this crucial work, remind yourself that these challenges won’t last forever, and that nothing feels as good as seeing your hard work pay off.
How could you make your passion for natural & organic skincare work around your family commitments?
3. Find your focus.
Our business was growing, and demanding more of us than ever before. And then… the twins arrived! OMG!
We weren’t sure how we were going to cope – but we did! And you know what?
Our business grew because of our children.
There’s no doubt about it: looking after three children under the age of two, as well as running a relatively new business, gave us no choice but to focus!
What could have been an obstacle became a strength! Without any spare time to waste on procrastination, we found our minds, senses, and energies more centered than ever before.
And the focus and hard work paid off.
In that time, our business more than quadrupled in size. In 12-18 months, we went from what was a very part-time business, to becoming a fully fledged, internationally recognized online school, with students all over the world who loved what we did and were as passionate about natural skincare as we were.
4. Listen to your customers.
For those of you aiming to start or grow a business, feedback is your best friend. Early feedback from friends and family is especially helpful.
Of course, because this is your business – your passion – feedback (especially the critical kind!) may be hard to hear. It may even make you feel defensive. But never forget that your customers can teach you so much. This is why having a platform where your customers can connect with you is vital to success.
When you create a platform to connect with your customers, you open yourself to a wealth of constructive feedback, and, in turn, your customers can connect with your vision and with you.
We believe that when you communicate with passion, belief, and honesty, people can sense that you speak from the heart, and this resonates with them. Whilst building our business, we focused on problem solving, and in maintaining an unwavering faith in what we did. We aimed to stay calm in times of stress. And to figure things out together, as a team.
Listen to your customers’ comments and criticisms. Take in their praise and answer their questions. It is your gift to be able to deliver solutions to their problems and to create a community of customers who truly love what you have to offer.
What feedback would be helpful for you and who could give it to you? How could you receive this feedback in a way that helps you improve and grow?
5. Embrace mistakes – no one is perfect and you will mess up!
Nobody’s perfect, and we all mess up from time to time – we’re only human, after all! We’re sorry whenever we do and we do our utmost to correct the mistakes we’ve made.
We also recognise that mistakes offer an important opportunity to grow.
Now, when Gail and I look at the past, we cherish our growth and the work that we’ve done. At the same time, we are always aiming to improve and to grow, to evolve and develop, and to find the best solutions possible to any new challenges that arise.
6. Seek help!!!
You can’t do it all on your own. Seriously. You’ll likely experience burnout if you try to. We did it alone for a while, until we realised we needed help in order to stay sane.
For our business, we sought expert advice from across the board. From graphic design to advertising, from book-keeping to tech support, from business coaches to life coaches, and online courses of one kind or another.
Over time, we gathered a team of freelancers who have helped our business go from strength to strength – beauty business experts, cosmetic formulators and scientists.
Now, with a number of full-time staff members, we can reach and inspire more people than ever before and give opportunities for more people to learn and grow!
At home, when our twins were three months old, we hired a childminder for 12 hours each week. This carved out dedicated time for work. As our business has grown, we’ve been able to increase the amount of support we have at home in order to continue to grow our enterprise.
This means that a cook, a cleaner, and our childminder all play integral roles in helping us to juggle life with what we love.
Let me be clear though, we are still hands on parents – we still cook, clean, and tidy every day.
We dry tears, wipe bums, clean up sick, and deal with sleepless nights and very early mornings. We do the shopping, play with our kids, organise family adventures, and do as much as we possibly can to ensure that we are able to live our most authentic truth as a family and as a business.
As well as this, it was important to us that we could home-school our eldest daughter. She is now nearly six, and we intend to do the same for the twins. There’s no question that it’s all hands on deck, but still we do it!
Because this is the path we choose. It may be hard, but our faith is unwavering, and at the end of the day, we know that we believe in what we do.
What help do you need? Who can help you to achieve the dreams you have? What training could you get and what support would be most helpful?
7. Don’t wait around.
It’s easy to put our dreams on hold because we feel that we need more knowledge, more money, more time. But the truth is that with this mindset the ‘perfect day’ might never arrive. Realising that NOW is the time to connect with your passion is the only way forward.
Harness your passion! Be consumed by it! And work hard to find ways to bring your goals to life.
Ask yourself what’s stopping you. What is standing in the way of you progressing, learning, and dedicating time and energy to your passion for natural and organic skincare?
Not enough money and time are always big reasons we hold ourselves back. But money and time are problems that may never go away. What we can choose to do is to find a way to pursue our passion regardless.
How could you help yourself to keep going, to keep working on your passion, no matter what the obstacle?
8. Plan Ahead
A few years back, Tara Gentile (now Tara McMullin), shared with us this golden nugget: design your business now as if you were already achieving your three year goals. That is to say, dream big, and as you dream of your future, put the required infrastructure in place now. Then you can start the next dream, and the next!
By following Tara’s advice you are setting your business up to grow. And this works for learning a new craft, too!
1. You’re more likely to successfully achieve your goals because you feel as if you almost already have.
2. Upon achieving your goals for your business/craft, you will already have made sure that the necessary people, processes, and systems are in place for your next goals to be reached.
And so the cycle of success continues!
Planning ahead is also about cultivating the art of dreaming, ofImagining the future and mapping out what it could be like, then making a plan to make it happen. Everything starts with an idea! And planning ahead is what allows our ideas to take flight.
Without needing to rely on anyone else, think right now how you could plan ahead.
9. Cultivate the art of marketing
If you want to start and grow a business, you must cultivate the art of marketing. It doesn’t matter how good your product is – if no-one knows about it, how will your business grow? Who will come knocking at your door? And how will your business endure?
Start small, by dedicating an hour a week to finding customers, then build that up to an hour a day.
Find experts to help you with everything. We’re talking web design, photography, advertising and selling online; don’t take bad advice or engage with anyone who will devalue your offering and limit your sales.
10. Find your tribe!
Most important of all, find people who want to buy from you – who listen to and are inspired by you, and who enjoy being part of your business.
The customer enables your business to exist – so get searching for people who will love what you do. Ask yourself, how will you find and connect with potential customers? And how will you help them to find you, too?
With hard work, a good attitude, and plenty of nurture and care, the rest will take care of itself.
What tribe could you join? Where can you get support? Who can help you to learn, grow, develop and progress? Who could help and support you to do what you want to do?
11. Never forget your ‘why’.
At the end of the day, there’s nothing more important than your ‘why’. Whether natural skincare is your hobby or your career, always remember the real passion that put you on this path in the first place. Never forget your love for what you do.
In times of challenge or uncertainty, find pockets of time (they can be big or small!) for learning more. Then, watch and take pride as your newfound knowledge elevates your creative endeavours to a whole new level.
What is your ‘why’? Try writing it down.
Ask yourself, why do you make your own products? What is the underlying meaning and joy of your passion for natural skincare?
Why do you do it, and what does it give you, in turn?
12. Be a lifelong learner AND be kind to yourself.
Masters of their craft are lifelong learners. They invest their time and money into their craft because they know they’re investing in more than just learning.
An investment into your craft is an investment for your heart and soul, your health and wellbeing, and ultimately, your happiness.
Because we’re happiest when we’re learning, developing, and making progress. We’re happiest when we do the things that make our heart sing. We’re happiest when we allow ourselves to see how good we are at what we love.
What steps will you take to become a lifelong learner?
If we could only all spend more time doing the things we love, spending time with the people we love the most – surely life would be that much more pleasant.
This is why we choose to be lifelong learners. To never stop growing and never stop trying new things.
The most important thing in all of this life juggling?
Be kind to yourself. Seriously.
Take pleasure in treating yourself from time to time – in practising self-care, and just remember: follow the fun, speak your truth, and practise unwavering faith in yourself. 😊
How could you be kind to yourself?
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