This is a long one, so you might want to grab a cuppa.
I have always believed in the concept of working hard, trying your hardest, and giving everything your best shot. You don’t need to be perfect or be the best in your field, but you do your best with the resources you have available and respect the principles of “nothing ever worth having comes easy”
The online spiritual coaching world will tell you however…
“It’s all available to you, you just need to manifest your desires…it gets to be easy”
Sometimes I believe in that and sometimes I simply do not. The online world can be full of oxymorons…as well as quite frankly…you guessed it…just plain old morons.
But double standards like…
Hustle like your dreams depend on it Vs just be open and what you deserve will come your way
Take time off have good boundaries Vs maybe you just don’t want it enough
Fortune favors the brave Vs focus on slow, sustainable growth
Mess with your head.
The point is there are just sooooo many different voices and messages when it comes to scaling or sustaining your business, and sometimes you just need to tap out and say NO MORE!!!
So in case you didn’t already know…
I have been in burnout.
Not the burnout you feel from working long hours or trying to fit in too much. But the deep and raw emotional burnout you experience from feeling constantly disappointed by people and things, where those things or incidents in isolation are manageable and even quite menial under normal circumstances, but collectively and with increased volume it becomes impossible to carry the load.
Now I am not for a minute suggesting I am alone in this.
Things have been quite shitty the last year or so for obvious reasons, and I have heard of lots of folks in the online world the last couple of months having to take extended breaks to re-centre, re-evaluate, re-align…questioning if it’s even worth it.
I wonder if this is almost a hangover from 2020…a shift in expectations, or just the eventual “I can’t do this shit anymore” realisation.
The last time I felt like this…to this extent, I had to take 3 months off work all together.
It was 2008 and I was working for a government agency in a bullshit job full of politics and people with little vision. Ironic seeing as we were responsible for one of the most visionary mega events the UK would ever see.
I had recently decided to end my 5-year relationship as it wasn’t really going anywhere, I moved out of our shared flat and had just bought my first home solo…and then my Grandad (who always saw and said things exactly as they were) passed away.
Initially I thought I was just tired and a bit sad.
Turned out I was depressed and left undiagnosed or treated, that had turned into chronic fatigue syndrome….which left me unable to even do the commute into work, or do simple tasks like stand up to prepare dinner.
When you work for someone else it is relatively easy to take 3 months off though, you just go to your doctors and get yourself signed off, even if you do feel slightly bad that you are letting the company down. Its a hard pill to swallow but the safety net is there.
When you work for yourself though….a sick note is hardly going to cut it.
And this is the kicker for small business owners, the reason we don’t take the time off we often need before we desperately need it…is because when we don’t work it can have catastrophic repercussions to the health of our business….or at least that’s how it feels.
Last year was a corker of a year for me from a business growth/revenue perspective even given the challenges of homeschooling and being confided to my 2 bed apartment for most of it…2021 however has been eventful for a lot of other reasons. There has been rapid audience growth for sure, and an increase in sales for the first quarter of the year, but the scaling up of my team and systems to cope with that growth has been tricky than I had imagined.
There is something else though. I feel really disappointed in a number of individuals this year. Some who I still can not really get my head around their choices.
People who have (in my view) behaved in ways that do not fit with my values or ethics. People who present one way of being, publicly, but behave in a very different and alarming way behind the scenes. People who trigger my core wounds of not being able to trust people and it not being safe for me to express how I truly feel…and the belief that everyone leaves in the end (oooh juicy stuff hey?)
See thats the thing with burnout.
The phrase is used to describe so many different variations on a theme
Lack of motivation
Burning the candle at both ends
Taking on too much
Not having great boundaries
Forgetting self care
For me, I think what I have been experiencing probably if I am being honest with myself for the last 6 weeks has been Asthenia…also known as effort syndrome.
You see where Fatigue is often related to physical and psychological symptoms and can be a direct result of an action you take, Asthenia is instead fatigue without or before effort….and it seems to come out of nowhere.
Of course it doesn’t…there was for me a very easy to spot (for everyone else) build up.
It leaves you feeling weak, tearful, anxious, and unable to make decisions.
I believe what contributed to this was doing 17 weeks of my Clubhouse Breakfast show, “Breakfast Minus the Bullshit” getting up at 7am religiously, and being “on” 5 days a week. It was producing, and hosting a 2 hour chat show before most people had even had their 2nd cup of coffee, and then cracking on with the running of my own 2 businesses, and the bonus job of co-parenting my 8 year old.
It was dealing with the inevitable fall out of ramped-up collaborations, expectations, new relationships, new clients, new staff, new contracts, new systems.
It was having no escape.
Working during the week, and then parenting and trying to have an a semblance of a normal life at the weekend….to just rinse and repeat the following week.
But it was OK…I was going to take a break, I even had one booked in the diary for the end of May…I just had to get my launch out of the way, and make enough money to take a bit of a breather…as despite having 3 of my best ever months in business financially, I was investing heavily in staff and systems…and getting all my ducks in a row.
And then half way through my launch it all went tits up.
It started out as literally not being able to get my words out on my live calls.
I was tripping up, my heart was racing, and I just didn’t believe in the things I was saying.
It felt like the almost 300 people in my challenge were not really feeling me, or the things I was saying. |They were fatigued with all of the bullshit. And I didn’t feel aligned to it either. And so, I went off-script, I used my live calls to speak from the heart, and to share how I was feeling about the online world.
It felt incredible to forget the sales targets and tactics to get people across the line into my Audience Builder Bootcamp, and to simply share my truth instead.
And my peeps responded. They were in agreement with much of what I was talking about, and they found my Nail Your Niche Challenge transformational in terms of getting clear on their messaging and how they wanted to show up in the world….even if I was having an existential crisis behind the scenes…lol.
But…for the first time ever in one of these launches…I only made 1 sale.
One £800 sale.
For context I would normally sell between 16-22 places of a £1499+VAT programme with relative ease of the back of a challenge launch. That income giving me the freedom to not have to launch anything else for a few months….even though sometimes I would, because I am always testing new ideas, and creating things my audience say they want.
And here in lies the problem.
This past year I wasn’t listening enough to what I think, what I intuitively know about what entrepreneurs in my audience really need, and where the trends seem to be going. I was getting caught up in what was being said in Clubhouse rooms, what new coaches and influences, including new clients were saying.
I had lost my mission, my vision, my values.
Let me break this down even further for you.
Here I was a community engagement strategist and creative business coach who teaches people how to monetise and leverage their expertise by growing and activating their audience, doing it their own unique way…and I was unable to activate my own audience.
I’d welcomed more than 10,000 new people into my world in just shy of 4 months…but my launch had resulted in just one single person (as lovely as she is) saying yes to my current offer as it was laid out…it was shocking.
Now I must declare, that I had also upsold some other programmes, gained some 121 clients etc and closed the month on £15K of revenue…but the launch was a flop…the target for the month was £50K+ in sales, I was and that’s a hard pill to swallow for anyone.
And I was exhausted.
The time, effort, resources and focus that goes into launching is unlike anything else you will do in business…and when it doesn’t work it is fucking hard to recover from emotionally….and financially.
All of those financial models I’d been working on with my team, the SOPs (standard operating procedures) for delivery…oh and the plans to finally be able to afford to move out of my 2 bedroom apartment that feels more and more like a prison every day.
It fucking hurts.
So what did I do? What could I do? I had to put my hands up be honest about what had gone down, and crack on with delivering to my existing clients…and continue doing the behind the scenes stuff with my team…I mean I couldn’t just give up.
What I really wanted to do was fly to Barbados and take 3 weeks off.
But neither my bank balance, child care arrangements, or the state of the world would allow for that, so instead I settled for 2 nights in Leigh on Sea in Essex…where I switched off (a bit) took long walks, and sat and watched TV and read a novel in a stylish, clutter-free Air B&B.
Did it have me bouncing back to East London full of beans to get back into growing my empire, did it heck…all it did was make me feel slightly depressed that that isn’t already my life…and if anything I was more exhausted than ever.
I could feel in my body I needed to switch off.
So for the last week or so I have been on a go slow…only doing client work, not going on social media if I could help it, not being tempted back onto Clubhouse, and doing all the self-care things I could manage. Day time naps, homeopathic remedies, lots of fresh fruit and veg, taking apps off my phones, snuggles with my daughter and our cat (who lost his balls last week and is feeling equally tender), decluttering…and trying not to have to think my way out of this mess.
I will find a solution.
I always do.
But for now my priority is finding my centre again. Getting my confidence back. Finding my voice. Writing this blog is part of that journey.
Over the past 5 months, I have had a few public (and not so public) fallings outs with people online. And I hate all the “he said, she said” bullshit. But I also hate not being able to express myself. And that leaves me feeling stuck. There is so much toxic positivity out there followed by DMs of “Share the drama???” and it does so much damage.
I don’t want to be talking about ethics and authenticity…I just want to teach people how to grow their audience, and to do it without burning out or selling out (oh the irony)…so the last 6 weeks have been a great learning for me…cos even I get it wrong sometimes.
So what’s next?
The show must go on right? Well yes and no. I don’t have any major plans right now as I continue to work with my team and focus on serving my existing clients…but there will be something, there has to be. But for now I have a few things which my people can jump into if they’d like.
Tuesday 25th – The Gathering Away Day (Save the Date) – 9.30am – 12pm
And then I get to go away for a few days break with my besties
And then who knows lol.
But I want to leave you with this.
When we put ourselves out there as experts, when we talk about our successes, and our experience and our expertise as social proof by way of convincing folks to work with us, we also have to be willing for the other stuff to be OK to share too.
We are not just the good things that happen to us…sometimes we fail, sometimes things don’t work out, sometimes shit happens.
It’s hard…but it’s OK.
I can tell you to get more sleep, limit your screen time, up the self care…or I can encourage you to listen more to your intuition, give yourself space to really think about who you are and how you want to work…because I truly believe that it is that alignment stuff what fucks us up more than pulling too many late nights.
I just want to send an unlimited amount of love back out there to you if you need a bit of it.
Things will get easier. Or we will get stronger.
Either way…it will be OK…and if it’s not, reach out for help.
Julie Creffield is a community engagement strategist, creative business mentor and serial entrepreneur from East London.
The 10 times self published author, international keynote speaker, and 5 times marathon runner has worked on some of the biggest arts, cultural and sporting projects in the UK, and her work has impacted millions of people around the globe. She helps small business owners to increase their influence, impact and income by helping them find their people online.
The Audience Builder Bootcamp is open and actively recruiting for new participants, find out more here Julie also has a range of other programmes, VIP Masterminds, and 121 coaching packages available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
She will be opening up to new VIP clients from June.
Look, I am a business coach who absolutely get’s my clients to think about their motivations, their mission, their values, to create movements that matter, but there is one thing over and above the big WHY…and that’s your little whys.
Bare with me.
Why do you need to fill your programme or get new 121 clients this month?
To pay your mortgage
To get a return on investment for the time, energy and money you have spent so far on your business
To buy a new computer
To employ a VA
To pay for the kids new school uniform
To get a new kitchen refurb
To pay for the wedding
To feel like you are valuable
To prove your neigh sayers wrong (love this one)
When you have a mission that other people can relate to, it helps to show people who you are, it creates bonds, it creates good will, and you find your peeps.
But if you neglect your own needs, or disproportionately focus on the long term goals rather than how you are going to put food in the fridge this week, or afford to take a week off work to avoid burn out…then guess what?
You are going to lose the love you have for the cause….and that doesn’t help anyone.
When I set up my plus size fitness business I genuinely did care about my mission. I wanted to get a million overweight and inactive women running, I wanted to address the inequality I saw in the sports world, I wanted to talk about the fear of judgement that puts so many women off running.
I still care about all of that stuff.
But sometimes I put the cause ahead of my own needs. I launched programmes that were far too cheap. I overdelivered. I underpaid myself. I did things for major organisations for peanuts in the hope that one day they’d offer me a proper seat at the table.
I remember a bloke who ran his own successful fitness empire say to me
“Don’t be a crusader Julie…Remember the crusaders all died”
Now there is nothing wrong with a bit of crusader energy when growing a business, it’s one of the archetypes in my Tribe Leadership Archetype System...but he was right, you can burn out, get angry and lose the energy needed to keep going.
Your needs matter too.
Getting your needs met by your business is super important. It’s called a return on investment. And that could be money, it could be the opportunity, it could be support, profile, acknowledgment….whatever you want and desire your business to give you…it all counts.
It took me a good few years to make my fitness business financially viable, but in the mean time I secured around £100,000 worth of value…free clothes, free overseas trips, invitations to posh places, equipment, inkind support etc…and without that stuff to bring a little bit of joy into my life in the early days when things were tough, I may well have given up.
I also think there is something about sharing your smaller whys with your clients, bringing them with you on your journey. It’s why we ask people to shop local because we then get to make an informed decision about where our funds go.
Do you want to help someone buy their 3rd home, and contribute to their bitcoin empire, or do you want to help someone create real financial stability for them and their family once and for all…oh, and a puppy lol (Rose, my 8 year old wants a puppy)
Now this is never to say its about creating a sob story or even a rags to riches story, but when we let people know the true story of our business, and what we are trying to create…beyond the bigger world mission, I think it reminds us all that we are humans running businesses…not just strangers on the internet trying to flog our stuff.
We start with the value that we give as a business owner, the thing we have that others want or need, (for me it’s audience building and getting traction in your business) and you create a fair value exchange. I help you build your business using the skills and expertise I have acquired over the last 20 odd years, and the money you pay me helps me further my goals…knowing that we are creating a ripple effect far beyond that initial exchange of cash.
Doing good in the world and making money are not mutually exclusive.
Your BIG mission is no more worthy that your smaller ones.
When COVID hit the UK 12 months ago, and we all went into lock down I was scared. I was scared that the hard work of getting myself out of the financial mess that 4 redundancies and a failed relationship often creates, would have all been in vein.
I worried that I wouldn’t be able to compete with the more well known business coaches who were slashing their prices and giving away all of their stuff for free…I mean they could, many of them were self isolating in their big old houses.
I couldn’t afford to do that…and I wasn’t willing to either.
I developed a very simple strategy for moving forward…THE TRIANGLE OF NEED.
You…yes YOU…are right at the top (or at least should be)…because you matter the most…yes seriously, and then helping your clients and the world more generally are below to the left and right of you…creating a glorious win, win, win energy…neglect your own needs at your peril, I have seen so many people do that over the years.
And while I’m here on my soapbox.
Serve not sell….BOLLOCKS.
Far too often I see women in particular overgiving, undercharging, offering freebies, swapsies and discounts, because they are being told they have to serve the needs of their clients to build up trust and goodwill.
When you grow an engaged audience of people who respect your time and expertise, and understand the value you bring to the table. They will happily buy from you.
What do you need today…and focus on that.
Julie Creffield is a community engagement strategist, tribe leadership expert, and creative business mentor. She helps solopreneurs to build profitable AND impactful business using community at their heart.
In 2020 she worked with more than 3000 clients, using the Triangle of Need as her guide.
This week she is launching an exciting new programme to help folks up their audience game, and by folks she means coaches, experts, speakers, consultants, therapists and creatives…anyone who knows that not having an engaged audience is costing them money, and limiting their impact.
The earlybird “Preview Tickets” are available until Friday at midnight.
Can you remember what the hourly rate was for your first job?
Mine was £1.50…YES one pound and fifty pence an hour.
My job was waitressing in my local Wimpy restaurant at aged 13….serving clients, and clearing plates. But it wasn’t the first way I ever made money though. Oh no.
I’d already had a paper round, delivered taxi cards, washed cars, baby sat, done my neighbours ironing…and probably a few other ways too.
You see, I was one of 6 kids growing up in East London, and there wasn’t always enough money to go round. So if you wanted something that Mum didn’t have the money for, or wasn’t likely to buy even if she did, you had to get a job.
I wanted a Gameboy more than anything when I was 11 and so my Auntie hooked me up with her circle of girlfriends who needed babysitters, for while they were all at the local pub (5 minutes away) for one activity or the other, bridge, quiz night, karaoke, you get the idea.
And I bought the Gameboy (highlight of my childhood for sure)
But when at aged 13 I wanted a CD player, and needed a more regular income for the essentials like black school tights, deodorant, tampons, and of course the latest stationary from Woolworths, the regular weekend job at Wimpy was a godsend. I worked all day Sat and Sun, and the occasional evening after school…on occasion I also dressed up as Mr Wimpy for children’s parties…which got me out of loading the dishwasher.
My weekly wages never exceeded £40…but hey £40 a week for a 13 year old is LOADS!!!
I have never been work shy, and I have always been interested in the various ways I could make money, and so when a couple of weekends ago while helping my sister move home, my uncle who was the designated van driver (who I hadn’t seen in close to 2 years) asked, “So how do you actually make your money?”
I answered “as an online business coach”, for ease…but actually it’s not as straight forward as that and when I added up all of the different ways money comes into me, turns out I currently have more than 20 different income streams.
I thought it would be fun to list them all out.
So this is my ALL THE WAYS I MAKE MONEY blog…enjoy!!!
My Plus Size Fitness Business
I set up Too Fat to Run in September 2010 as a blog, and turned it into a business in 2013 after being made redundant from my job on the 2012 Olympics. It isn’t my main source of income right now, but I still make money from it and am currently reviewing where to go next after taking a bit of a hiatus during COVID. I grew this business to 6 figures using predominantly £25 products and services, and also as an “influencer” I received around £100K of free holidays, services, and products.
I trained as a coach 2 years ago, and life coaching was a nice bridge between what I was doing in my fitness business with women, and what I now predominantly do. I still have a few life coaching offerings though and really enjoy this work
Stop Playing Small Programme (on hold at the moment)
Dream board workshops
The Big Fat Wellbeing Experiment £90 (we are on day 47 of 90)
This makes up around 90% of my income these days, and has been my focus the last 2 years. My turnover increased by 160% in 2020, and I worked with around 3000 business owners. My model currently is mainly group programmes, challenges and masterminds, with some 121 coaching. I am simplifying my model a little bit this year, but last year I launched 15 different offerings. I have put the prices next to some of these to give you an idea of the different price points.
Tribe Leaders Lounge™ £5000+VAT (Launches in April)
Unstoppable VIP Mastermind £10,000+VAT (Opens again in December)
Speaking (Keynotes, Training, Guest Expert for other peoples programmes)
I also make money from recommending products that I use. This started in my plus-size fitness business and also recommending my fav books on Amazon, but now it’s more often tech products. These are the ones that probably make me the most money. And yes if you click on these links and go on to purchase I might get a financial kickback at no additional cost to you.
Kajabi this is the all in one platform for where I host all of my trainings (if you register for this via my link do let me know as I have a special thank you)
Leadpages I use this to build quick sales pages and opt ins
ConvertKit I use this for sending out emails. Its free for your first 100 subscribers I think
Products and Services in the Pipeline for 2021 and beyond??
ha ha…all of the ideas lol
Watch this space
I hope this has been helpful.
I am on a mission to demystify online business, and get rid of any of the embarrassment business owners sometimes feel as they grow their business. Sometimes it takes a while to find the right business model. Sometimes you have to test and pilot things to get to what the best solution is.
PLUS the mother fucking world keeps changing lol
Could my model be simpler? Should yours be? For sure. But we get to set the rules in our business and do what works for us.
I know I’m not normal. I’m a disruptor, I am a maverick, an alchemist, an ideas machine. And thats why business coaching is the perfect job for me, because as well as being able to be playful and just try a heap of different thing, I also love nothing more than gifting ideas, concepts and formats to my clients and the world more generally.
Julie Creffield is a Tribe Leadership Expert, Community Engagement Strategist and Creative Business Coach with more than 20 years experience of developing audiences, and scaling movements that matter. She is based in East London and has an 8 year old daughter, and a mischievous ginger cat called Tom.
She spent the first decade of her career working on large cultural projects such as the London 2012 Olympics, and with organisations as diverse as The Met Police, Sport England and The Royal Opera House, managing multi million pound budgets. She now supports experts, coaches and consultants to grow profitable and impactful businesses with community at their heart. If you’d like to find out about the programmes, products and services coming up for business owners and leaders get in touch via email@example.com set up a call (chin wag) to discuss how she can help you reach your business objectives
This is a post that I have wanted to write for most of the year.
However, have put off writing it through fear, through a concern that I was adding to the noise somehow, making things worse for women, that maybe I wouldn’t be believed, or I would be accused of making it up, or not telling the whole story.
That’s how people stay quiet.
It’s a tactic that has been used against us for many many years, and it’s why it’s so damaging when we use it against one another now.
Last week was tough for women, all women, and for as many women who have spoken up about their experiences, wanted to take action, pulled panels together, ramped up their mission-led work, there are as many again who are just too damn exhausted to give anything of themselves in the pursuit of change.
I probably sit somewhere in the middle.
There have been so many things I have wanted to say, so many sides of the fight, the racism, the memories of abuse, the lessons of “it’s your job to protect yourself” and oh look you didn’t…so now accept the shame of the attack and the added shame of “I told you so”.
The mixed messages are everywhere.
Be free, but be careful
Take risks, but listen to your gut
Have a voice, but don’t shout, swear or say anything unsavoury
I’ve been thinking about and speaking (where it feels safe) about the topic of shame in business for most of the year. I think it was a hangover from last year, having a financially successful year in a year where so many others struggled; combined with a couple of specific incidents that happened at the start of the year where a small number of people questioned my ethics.
“You should be ashamed of yourself making money from vulnerable people during this time”….and for context, this was a £25 product, not someone’s life savings. And then having a double whammy of being told by another business coach “you shouldn’t judge someone who is on a low wage” when I shared my frustration in a closed group. FYI…I buy £25 products and am not on a low wage.
We are all entitled to our opinion, and to voice our views on things…its called feedback, and sometimes its asked for, and some times it most definitely isn’t. A cautionary tale about getting to big for your boots, standing out…it always ends in tears right?
We are supposed to toe the line as women.
The narrative is often that we should grow slowly, stay under the radar, be humble, share the wealth, do good, don’t rock the boat. Oh and we should also stay silent when people do shitty things, because nobody likes a tell tale, nobody likes a snitch, nobody likes hearing about playground fights.
There is a lot of shame knocking about in the online business world.
It shows up in us as anything from a slight unease to crippling anxiety…as a result of anything as pedestrian as not understanding a piece of software or an acronym everyone else is using, to having to accept you have just wasted £3000 with a coach who used hard-sell tactics and now you have realised this isn’t what you need, nor what they promised at all.
Then there’s the…”OMG there is someone else in my industry doing the same thing as me” panic, using the same tagline “SHIT which of us was using it first?” and the “Oh no we are launching at the same time” and the “Are promos allowed in this group?” and the “We are using the same VA, who does she like more” the list is endless and the impact exhausting.
And the worse thing? Every time someone writes this kind of stuff about another coach, or writes those annoying cryptic messages like “What goes around comes around, this is a small world lol” posts, a lot of women in the coaching world will be like “is she talking about me?”
I’ve heard unethical stories this year about coaches that would make you wince, would leave you standing with your mouth agape, like “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?”, coaches who say they stand for one thing, but have been caught red-handed doing the absolute opposite, and covering their tracks with follow up/counter attacks of unethical behavior, or reputation ruining threats.
This is not a post about the coaching world being broke…because actually it’s not just coaches…and I don’t think the industry is broke, just maybe a little tired of the same bullshit…ready for something different.
Brene Brown in this absolutely incredible podcast episode talks about the difference between shame, guilt and embarrassment….and it changed everything when I listened to it 2 weeks ago, in fact, I listened to it through twice, just to ensure it went in.
When someone tries to shame you into thinking, feeling or doing something that suits their agenda, they not only attempt to take away your power, but they can trigger old shit that forces you into fight or flight, which sometimes means you don’t check your own behaviour and act in ways that are out of alignment with your core values.
They can make you second guess yourself, look for other examples where someone once said the same or similar…even if twenty years ago in a completely different context. And they know that the layers of shame, the accusations or threats they throw your way will keep you silent…and that silence stops you from finding other people who say,
“Me too…that happened to me too…she did that to me to”
You thought it was you, but actually, it was them. Well, actually it was both of you. But now you can at least look subjectively at your role in letting them affect you in that way. And now you know better, you do better. You protect yourself, you work on having better boundaries, you listen to your gut.
Have I been guilty of behaving in ways I would have preferred not to in life and in business over the past decade, for sure…and if you tell me you’ve never made an off judgement, or a decision that didn’t pan out as you expected, then you are a flipping liar. The point is when you make a mistake you get the opportunity to learn from it and address it, you get to feel bad for the behaviour not for who you are as a person.
When folks call you names, and make false accusations, like their shit don’t stink in an attempt to assassinate your character they do so knowing full well this is not about your behaviour, but about their response to your behaviour and how it made them feel…it is often to do with a lack of control, a sense of not being safe, or a worry that they will lose power or be seen differently by others.
And that sucks for both of you because it leads to feelings of disconnection, abandonment, mistrust, and loneliness…in a time when what we crave is the opposite of those.
So what is the solution?
I think it is about damage control.
Due diligence when it comes to hiring or working with a new coach or service provider
Knowing that not everything is always as it appears
Watch what people do, not what they say…tune into their energy (if something feels off…it always is)
Being clear on your expectations of others and of yourself
Having legals in place that protect both parties
Learning to slow things down and have conscious conversations
Being super clear on your mission, and reminding yourself of it
Knowing that not everything or everyone is for you
Using the unsubscribe and unfollow buttons OFTEN
Picking your team, your mastermind, your influences carefully
Building in support that you can trust inherently
Wow that turned into a long one, and I ran out of puff lol.
Its 22.11pm on a Monday night, I have been up since 6.30am and I am done.
These 3 months have felt like the longest of my life…groundhog day unlike no other. The gift of uninterrupted time has been great for focus and productivity, but not for self care and mental health.
But there is hope on the horizon. Change is coming. I guess it’s time for people to work out what role they want to play in that change. It takes all of us. It takes the creation of safe, collaborative, spaces of co-creation and quality communication. We don’t need any more top-down hierarchies…and trust me there are other models.
Watch this space.
Julie Creffield is a Tribe Leadership Expert, Community Engagement Strategist and Creative Business Coach. She is based in East London where for the past 20 years she has been working with hard to reach groups to bring about change.
Working on large cultural projects such as the London 2012 Olympics, and organisations as diverse as The Met Police and The Royal Opera House, she now supports experts, coaches and consultants to grow profitable and impactful businesses with community at their heart. If you’d like to find out about the programmes, products and services coming up for leaders get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s your first ever memory of going to the theatre?
I can remember mine, well at least I can remember a memory of the memory. I would have been 4 or 5 and I was wearing my best dress, and mum had put on makeup and high heels which was very unusual.
The foyer was bright and festive and there was a buzz like nothing I’d ever experienced before. Everyone was in a great mood. You kind of remember these feelings as a kid.
We were off the the panto.
I can’t remember which show it was nor what happened on the stage that night, but I can remember knowing that I wanted to come back again and again, and luckily I would get to do just that.
Sylvie was my Aunt’s Aunt (not a blood relative really but someone I am eternally grateful to) and was Personal Assistant to Philip Headley the then Artistic Director of the Theatre Royal Stratford East…which even until today is my local Theatre.
Every year she would give my mum some complimentary tickets to the panto, a luxury my mum couldn’t always afford, especially once all of my siblings had arrived.
It was the highlight of my year throughout my childhood, especially as I wanted to be a dancer, wanted to be on the stage.
When I was 16 years and 3 months old I applied for a job as an usher, without Sylvie knowing. I didn’t want her getting me the job. I wanted to get it on my own merit and I did.
I would go onto work as an usher for around 3 years, until the theatre went dark for a while for refurbishment.
Those years were transformative for me.
They were the happiest of my life.
With free access to a range of different genres of theatre, which was by now my passion, and what I was studying at college, and about to head off to university to to a degree in.
I got to meet so many cool people, the late Barbara Windsor, most of the cast of Eastenders ha ha, and even the occasional Hollywood star.
It wasn’t just the productions or the celebrities I was studying though…it was the ordinary people too, the audiences, it astounded me how one building could attract with their programming, so many diverse people into its fold.
One week it would be a laugh till you wet yourself comedy show filled to the rafters with Londons black community, and the next it would be a straight play about the troubles in Ireland where you could literally hear a pin drop.
This is why when it came to choosing what I wanted to focus my research on a few years later…I chose to write my dissertation on cultural diversity, community and the arts….with a specific focus on young people and how they use street dance to express themselves.
So what the heck has this all got to do with clubhouse?
Clubhouse is the new audio based social media platform taking the world by storm…some would say it is elitist…like the Oprah or the Ballet…because currently it is invite only, and only available for people with Apple phones.
The way the app works is that you can host rooms, be a moderator or a speaker, or an audience member. And each room is different in its vibe, etiquette, culture, and format. Some rooms go on for days, some and short and to the point. Some are inclusive and without hierarchy and some are all about the people on the stage.
Or as I have found myself saying of late,
“There are rooms that are good for business, rooms that are good for the soul and rooms that are good for nothing”
To be fair the app is still in its infancy, and lots of us are still just working it all out. I have been on there for around 6 weeks and have been playing around hosting different types of rooms and working out the best return on investment for my time…not just in terms of money but in terms of connection, and relationships and fun.
There are 100% things you can do to strategise and leverage this app, and my best piece of advice would be after spending a bit of time observing, start to be intentional and focus on your personal objectives for being on the platform.
So a few tips
As a room host
Think about your room like a show. Think about how it starts, the moments of ritual and drama, and the way you bring things to a close, a resolution. Are you encouraging audience interaction or is there a fourth wall…you know like those plays where the actors don’t even acknowledge the existence of the audience.
Think about the energy of your room…is it a comedy, or a tragedy, immersive or a one woman show…thats how you build a regular audience, unless it’s more variety, or improv, where you don’t know what you are getting.
Let folks know the parameters of the show, think of this like your programme. Who are the main characters, what is the format, the running time, is there an interval…let the audience know where they can leave a review.
It is your job as the host to remind people of the etiquette and the culture of your room, so don’t be afraid to reset the room as often as you need, and maintain your boundaries as you see fit.
As a guest speaker
Remember the director (or host/moderator) will have a vision for the room. Their room their rules, so check in with them about their expectations and any ground rules. Try and listen in on one of their shows before hand to get the vibe.
Be helpful. Be a good egg. Big up the host and the other mods. Be respectful.
Don’t hog the stage. Even if you think you are better informed or more of an expert than the hosts. I mean imagine if Sir Ian McKellen jumped up on the stage and did his version of a monologue every time he saw someone doing a mediocre job.
But also, be yourself. Show your character. Anything goes. You don’t need to put on any falsities, airs not graces…your style, your vibe, your specific take on your topic is what will create a wonderful blend of viewpoints in any rooms…so show people who you are.
As an audience member
Be open, be inquisitive and support the shows, I mean rooms, that you love. Feed back on social media, tell your friends and give the hosts a shout out from time to time.
Depending on the format of the show, get involved from time to time if you can. Be brave. But also give others a chance. If you are a natural and enthusiastic speaker, learn to be a good audience member too.
One of the greatest opportunities as an audience member in clubhouse is to hear different view points to your own, and to broaden your circle. So use the search function to find new rooms, maybe rooms on topics you are slightly interested in, ones outside of your business area.
And remember SIZE MATTERS, some of the most profound theatre I have seen in my life has been the one mans shows, or the experimental in the round productions…rather than the big Andres Lloyd Webber extravaganza.
Variety is the spice of life and the trick to not getting bored or overwhelmed by clubhouse.
This app couldn’t have come at a better time. We are desperate for connection, desperate to be entertained and have something to get excited by. As a business owner this app has so much opportunity, but where the real opportunity lies is in our ability as humans to simply engage and see what we learn about ourselves.
Look out next week for part two of this blog which will be all about the baddies and the villains of the clubhouse world.
Julie Creffield is a community engagement strategist and creative business mentor from East London. She has worked for more than 20 years helping bring people together to create change with movements that matter.
Starting her career as a drama and dance practitioner working with hard to reach young people, she went on to write policy for the London 2012 Games Maker programmes, founded a global plus-size fitness movement, and through her work has inspired millions of people to think, feel or do things differently.
She now works with solopreneurs to help them grow and leverage their communities for more influence, impact and income…and she runs a regular morning business show on clubhouse called “Breakfast Minus the Bullshit” which runs Mon-Fri 7.30am-9am
Come give her a follow and get involved @juliecreffieldor check out her new juliecreffield.club mini site