As an entrepreneur finding balance between your life and business can be a real challenge. Calmpreneur Founder Suzannah Butcher helps entrepreneurs focus on their mental wellbeing and find new ways to reduce stress and increase productivity through training, resources and support. In this interview Suzannah shares her previous pitfalls, common mistakes entrepreneurs make, pearl of wisdom and her vision for the future…
- Tell us a bit about Calmpreneur…
Calmpreneur is an online community for business owners who feel like they don’t fit in with the hustle and grind mentality of entrepreneurship and want to find ways to grow their business in a calmer way.
As someone who has had many struggles with mental health (and as a carer and mum) it just isn’t possible for me to put work first. My own health and that of my family comes before my business. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but in order to keep work/life harmony, business is only a part of my happiness pie.
“My own health and that of my family comes before my business.”-Suzannah Butcher
I went through a number of years where I kept pushing myself to carry on; work harder, keep my head down, keep trying to do everything…and ignored the messages my body was telling me about slowing down (headaches, stress, IBS, sore throats).
“I burnt out more than once and made it my mission to do everything I could to be a calmer person and business owner.“– Calmpreneur
The Calmpreneur website has loads of great resources about reducing anxiety, growing a business and general health and well-being tips.
Female Entrepreneur Community
- What motivated you to set up this community?
I had one of those moments where I wasn’t sure if things were going in the right direction in my business at the time (an online membership club for women in business) and was feeling really anxious about that…and life in general. I was working really hard but there was something missing and I felt like something had to change.
The idea for Calmpreneur came about because I wanted to do something where I could be truly myself and be honest about my mental health.
“I wanted to do something fulfilling, something with purpose, that would help other people in some way.“
Sadly, it meant closing my membership and admitting defeat in a way, but I’m really glad I went with my heart because Calmpreneur is growing in ways I didn’t plan or expect!
- What are the top three issues that female entrepreneurs face and has this changed since you began your journey?
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room! It’s HARD growing a business and for most of us, the money doesn’t start flowing in the minute you decide to start your business. For sure there are some businesses that just fly from the off, but for most people it’s hard work getting to the stage where you can draw a proper salary.
Some people romanticise being in business because they have pre-conceived ideas about what it might look like and get carried away with making everything just perfect, but often the nitty gritty financial strategy is lacking.
People do seem to be talking about it more now which is great and I love seeing all the money mindset coaches sharing wisdom.
“Consistent mindset work is vital for building and maintaining confidence.”
Secondly, lack of confidence…impostor syndrome…fear of failure…fear of success…self-sabotage – the list goes on! Self-doubt has hugely negative impact on your business. People intuitively know when you are trying too hard to sell, or you’re not really believing what you’re saying to them and that will undoubtedly affect your business success. Even with all the self-development work I do each day, I still occasionally struggle with this and I know it’s a biggie for many female entrepreneurs.
I think things will shift as people look within and realise what potential they have. As people release old fears and appreciate their true self, their confidence grows. We carry around a LOT of baggage!
Thirdly, being ‘Stuck’ is a big challenge. I went through years of being in business where I didn’t plan or set goals properly. I would make some vague goals at the beginning of each year, but would forget about them by April and wouldn’t make any new ones. I see a lot of other women in business making the same mistake.
“I learnt the hard (and long) way that focus, proper planning, hard work and self-belief is key to goal achievement.“
I don’t think any of this has changed much over the years but I’m really glad to see more female entrepreneurs being authentic on social media now. It’s great to see people being ‘real’ more and I think the whole ‘fake it til you make it’ is losing its appeal.
- Could you offer any pearls of advice or wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs, to help them with mental wellness?
Health Before Wealth
Money is important of course, but it’s no good if you burnout before you can enjoy the rewards. Make self-care part of your daily routine, steer clear of time vampires and outsource where you can.
Plan in 90-day blocks. This works really well for me and helps to reduce the overwhelm of having big goals looming over me. I now have one main mission at a time, and set smaller, incremental goals, using Best Self Journal to keep me on track.
Be disciplined about self-care. If you struggle with mental health, this is an absolute must. Make time every day to do something for yourself, whether that’s reading, meditating, crafting or walking, that time is the best gift you can give to yourself.
“Know your triggers and if you need to step back for a bit, do it. You 100% have to put yourself first.”
- You’ve faced challenges in your own life, what were the biggest hurdles and how did you overcome them? Do you have a proudest moment?
The biggest hurdle was probably the journey to have children; little did I know it would take 8 years of fertility treatments before I got pregnant. IVF is probably the most stressful thing I’ve ever had to go through and it definitely tested my resolve in ways I could never have imagined. I overcame it because I just couldn’t imagine never being a mother and I knew I just had to keep going. Hence, my proudest moment is pretty much every single day I see my two children smiling, and I know I did the right thing.
Other than that, I guess giving up my alcohol habit was really hard. I never thought I could even get through a Friday and Saturday night without wine, but I did it. I drink occasionally now but have to self-moderate.
- Calmpreneur features many inspiring stories from women in business and you have shared your own journey; why do you think it’s important to talk about mental wellbeing and share lived experiences?
Honesty and openness is a big thing for me. How can I offer advice or coach people as a closed book? I got to the stage where I realised that it’s what people needed; women needed to see other women being vulnerable, putting their hand up and saying “yeah, me too”, admitting they’ve failed and knowing that it’s OK because we all do.
I have been worried about over-sharing all my life but now I just think f*ck it! We are all in this mad old business world together, all trying our best. We can only get better by supporting each other and sharing ourselves.
- Is there anyone who has inspired you in your life?
There isn’t really one person. I find I get inspired every day by other women in business doing amazingly brave things and testing comfort zones despite the odds being stacked against them. It may sound a bit wa*ky to say myself but I’d like to think that the adult Suzannah is inspiring the vulnerable, sad 8 year old Suzy within me.
- What does this year look like for yourself? What’s in the pipeline for Calmpreneur?
I cannot wait for the year ahead. Everything is going right at the moment and I am saying that without fear that I’m jinxing it (which is what I would have done in the old days) or that I’m going to self-sabotage, because I’ve given that up too!
New episodes for the Calmpreneur podcast will recorded in the Autumn and I’ll be opening enrolment for my Time for Calm course in September too. From January, I’ll be taking on Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) clients and hope to combine EFT with practical business support and accountability.
Connect with Suzannah- www.calmpreneur.com
Freebie! Suzannah is offering a free self-sabotage workbook filled with practical exercises and simple advice (no opt in required). Download it here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/lqfma010rjpdm2z/Self-Sabotage%20PDF%20Course.pdf?dl=0
Big thank you to Suzannah for sharing her inspiring work with us.