19th May 2020
We all know that being an entrepreneur is hard. I believe there’s added pressure in our social business space because we have priorities beyond profit and assume a level of responsibility for various problems in the world that we’re working to resolve. We feel strongly about the causes we support and often worry that we’re not doing enough. We may need to tactfully navigate those who deride or disagree with our aims and we may have to work harder to prove our worth in our industry. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, right?
If we don’t establish self-care practices it becomes increasingly difficult to sustain our energy, care and joy in what we do and at worse we can become exhausted, despondent and sick. From my experience of running an ethical business for a long time I’ve learned that little fixes to make us feel better can be lovely but they don’t provide the longevity of setting in some positive habits. As an entrepreneur you can be sure that things will go wrong, there will be stress and there will be long, tiring hours. It isn’t always possible to avoid that, but we can head off the nasty effects before they creep up. The trick is to look after ourselves consistently so that we’re better placed to tackle challenges when they arise.
So, here are three simple tried and tested (by me) ways I implement self-care. They aren’t fancy, they aren’t expensive, they don’t need (much) extra time and attention.
This basically means going outdoors and getting up close and personal with trees and plants. Spending time in the natural environment is now widely recognised and credited as being beneficial for our wellbeing. Some GPs in the UK are now ‘prescribing’ this to support mental good health.
Those in the know about therapeutic horticulture say that the restorative and calming effects of being with nature is increased when combined with an activity, like tending to plants. For me this has double benefits because it helps assuage anxiety about climate change and damage to our natural world by providing a soothing pastime as well as a means of doing something about it. Growing plants to eat reduces food miles and plastic waste, growing plants for pollinators supports biodiversity – it’s a win-win!
“Another thing to do?!” I hear you cry. Yes, I accept that growing plants might feel like just adding another job to the ever-growing list. So of course, if even the thought of it induces more stress then just take little time to enjoy being in nature instead. I do this by going for a walk every day, sometimes to the woods and sometimes to the local park but each time it helps clear my head and bring about a sense of calm.
OK, don’t laugh. I know how ridiculous this might sound when you’re working early in the morning before school runs and late into the evening, juggling your job, your family and the many other commitments that life demands. However, I truly believe that routines can have magical powers.
When I talk about routine I don’t necessarily mean a rigidly set out day where certain tasks are carried out at an exact time. No, life just isn’t like that. I mean making sure the essentials are met, like eating lunch at a sensible time and moving your body as well as instilling habits that help you feel a sense of achievement every day.
The whole eating lunch and moving around thing might seem absurdly obvious but in the early days of our business it would be more common than not for us to sit at our desks from first thing in the morning, not even think about lunch and emerge in the evening light headed and drained. As if taking an hour’s break out of all of that time would have been detrimental to our business! Does anyone else do this? If so, please reconsider. This is absolutely not sustainable, doesn’t necessarily mean that more work is done and can ultimately lead to burn out.
Being productive and being busy are two completely different things and #EthicalHour have some useful courses on how to implement work patterns that ensure more is done in the same amount of time. Whether its prioritising high-yield vs low-yield tasks, using Fridays to plan the week ahead or bulking jobs together, these routines bring more value to the time you spend and a feeling of accomplishment that makes it easier to walk away at the end of the day.
As social entrepreneurs we’re driven by making the world a better place. Inevitably, this means that to address the issues we’re working to alleviate we have to face some very upsetting truths. It could be about climate change, deforestation, poverty, inequality, exploitation or animal cruelty and and at the moment with the pandemic added issues closer to home and globally. These can lead to us becoming anxious, stressed and low.
Not hiding from the negative and painful things in the world makes me all the more grateful for the positive things I have in my life and most definitely puts a lot into perspective. Being able to laugh at myself and insignificant problems is possibly the most important habit for me. It stops me from grumbling about the little things and makes me feel generally more content and equipped to think about the bigger picture. If I feel tempted to have a little moan about something small I try to remember to check in with my sense of humour and laugh it off instead.
16th Apr 2020
We joined the #EthicalHour community* back in 2017 and in our sixteen years of being in business it is one of the best things we ever did.
In 2004 when we first started out, running a business with a purpose was kind of lonely. There were some amazing colleagues and organisations that we looked up to and connected with but the world was a very different place back then and not everyone ‘got it’ and not everyone was supportive. Back then, belonging to a network of entrepreneurs who shared a vision of a kinder, greener world and having access to relevant marketing support and business expertise would have been amazing. Thankfully, now we do.
#EthicalHour isn’t just for start-ups. As an established business we have gained such a lot from being members. Here are some of the ways that #EthicalHour has benefitted our business:
Simply by being part of a community who want to tread as lightly on the planet as possible we meet new clients who need our website hosting services. Often those clients recommend us to others too. Together we are making a move towards a more environmentally friendly internet.
I’m not aware of another single online space where you can meet as many ethical business owners and industry experts from all over the world. It is a genuinely friendly, no-judgement place where it’s OK to ask questions and seek help no matter where you are in your business journey.
If one thing is true about being an entrepreneur it’s that you never stop learning. #EthicalHour’s online resources cover a huge range of topics including productivity, getting the most out of social media platforms, embedding values in your business, self care, making an impact and lots more.
For £20 per month, you will get:
#EthicalHour provides amazing mutual support and information but its big aim is to help ethical brands break out into the mainstream and have a real impact on the way all business is done. It’s so exciting to be a part of this!
*Disclosure - The links to Ethical Hour in this article are affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you we may earn commission if you purchase Ethical Hour membership as a result of following one of these links. We are indeed fully paid members of the #EthicalHour community and all of the above is true and genuine.
7th Apr 2020
When the world changed those weeks ago we saw our clients step up and do some fabulously creative, kind and imaginative things to adapt and show their care for others. We were so inspired by this we decided to share their great work. So here's part two of the amazing things our clients have been doing...
Sian at Ethical Hour gave businesses a pep talk. Ethical Hour are guiding businesses through a tricky time with much needed connection and support.
Ethical Brands for Fashion Revolution is to take place entirely online for the first time this year, from 20th - 26th April. We are delighted to be sponsoring this event with our Green Hosting service.
Besma at Curiously Conscious is sending shout-outs on her Instagram channel to sustainable stores who have had to close and shares 22 feel good ideas for working from home.
Musician, songwriter and music producer David Booth has been making sure we have music with his virtual busking sessions.
The Haller Foundation have developed a hand sanitiser which they use for their work in Kenya and shared the recipe
Lynda Stead told us about a company who provides a month's supply of their specilist handcream to midwives for each product sold. Lynda is also creating wired headbands to keep her hair under control until we can go to the hairdressers again.
Ethical Unicorn talks about a movement to make the world fairer when we come out of this - the global online hackathon taking place on 18th & 19th April. This isn't a tech event but invites everyone to join in and talk about actionable solutions.
Anja Lobert creates beautiful, natural soaps and sent a free soap hamper to NHS frontline staff. She has also made a hand sanitiser which is for sale at her website and will deliver in Manchester.
The Wildlife Garden Project have pulled together lots of wildlife gardening projects and activities to keeo us busy and take care of nature.
Paint It Yourself Pottery are now providing pottery supplies deliveries to customers in Cheltenham.
Green & Blue have launched their 'Make Us Smile' competition, asking customers to send a photo of of their nature & wildlife products being used. The winner receives a £150 voucher!
26th Mar 2020
The past couple of weeks have collectively been some of the strangest and most worrying times we've ever experienced. However, as always there are uplifting stories of people doing the most wonderful things to help others, to adapt and to simply make it through.
We are constantly impressed by the innovative, caring and creative things our clients get up to at all times and now is no exception. Here are some that might make you smile, be inspired or want to join in:
Roxy Robinson isn't letting the lockdown stop her dancing. Our kitchen dancing definitely doesn't look this good though.
edventure:Frome have moved their Make Shed to a virtual space and are providing their online short courses available to everyone for free.
Garden Crowd are encouraging us to use our time at home to enjoy the garden birds. Why not order some bird food?
If you're one of our clients and you'd like us to share your news, do get in touch.
20th Mar 2020
In light of the Covid-19 outbreak we just want to let our clients know that we are providing our services and support as usual. If any of our clients need us, please continue to get in touch in the usual way, by e-mail or our helpdesk.
As you know, we love to give shout-outs to the amazing things you are doing and we want to help with that more now than ever to support your businesses and organisations. So, if you have any news you would like us to share then do let us know.
We'll continue to post about our clients on our social media channels but please don't think we're being frivolous in these difficult times, we just like to help shine the spotlight on all their good work.
Stay safe and well everyone.
Much love, from Jez & Vic