How Extreme Self-Care Helped Me to Double My Business

Just over a year ago, I wrote a post that would shape the direction for my business in the years to come about the surprising connection between living a life you love and designing a profitable, sustainable business.

The feedback, emails, and comments I received blew my mind.

Finally, women were hearing that it’s OK to take precious care of themselves and enjoy the journey as much as they enjoy achieving success. The idea that you don’t have to put your life on pause was a welcome respite for women who are exhausted from the constant hustle of building a biz while also raising families, caring for aging parents, and juggling a million other responsibilities.

And like they say… sometimes you teach what you most need to know.

As a type-A, ambitious, goal-oriented, overachiever with workaholic tendencies – who has burned herself out completely on more than one occasion – self-care is my own weak spot.

It’s the first thing that goes out the window when I’m feeling stressed, when I’m launching a new program, when I’m feeling all the pressures of being a working mom, sole breadwinner, and an entrepreneur.

While there are times that I’ve gotten away with my bad self-care habits… there have also been times in the past few years where extreme self-care not only saved my sanity, but was the cornerstone for my entire business.

In the summer of 2012, I discovered I was pregnant with my third child.

I was incredibly excited – we had been talking about having another baby for over a year and I had convinced myself that despite a difficult, high-risk pregnancy with my twins, this time would be completely different. I thought surely, with just ONE baby, I’d experience that beautiful easy pregnancy that everyone was talking about.

The Universe must have known that I needed to learn this lesson on extreme self-care… because I was sick beyond anything I experienced before. Hyperemesis gravidarum isn’t just extreme morning sickness. It can be a life-threatening illness that can easily hospitalize you.

Thankfully, instead of spending 12 weeks of my pregnancy in the hospital, I was able to have a home healthcare nurse help me stay at home with the help of constant IV fluids and a zofran pump.

Extreme self-care was the top priority – in more ways than one.

As a mama of two-year-old twins… I still had kids to care for! Thankfully, the majority of this illness was during summer break when my teacher husband was home and able to care for both kids. But I knew as we went into the school year that I’d have to say yes to more support with the kids and enroll them into a preschool.

It was so hard for me to take that big leap into having my twins in preschool. For the first two years of their life… they were at home with me and an occasional babysitter who would play with them during the day so that I could work. But school? It felt like a HUGE deal to me.

But enrolling them into preschool was not only the best thing for them {and they LOVED it}… it was the best thing for me. For the first time since I became a mama, I had more than a couple of hours each day to not only work on my business, but take precious care of myself.

With my newfound freedom in the afternoons, instead of adding more to my workload, I spent time getting to prenatal yoga, getting pregnancy massages, and seeing a chiropractor. This led me to doing some deep inner work on what I wanted to experience for this birth… and at 26 weeks pregnant, I left my OB-GYN to work with a team of mid-wives and an incredible doula for the rest of my pregnancy. Something I never would have trusted myself to do unless I’d given myself permission to take precious care of myself.

As I prepared for the birth of my baby… I gave myself permission to really enjoy the time with just my twins. We made time for little family adventures – trips to the zoo, our first solo family vacation to the beach, and weekly trips to our local park.

It might seem that with all this complicated pregnancy and required self-care time, surely my business was put on pause while I was pregnant and having this baby.

The truth? My business doubled over the year before and I was able to take nearly 4 months OFF for maternity leave when my son was born in February 2013.

Personal self-care filled my love-tank so that I could show up and do my best work… even when I was extremely sick.

Professional self-care helped me to ensure my business was working for ME instead of me working non-stop for my business.

Could self care be the secret to a biz that loves you back?

Like many creative types – it’s so incredibly easy for me to have a million ideas that I want to pursue in my business. But with hyperemisis, I didn’t have a choice. I simply didn’t have the bandwidth for more than a couple of hours of work a day {working from bed}.

I had to get support.

Thankfully, I already had an amazing project manager, Amber, who helped me to streamline and systematize everything that I didn’t have the energy to work on. By the time I gave birth to Mitchell, I knew I could turn the reigns over to her for a couple of months to take care of my community.

Because more than 50% my income was still tied to working 1×1 with my clients, I also had to do some planning and call in reinforcements. I reached out to some of my favorite specialists who could step in as guest coaches for my private clients during the months I was on maternity leave. It worked beautifully and my clients were able to work on specific areas of their business with the BEST people I knew.

I had to simplify.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past 8 years of running my business… it’s the power of consistency. I didn’t have the energy to be everywhere, to create new videos, or to even write a weekly blog post. What could I do that would keep moving my business forward, without overextending myself? Sending my weekly newsletter.

When I felt good, I would write a couple newsletters at a time. We re-purposed OLD newsletters. We took transcripts from teleseminars or webinars I taught and turned them into newsletters. By the time that I went on maternity leave, there were months of content ready to go out to the community. In fact – the community had no idea I was sick at all because I continued to show up like clockwork in their inbox.

I had to work smarter.

Productivity and time management has always come easily to me… but becoming a mama for the third time required me to take things to an entirely new level. I realized that my biz needed to shift if I was going to spend the kind of quality time with Mitchell that I had when the twins were newborns.

That meant doubling down on my signature program Conscious Business Design.

The program had already been running for over a year and graduated nearly 80 students by the time I found out I was pregnant. But it was extremely time-intensive to launch and run the program multiple times a year!

I poured through the feedback of all my students to give Conscious Business Design a major upgrade. I streamlined and clarified the content, adding in bonus trainings and resources to make it easier than ever to implement. I reached out to my dear friend Anne Samoilov to refine the existing launch sequence so we could run the program on-demand while I was on maternity leave.

And the biggest, scariest step? Increasing my prices.

I hadn’t changed my prices for years… for both Conscious Business Design and my 1×1 mentorship program. Thanks to my amazing business BFF Lauren Fritsch, I got the kick in the pants I needed. I had been severely undercharging – and even my clients told me that they got more from Conscious Business Design than they did from programs priced 3-4X higher!

[clickToTweet tweet=”Professional Self-Care isn’t about mani-pedis. It’s all about simplifying, getting support, and working smarter.” quote=”Professional Self-Care isn’t about mani-pedis. It’s all about simplifying, getting support, and working smarter.” theme=”style2″]

This was truly designing a business that loves me back. Not only was my business able to financially provide for me and my family during a year-long period of difficult pregnancy and maternity leave – but it was able to grow and thrive without me hustling to grow it.

Now that my youngest is three years old, I’ve embraced personal and professional self-care more than ever before.

I’ve continued to double my business year after year by staying laser-focused on my business sweet spot, growing an incredible team, and showing up consistently for my community.

The first few months of 2015, as I doubled down on my self-care with massages every other week and recommitting to my practice of waking early in the morning for meditation, yoga, and quiet time. My husband Jameson and I joined a new gym with an incredible kids zone and started working with personal trainers.

Even when hit with the flu this winter, this practice of extreme self-care for so many years meant that I had a deep wellspring to draw from when we went through our biggest launch ever of the Fired Up and Focused Challenge + Conscious Business Design.

Personal and professional self-care has become the foundation of living a life I love, right now, while navigating this journey of entrepreneurship and mamahood.

Talk to me! I’d love to hear from you – how are you embracing deep self-care and living a life you love, right now? How does that impact your business? Let me know in the comments below!