Have you ever pondered the unpredictable peaks and lulls of independent business? How do you cope when work dries up? And what do you do when you’re at full capacity, riding the crest of success or tipping into overwhelm? This article is about these contrasting experiences and the ways in which we can we can find contentment in both.

Scenario One: The Quiet Phase

Imagine this: You’re in a phase where your workload has slowed to a trickle. You’re diligently putting out content and offers, yet the return is minimal. It’s a quiet period, but you do have some money in the bank, at least for now. You have fresh ideas and a keen interest in learning new things or integrating new systems to enhance your workflows.

Scenario Two: The Booming Business

Now, picture a different scene. Your business is booming. Offers are converting, and your calendar is chocca with projects, client meetings and sales calls. Long hours are the norm but you’re okay with it, knowing you are witnessing the fruits of your labour. It feels exciting as you predict that this could be your most profitable year yet.

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener

Given a choice, which scenario would you prefer? It may seem obvious, but it’s a bit of a trick question.

In my years of coaching, I’ve seen that both scenarios present their own challenges. 

When business is slow, we crave more work and revenue. 

When we’re at full capacity, we yearn for time – time to think, to strategize, to rest, and for ourselves.

In the world of independent business, you’ll likely encounter both situations. 

In a lull, you might be waiting on a contract, adjusting to sudden market changes (like seen in the 2020 pandemic), or simply experiencing a slower phase of growth. 

Conversely, you might be flat out, juggling multiple clients or projects, and wishing for extra hours in the day, time to hire help and/or improve your systems.

So, how do we navigate these natural cycles with grace and ease? 

Soft Time vs. The Flow

In her book “Pure Bliss”, Gill Edwards, talks about states of being: ‘soft time’ and in ‘the flow.’ 

In business, ‘soft time’ is when we have more room in our schedules. It’s an opportunity for reflection and creativity. A time to step back and evaluate our approach. There may well be space to implement new ideas or projects that have been on the back burner.

On the other hand, being ‘in the flow’ is a period of action. It’s a time to create and collaborate. There may be plenty going on with projects/clients but it’s an exciting opportunity to stretch and find out what is possible. This is often where we find the limits of our approach/systems and identify opportunities for change.

Can We Embrace Both?

The key is to embrace both scenarios. When business is bustling, and you can’t find time for basic tasks, remember that a slower period might be just around the corner. Or you could create that time, especially if you’re experiencing a financial high. Why not invest in buying back some of your time and block out your calendar?

In quieter times, relish the space you have. Use it to make changes, to rejuvenate, and to prepare for the busier times ahead. Trust that they will come. Ensure you’re ready for those projects with your health, bandwidth, and resources in tip-top condition.

For independent business owners, understanding this ebb and flow is crucial. It allows you to stay grounded and present in whatever is unfolding.

By embracing the natural peaks and lulls in independent business, you move beyond the ‘grass is greener’ pattern. You don’t wish for work in a quiet phase and you don’t lament the lack of time when you are busy.

You understand the nature of both phases and you discover that you can find contentment in both.