When It’s Time to Bid Goodbye to Your Business
Here’s how I knew
Okay, where do I begin? It’s always a bit tricky when it comes to talking about changes — big and small — because we unconsciously know that there’s a load of expectations that come with them.
Perhaps I should go back 15 years, to August of 2007, when I wrote my first ever blog post titled ‘Why I am Writing This Blog’. It always reminds me of the core purpose behind my work and that was to keep a journal of moments that I could treasure and dip into, as my daughter grew older. Naturally, that first goalpost shifted many times over the following decade and a half.
With blogging regularly came the need for readers, a social network, an audience and soon after, that purpose evolved into maintaining a digital presence in the online world. For nearly 10 years (between 2013 and early 2022), my focus was centred on how to be visible in the online marketplace.
Naturally, this meant venturing into the different social networks out there, beginning with Facebook, followed by Twitter, scaling to Pinterest, settling comfortably on Instagram and LinkedIn being a sober presence somewhere in the background.
Exciting? Certainly. Life changing? Most definitely. But there are things we don’t anticipate when we spread ourselves across these networks with such ever-increasing vigour. Hence the need to step back, quiet the noise and take stock of how far we’ve come. And then there comes a point when you have to pause and look at where your life and business are heading.
At this specific point, I am standing at a crossroads, and with it comes two questions:
- What am I moving away from?
- What do I want to move towards?
Winding Down my Coaching Programs
This may perhaps be the biggest shift and it’s not something I considered lightly. It’s been brewing in my mind since April of 2022, but I didn’t want to take a hasty decision. So I allowed myself to step back, slow down, reflect and decide if this was truly what was meant to be.
Over the past 4 and a half years, I’ve offered a slew of coaching services that included many one-on-one programs, group coaching sessions, a short-lived webinar series and my cohort, the Intentional Growth Community. Through it all, the shifts and changes were palpable even while I completely enjoyed this sort of direct engagement with my true audience.
However, there was a voice speaking in the background and for a long time, I chose to ignore it. It was asking me to do things that I wasn’t ready to do — step back, slow down, reflect on my role as a coach — until I finally started to listen in the silence that I’d created for myself.
This voice was saying that it was time for me to let go of this angle of my business. It was time to let the work stand on its own and speak for itself. And so, as of August 31st, 2022, my coaching business will officially down its shutters.
So what happens to my business, you ask? I explain that in the ‘Moving Towards Change’ section below.
The Nature and Shape of the Newsletters
After close to 5 years of writing my regular newsletter, which also underwent a gamut of changes, it’s time for me to switch to a single newsletter at the end of every month.
This will also signify the end of the marketing newsletter, effective today. Any future updates related to my courses or e-books shall be intimated in the monthly (or perhaps) bi-monthly newsletter.
The core reason behind this decision, of course, boils down to the meaning of the word — Newsletter. It’s a letter filled with actual, relevant and useful news to the reader. What purpose am I achieving by sending out a newsletter every week (or every 2 weeks), if I don’t have any actual ‘news’ to share? Wouldn’t that time be better served in other ways? Also, wouldn’t this mean that I truly care for my readers and their time?
Now comes the question: Why? Why am I closing down the marketing newsletter?
To be honest, I believe it’s run its course. There came the point when I had to admit, quietly yet firmly, that there was no more need to market my services visibly. Did you know that in the last 3 months alone, I have had enough coaching sessions and sold courses without actively advertising the same? People have continued to find my work and decide on sessions purely on the strength of my content. Having left all social media as of March 2022, this also reminds us powerfully that the more we step back, the more the right things will find us when the time is right.
Advertising (even organically) is not something I want to be spending my time and energy on; instead, there are other more relevant activities that call to me and that’s where I will be turning my attention.
MOVING TOWARDS CHANGE
A Minimalist Approach to Content
I’ve always believed that less is more, and now with regard to content, I’m reminded of how powerful that can be. For a long time, I used to be a content creation machine — whether publishing a weekly blog post here on my website/ on Medium or creating daily content on my social media channels, specifically, Instagram. And I loved it. It was energizing, invigorating, and connected me with all the right people and I have zero regrets about the whole gamut of content I’ve created and put out there.
But, as my quest for minimalism has shown, the more I create, the lesser time I have to be fully present in the moment. Each time I create something, I am taking myself away from something else in my life. Two books that I read this year — Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman and Stolen Focusby Johann Hari — have brought this idea into sharp perspective.
Each day, as I wake up and greet the day, I am faced with this beautiful question — How do I truly want to spend my day? What matters to me today, in these precious moments that I have to call my own? Somehow, the answer is never, ‘Let’s create some content’. And I know how that sounds, coming from a content creator, but the message, I believe, is to focus on moving towards a more intentional, conscious and minimalist approach to content creation. That would mean more long-form content and also more infrequent content. I’m thinking perhaps once every other month, at the moment, but it may be even more infrequent as time goes by.
Self-paced Courses and E-books
My business will continue to exist but in a more passive format than what you’ve been used to thus far. The ‘ Resources ‘ page on my site will be updated with more self-paced e-books and courses that will be available for purchase, as time goes by.
Over the next four months, it is my hope to publish at least a few of these for use by creators and business owners, who would like a more authentic approach to the art of business, connection and organic growth.
Similar to my content model, I’d like to explore the art of podcasting at a deeper, more nuanced level. That means, even if I were to publish just an episode a month, I’d like for it to mean something for my audience and listeners. In doing this, it’s my hope that more people will embrace the idea of intentional listening and active (yet minimal) creation of their own.
A More Holistic Approach to Life
Perhaps the foundation for these changes stemmed from my need to move towards a more holistic approach to living, that goes beyond a business and a presence in the digital space.
If the last year has taught me anything, it’s that life is as precious as we choose to make it. We decide where we should train our minds and focus our energies. The subconscious voice in my mind has become louder these last few months and I can’t ignore it any longer.
Life is about caring for our bodies through physical exercise, for our minds through better reading and for our souls through spiritual input. And the only way to do justice to this three-pronged approach is to quiet the number of external triggers in our lives. For me, personally, that means a fairly minimalist digital presence and perhaps moving towards a more hands-on way of living fully in each moment. It could mean more conscious travel, a way of serving the larger community in person and more volunteer work wherever possible, all of which I have not done for the better part of six years.
Life is calling and I think the time has come for me to follow that calling and see where it leads. And so, today, it’s time to embrace change, take that bold step forward, and walk the road not taken.
If you’ve read this far, first of all, thank you 🙏🏼😊. Secondly, I invite you to stay with me on this journey and watch as things unfold. I have no way of knowing how these things will manifest so your guess is as good as mine. Either way, whatever you decide, I would like to thank you for being by my side, whether you joined me 15 years ago, 15 months ago, or 15 days ago. I cherish our connection and am grateful for all of our interactions.
Originally published at https://shailajav.com on August 29, 2022.