I am really excited for you to listen to this episode, because I think that we have all kind of done goal setting the same way. And if it’s working for you, definitely keep doing it, but maybe also listen in if…
- It’s not working for you, or
- You have a way that’s working and you just want to enhance or improve upon it, especially when it comes to looking at your business and your life holistically
Your goals don’t have to just be about business. They don’t have to just be about revenue and how to improve those metrics as well. What does that mean? Listen in and read on!
Tavia: Seran, welcome to the show. I am super excited to have you here and chat about this here today.
Seran: I’m so excited to be here with you.
Tavia: Yay. Okay, cool. So first and foremost, give people like a two sentence summary of like who you are.
Seran: Sure. My name is Seran Glanfield and I’m the founder of Spring Three and I help boutique fitness studio owners to build and grow their businesses. And many of them have come into the business world somewhat by accident. It was perhaps never part of their big plan to own a business and to grow a business. And so they enter into this world with a lot of passion for what they do. They love to teach movement, but the business side of it is often a missing piece of the puzzle that they never get taught along the way as part of their teacher training programs. And so thy’ve gotten, and they’re looking for what they need to know and learn to get to the next level.ey often come to me and find me when they’re kind of they’ve figured out how to get just as far as the
Tavia: You know, those of you listening, I’m sure that even though you’re probably a photographer listening to this, there’s a lot of similarities in fitness studio owners. I would imagine it would be similar — Seran, you can tell me if this is incorrect — but they’re starting out probably doing private small classes or something like that. And they start to build a little bit of a following and they enjoy it. And so they start out pursuing a passion and then it sort of goes into more than that. And you start to realize like, “Okay, I actually have to learn business. I have to actually learn marketing.” Is that how you got into this industry? Like you started out in a similar path?
Seran: Well, so I actually worked in finance for a number of years. I worked on Wall Street for a long time and got burned out and decided that I needed to take some time for myself. And I had just discovered pilates. I’ve always been fitness-focused, always been movement-focused, but I hadn’t done pilates before that point. And so I kind of was intrigued by it. I enjoyed it. I found it very challenging and the more time I spent doing it, the more I wanted to learn about it. And so I decided to leave my very intense position at a big bank and just go and immerse myself in the world of pilates and become trained to become a teacher. Not because I had any desire to teach necessarily, but because I just wanted to learn more about the method.
PASSION AND BUSINESS
Seran: So I got into the training and I met these incredibly talented, knowledgeable teachers who I was lucky to train alongside and train with, I realized that this was perhaps one of the best kept secrets out there. And perhaps people were at the time, it was in between 10 and 12 years ago, it wasn’t clear what pilates was or that it was different to yoga in any way. And there was a lot of small, tiny, tiny businesses and a lot of tiny studios, filled with teachers who were really passionate about this method, really passionate about what they were teaching and it works like that their clients loved their sessions, loved coming to them, and saw incredible changes in their bodies and felt stronger and more resilient, more confident.
As I was working with those teachers, they were asking me questions about business and marketing, because that’s just where my brain goes. And so kind of by default, I was helping some of my friends who also teach us too on the business side and giving them some suggestions about how to price things and how to market things and how to set up websites and all the things. And so I kind of had a roundabout way, but all the people that I work with come into this with this immense amount of passion for what they do, and they really love it, and they are looking for, they kind of feel like they want to be able to reach more clients, more people with what they do and they kind of get stuck.
And so there’s a different set of skills really to building a business than it is to perhaps pursuing a passion.
And it’s not always that obvious in the beginning. There are two parts to it.
Tavia: Yeah. And I think a lot of people think like, “Oh, well, if I love something, I’m really good at it. If you build it, they will come,” right? Like “The people will find me if I do something amazing and people tell their friends,” and there is a piece of that that’s true. But there’s definitely like business and marketing strategy that comes in that you’re like, “Oh, I actually have to learn business to be successful past a certain point.”
Seran: Exactly. Yes. And I always say, you can figure it out on your own. However, there was always someone before you who’s figured it out, how to do it. But it’s just a bit easier if you kind of know, if someone can guide you, you know? And if you can get the answers faster. You know what to avoid and you have someone perhaps who can help you kind of avoid some of those mistakes or perhaps make sure that you’re thinking about some of the things that you may not be aware of. And so that’s where it can be helpful to work with someone who has kind of sees a lot of different businesses and scenes inside a lot of different businesses in the industry.
Tavia: And what a huge gift that is to be able to take somebody’s 5, 10, 20 years experience and get it condensed down and get to learn it and excel that much faster as a result. You know what I mean? That’s just so cool. It’s just such a cool world that we live in to where we can even do that.
Seran: I know. It really is!
Start By Defining How Success Looks Like For You
Tavia: Okay. So let’s chat about what we’re here to talk about today, which is sort of looking forward to 2022 and putting a little bit of a different spin on traditional goal setting. Because my listeners and my students know, I love goal setting, I love planning, all of that stuff. But I love your unique perspective on this annual planning. So as we’re coming into 2022, I would love to chat about that with you. So can you talk to me about the differences in like planning your life and planning your business? Because people always talk about work-life balance and what that means and how to have it all, but how are you making your marriage and your kids and your business and your fitness and your mental health and all of these things a priority when it feels like — I’m speaking for myself. When I sit down to do my planning, I’m like, okay, I’ve got a goal for every area of my life, which is like seven or eight areas. And it can feel kind of overwhelming to do all that. So how do you really get clear on what matters to you before you start the planning so that you can plan it? If that makes sense?
Seran: Yeah, absolutely. And I always say when we talk about goal setting, I always am like, “Wait a second. Let’s just slow down here a little bit, because we need to figure out what success looks like, right? And when it comes to business, especially we can’t silo it. If you were a small business owner and you are the primary driver of revenue in your business, I know for many of my small studio owners who work one-on-one with clients say their business depends on them. Their revenue in their business depends on them. And if they aren’t able to show up with energy and excitement about their business, then it’s just not good. It’s just not good for the clients. It’s not good for business.
If you were a small business owner and you are the primary driver of revenue in your business, their business depends on them. And so we cannot just say, our goals can be in our business. We need to think kind of more broadly than that, because so much of our energy is spread across different things.
If you’re a parent, if you’re a caregiver, if you have other obligations in your life, and if you’re taking care of yourself, if you’re working through some stuff in your own life, you have to balance that with your business. And it’s a balance because it’s never static, right? It’s constantly shifting week to week, day to day, hour to hour, it’s different.
And so I always say, we need to figure out what success looks like for you, because the idea when we come to people about goal setting, we always assume that it has to look like more — more revenue, more hours, more hustle, more work, more stress, more, right? Which is a lot of the reason why I think a lot of people tend to say, “Yeah, I’ll set some goals.” And then they kind of like, “Never quite get there because it’s more,” and often the success for many folks looks like, “I’d like to perhaps grow my business, but I want to keep it manageable for myself,” right? And so we have to start with thinking about what that looks like.
We need to figure out what success looks like for you. We always assume that it has to look like MORE. Often for many folks it looks like, “I’d like to perhaps grow my business, but I want to keep it manageable for myself.” We have to define success for ourselves.
Does it look like doubling, tripling your revenue? Maybe. Great! If that’s what success looks like for you, then let’s make that happen. But if success looks like, I’m really happy with the number of hours that I’ve worked in this year. And I really want to not double my hours next year or I want to add, I don’t really want this business to triple because I don’t really want to have to do that, then it doesn’t have to be. We have to define success for ourselves.
And so I always thought, we’re thinking about, one year from now, if you’re reflecting back on the year, what will you have achieved that will make you feel good about yourself, that you can sit there and say, “You know, this was a very successful year for me.” And so thinking about what that vision looks like and what that picture looks like, and what’s in that picture is kind of where I like to start, because once we know where we’re heading, then we can kind of reverse engineer what are the steps, what are the milestones we need to hit along the way to make sure they’re on track to reach that vision.
So I always start with that. What is the vision for your business 12 months from now? And really visualize it!
I’m sure many of the listeners are creative in that way. And I know I am. And you know, it’s really helpful to think about,
- How do I feel when I’m in my business 12 months forward?
- What does that feel like to me?
- What looks good?
- What feels good about it?
- What’s there? Who else is there?
- What am I doing? What am I not doing?”
All those things and getting kind of that picture down first and starting there.
Factor In Self Care
Tavia: Yes. Okay. So many things stood out to me just now. I love the idea of visualizing it and asking yourself who is there? Who’s not there? What am I doing? What am I not doing? Because I know a lot of people in their businesses, especially photographers are like, you know, I really want to specialize in baby and birth, but I feel like I still have, weddings or seniors or family sessions, or like these things that are, I don’t really want to do anymore, but they’re there. And so it’s like starting with your ideal year, like it’s December 31st, 2022. What did your past year look like and does it include those things? And I know that for me and a lot of my listeners, our brain start to go to the how before we even have a chance to think about, we’re not even letting ourselves visualize it, because we’re starting to get into the how. How am I going to get rid of that? You know what I mean?
So I love that. And I’d love to chat more about that. And also something you said at the very beginning was about your energy. Like for your studio owners, when they’re one-on-one with a client and they aren’t taking their self-care into account, whether that’s time with their family, time with their spouse, time for themselves taking care of themselves, they’re showing up to these sessions in a different energy and in a different way than they would if they had those pieces all dialed in. And so I love thinking about it that way because it’s the same for us as photographers.
When you’re showing up for your clients, are you showing up the way that you want to be? Or are you like burnt out, stressed out about money, worried about when your next client’s going to come in?
Is this client going to place the big enough order? Are you stressed about stuff or are you able to like show up in a good energy? And so I think that what you’re saying is taking these visualization exercises and looking at your upcoming year is going to help facilitate the way that you’re showing up for your clients.
Seran: Absolutely. And you know, when you think about where you want to be and you are thinking about what that looks like on a day to day, we can look at the numbers on paper, that’s great! But how do you want to feel?
Because when you are your business and you are the primary revenue generator on your business, and you’re doing all the things and wearing all the hats, you have to take care of you. You’re the asset.
So you want to take care of the asset. And we want to make sure that you are showing up as the best version of yourself in all the areas of life that you want to be showing up. And that means that you have to have from that vision of your where you want to be, what are your non-negotiables about how you’re going to take care of yourself?
And so kind of that’s the next step is 12 months from now, how many shoots do you want to be doing? How many hours do you want to be working each week? What’s really important to you? Do you want to have family meals every night? Do you want to work out every day? What is it? It’s not just about the business, it’s about life as well.
And I’m thinking about what your non-negotiables are because often, having worked with solo entrepreneurs for almost 10 years, I know that how much overlap there is between work and life. And sometimes, especially when you are someone who is willing and you really want to make it, you really want to grow, and you’re excited about it, that you often are saying yes to a lot of things that perhaps overlap into your life part, not keeping it contained in the work part, right? Setting some of those boundaries for how you’re going to work and when you’re going to work and how you’re going to make sure that you can show up as your best self is really important. And this is the time to do it when you’re planning for the year ahead, because you can step into that plan knowing that if you want to work 25 hours a week, then you know how many shoots that looks like, you know how many hours of admin that looks like, and you can start to really map out with some clear boundaries what that looks like. And it’s really helpful also to get that out of your head and onto paper.
Tavia: Yeah, for sure, getting it out of your head. And I love that you said you are the asset, and I would love for you guys listening or watching to start thinking about yourself as an asset in your business. And I know like, logically, we know that, right? Like Seran said, when you’re the owner and you’re wearing all the hats and you’re doing all the things, you’re the most valuable asset in your business. And so remove yourself from it, when you’re not taking care of your most valuable asset in your business, what’s going to happen to your business, right? It’s going to crumble. It’s not going to be good. And so what does that look like? I guess that’s individual for each person of like, what that looks like.
Seran: Yeah. I mean, it does look different. I know for me, just to give you some examples of what I’ve seen, I’ve got people who take a full day off during the week, which was something that they never could have done before. For some people it’s that they’ve always worked Saturday and they are just like, “You know what, now I don’t want to work Saturdays anymore. It’s funny when you draw those boundaries, it’s amazing how then you find other ways to perhaps make up that income elsewhere, right?
Or sometimes people will say that they want to work with particular number of clients, they want to have a smaller number of clients and they want to be able to share those clients to some other teachers that perhaps work with them. There’s those sorts of boundaries. I always encourage my studio owners because they are also the customer support, right? They’re doing all of the liaison for scheduling and so on. You’re going to reply to that text message at 9:30 at night. Or do you want to say, “No, I’m only gonna reply to text messages, but normal business hours, nine to five,” which is totally acceptable. But often this is the sort of creep that we see that tends to make us live more switched on all hours of the day, so we don’t get that perhaps that downtime or the away time that allows us to be charged and show up in our business with the energy that we want. And so if some of these things may sound very small because it won’t really matter if you didn’t reply to that text message at 8:30 at night, you know? No, maybe, but if that turns into like every other night, you get text messages from clients and you’re like always on, that’s draining, you know?
Tavia: Whether you realize it or not, I think that that’s a lot of things. We talk about decision fatigue, for example, and you wake up and it’s like, “Well, what am I going to wear? And what am I going to eat?” And if you don’t have these things automatically set, it starts to ping out your decision making. And by 11:00 AM, you’re like, “I’m tapped out, I’m done,” and you don’t even realize you’re like, “Oh, I’m just tired.” But you’ve been making all these decisions that have drained your energy. And it sounds like the same kind of thing if you’re allowing text messages to just come in, as an example, all hours of the day, night, whatever, it might not seem like a big deal, because you’re like, “Well I’m at home and I’m not working.” And I have this text, but what is it actually doing to your energy that you might not even realize? And can you maybe even not get text messages at all?
I know for me, just again with the text message example, my clients don’t text me ever. They just don’t. Except birth clients, obviously birth clients, because I need to know when they’re going to be in labor. But like, “Hey, can I bring this hat to the newborn session,” that doesn’t happen. Because if they text me, I will go back and email them from my inbox and say, “Hey, I saw your text last night. Here’s the answer to your question.” And it just redirects them. It’s not mean, I’m not rude because I know some of you listening are probably like, “Oh my gosh, I could never do that.” It’s not mean, it’s not rude. It’s just, again, like Seran said, drawing your boundary and whatever you’re willing to let your clients do, they will do. But if you draw that boundary, they’ll respect that.
Seran: A hundred percent. A hundred percent. And it is a little bit about you have to kind of set that. You have to be the one that sets the kind of tone for that relationship. And if you are quick to reply 8:30 at night, 9:30 at night, whatever it is, then they will not hesitate about sending you a text message any time that they think of. And you know, it can be, you said it’s not necessarily about how it may not be that hard to reply quick response, but what is it pulling you away from? Is it sending you back into work mode and you’ve already kind of wound down for the evening?
So yeah, you have to set them and you can also establish, you know, I’m a big fan of setting those expectations with the clients as well, and if you do give them your phone number, because it is sometimes helpful to have those, communicate via texts and what have you, that you can say to them, “I don’t reply at this time and I left my phone on do not disturb.”
And I have overwhelmingly seen the response from clients being absolutely positive to that boundary being set. The expectations are set by you as the business owner. And I think as a leader in your business, you kind of have to almost set that expectation yourself.
Tavia: Yeah, absolutely. They’ll push it as far as they can. As far as you let them.
Work Towards Your Vision
Tavia: So we’re visualizing our year for 2022. We’re thinking about really maybe everyday, thinking like, “My good week, how does it feel?” I think that that is a great way to go about it is to think about how does it feel, because then, like you said, you can sort of reverse engineer based on that feeling of how do my days feel? How does my week go? How do my months feel? How does my day to day, in my relaxing time, what does that look like? Am I answering text messages? Am I sneaking away to the computer to answer email? Or am I like fully present with the people that I’m around? So sitting down visualizing it and brain dumping it, is that what you would suggest?
Seran: Yes, absolutely. I always find that it’s amazing how things kind of come to life when you get things out of your head and onto paper. And so I encourage you to write this all out, whatever it looks like for you. And once you kind of have it all out of your head on paper, you can kind of see, what you’ve got and you can start to think about, “How can I set goals?” If the plan here is to set goals, how do I set goals based on this vision that I have, right? And you know, what does success look like? So in that vision is the vision that we have. That’s what success looks like for us. And so what does that mean?
What does that mean in terms of things that you need to achieve? I should say things you need to do, activities that need to happen, actions you need to take over the course of the next year for you to be able to reach that vision.
When you’re looking at your vision and you’re thinking about what are you doing and what are you not doing, you can start to perhaps phase out certain things that you don’t want to be doing a year from now.
And that doesn’t mean you have to do it this week. It just means that it’s as old as you think about for the next 12 months. At what point does it make sense to start to perhaps phase that out? Does that mean you have to hire somebody else to do those things? Does that mean that’s an offering you stop doing altogether, or does it mean that it’s the time of the week that you stopped doing and that certain activity? What does that mean?
And again, we tend to think when we plan for the year, it’s interesting, we tend to sort of focus very much on things that we can do immediately and not think about things that they don’t have to all happen in the next two months. You know, this is things that we can think about doing next summer. And then it becomes much more reasonable to be thinking about. And so we want to think about what milestones we need to take to get to that point and what that looks like.
And again, there’s no wrong answer here, right? Everyone’s path is going to be different. And it’s about building a business that works for you for a long time. We’re building long-term businesses here. This isn’t about quick build and quick sell.
We’re building a business that we want to be sustained over a long period of time, and that it’s going to be sustainable for you to be a part of for a long period of time. And so we want to make sure that it’s a business that we enjoy and a business that is fulfilling.
And so focusing on doing some things that we enjoy and perhaps the less things that we don’t enjoy is probably a good place to start. When you’re thinking about what success looks like and how to then figure out what needs to happen in the course of the next year.
Strategize Around the Seasonality of Your Business
Tavia: So good. I love that. I love this perspective of, I’m so, “Let’s start with revenue. And that’s what I’m going to set my goals on.” But I love this idea of looking at it more holistically. So I know that you talk about thinking about your business as seasons. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
Seran: Absolutely. I love this because this is something that for me, I have to say, I had my own business now for almost 12 years coming up. I’d say probably around five years ago is when I actually realized that this was a much smarter way to think about business, especially if this is a business that you’re going to be in for the long term. Because you know, businesses is about seasons. And if you are building a business that you want and you want to be a part of, then there are going to be certain seasons where you are going to be in full growth mode, right? And you’re going to be building and growing and pushing the boundaries and challenging yourself to grow in every way.
But you have to have the balance where you are then thinking about, “Well, let’s just stabilize what we have and figure out how we can perhaps streamline what we have.” And so on a sort of an annual basis, it’s helpful to think about, “When are we going to make perhaps some big changes or changes that feel big.” And perhaps I think about following those periods with periods of stability, where you’re not constantly making big changes and sort of expecting you and your business and your clients to always be keeping up, to think about, “We’re going to do some major overhauls, say two hour packages and the type of services that we offer in January or February.” So then maybe March and April, you kind of let the dust settle and sort of put a bow on it, tie up, make sure everything is good, and there’s no fallout from those big adjustments.
And so, when I work with a lot of the people that I worked with and do my planning sessions with them, I ask them to think about their businesses in this way, because it helps to sort of just take the pressure off that we have to be growing every single month and every single quarter. But also there is a lot of seasonality often in a business anyway. So for my studio owners, it looks like quieter summer. It’s usually busier in the beginning of the year. And so we shouldn’t expect to triple our revenue in August. It’s just a very quiet time. People are away. People take time out of their regular routines. They’re not often at home and they’re traveling. And so they’re not in their studios, they’re not working out as much. So it’s a quieter time.
So let’s use this time in our business to focus on perhaps projects that are going to help us to stabilize, refining some systems, implementing some automations, perhaps preparing for the Fall. You know, whereas the beginning of the year in the fitness and movement and wellness world is a really busy time. So it’s very much focused on growth in that period.
And so when you start to think of your year in that way, and you see these sort of lows and these highs of activity and the perhaps you want to just take time to stabilize, it helps to sort of think about the year, I’d say, in a much more manageable way.
Tavia: Yes. Thank you for saying it that way. That makes so much sense. I love that. And it’s the same for photographers. Baby photographers are a little bit different, because weirdly enough, our busy times are based off of like high conception months, like Valentine’s day, and for some reason, the 4th of July. Whatever is nine months after those dates is always like a baby boom. November is always crazy. And so it’s just interesting for baby and birth photographers, if you think about your business that way and think about, we’re going to have less volatility because we’re not strictly family photographers who are just shooting in October or something like that.
But I love that if you think about, once you come off this ideal year and you brain dumped everything and you start to see like, I do have this time that I want to use for growth and I do have this time that I want to use for maybe bringing in my first hire or VA or editor or something, and then you can look at, when do I want to do those things versus trying to force when things are slower? Like for me, it’s always July, August for the reasons that you just said, people are typically traveling. They’re just like not in their normal routines in the summer, as much as other months. And so if we start to look at what can I do in July and August to do the internal work, to build the systems, to do the things that I didn’t have time for before, instead of trying to like force growth to happen. To be like, why am I not getting the inquiries and just like accepts that that’s a normal thing that happens in that season. I love that.
Seran: Yeah. And my business has seasons, you know, generally. And it’s just smart to think about at the year, especially if you’re in a multi-year business, you’re going to see some trends and it’s not to say that you should always look to be growing year over year. Month to month growth is not always realistic in every industry.
Tavia: Even hearing like month, like July 2021 to July 2020 is a more accurate prediction than July to June and June to May and that kind of a thing.
Seran: Exactly, exactly.
Connect with Seran
Tavia: So good! I love this sort of different holistic approach to 2022 planning. And I think everyone listening is going to love it too. Where can people connect with you?
Seran: Sure. So my consulting company is springthree.com. And you can find me on Instagram @seran_spring_three. So I will send you all those details and you can add them to the show notes.
Tavia: We’ll definitely add them. Thank you so much, Seran! This was great.
Seran: You’re welcome. It’s great to be here. Thank you.
You guys know, I always recommend keeping your notes app open when you’re listening to the show or taking notes afterwards. And I think that what really stuck out to me for my interview with Seran was brain dumping your ideal year. Just like setting a timer for 15, 20, 30 minutes and journaling about one year from now, what does your ideal year look like? What does it feel like? How do you feel day to day and week to week? This is one piece of what she said that I am definitely going to implement. So I hope that you have several, if not at least one takeaway to move into your planning time for 2022, which is like literally my favorite time of year. It’s so fun.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode. And remember if you have a passion, it is not an accident cause not everyone loves the thing that you love. So whatever your passion is, I hope that you get out there and make it happen. Have a great week.