My current identity crisis

I mean, truthfully, I’m not feeling as dramatic as the title suggests…

But I am having an identity crisis of sorts.

First of all, I’m a mother now, so there are changes in how I think of myself and my purpose in the world. If I’m honest, there’s no crisis there – it all feels really right to me, which is amazing and a relief.

It’s the professional identity that is going through a shift.

I started my business over 5 years ago, back in 2014, and my identity then was a 26-year-old, with very specific experience working at Notonthehighstreet, and a very specific offering to a very specific audience. Which was great – I can honestly say that being specific allowed me to hit the ground running.

In the years since, I’ve tried different things, expanded my business, trained in broader areas, and grown as a human and as a businesswoman. One of the things I changed a couple of years ago was referring to myself as a coach and my work as coaching, rather than as a mentor/mentoring.

Now that I’m returning from the biggest break I’ve had (nearly 8 months!), I’m wondering about this change. I chose to call myself a coach because I got some training and practice as a coach. The majority of the methods I use in one-to-one and group work are coaching. The ethos of coaching appeals: that I’m here to create a positive space for you to discover more about yourself and your way forward – not to dictate it based on my own (limited) experience.

With a broader view of things, I’m looking at my business and seeing that “mentoring” is a word with a more business-focused edge to it. While there aren’t industry-approved definitions, it somehow seems to say “I’ll help you with your business, to help you be the best you can be,” in a way that “coach” doesn’t. Perhaps there are so many coaches around. Perhaps this is just my view right now.

It’s funny: whichever word I choose to use doesn’t actually impact the work I do.

My ability to share experiences and expertise, to encourage, to ask pertinent questions, to share my ethos of business and life – they are all definites. Unchangeable.

I suppose really it’s about marketing: how can I explain what I do in the most effective way?

Perhaps you’ve had similar struggles or thoughts or ideas yourself.

I’m not quite ready to make a decision either way yet. I am ready to experiment with both “coach” and “mentor” in the things I write and share for a little while.

And, of course, I’d love to hear your opinion, too!

What about you? How do you describe your work and role and business? Comment below or join the conversation on Instagram.

Business book recommendations

Just in time for Christmas, here are some of my most-recommended books from recent weeks:

Flow: The Psychology of Happiness by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

A wonderful book – now a psychology classic – on how to create more of that great creative feeling.

Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger

A fascinating memoir by Disney’s CEO. I love reading about how Iger was passionate about maintaining the unique creativity of Pixar – inspiring for even small creative businesses.

Simple Abundance by Sarah ban Breathnach

The most important book of my day-to-day life, I read this pretty much every day. There are short chapters to encourage, inspire and delight, and the new 2019 edition has wisdom on surviving and thriving in the modern world. Love!

This is it. My parting gifts to you!

Well, my friends, I’m officially on maternity leave.

The majority of blogs, Instagram posts and newsletters you’ll see from me over the next few months are scheduled so that I can still share wisdom without interrupting tenuous sleep.

Of course, if you’re still craving more support that’s Jenny-shaped, I have a few options for you.

Progress not Perfection group coaching

My wonderful group of creative business owners continues throughout my maternity leave!

Here’s what you get:

  • A monthly email outlining the retail landscape for the month and helping you to prioritise
  • Monthly live coaching calls to catch up with the group and get some business clarity (kindly hosted by Helen Bottrill of The Creative Business Network while I’m away)
  • Weekly emails with a theme to help you take simple actions and keep your business moving forward
  • A dedicated Facebook group full of lovely people and handy reminders
  • A resource library full of past calls, bonus content and free workshops you can access any time
  • Free or discounted access to my other courses, including Pricing for Profit

It’s just £20 a month, and you can join (or leave) any time. All the content is geared towards helping you make progress in your marketing, money, shopkeeping, products, and keeping things neat and tidy in your studio.

Read more and join here.

Keep up with scheduled content

I’ve spent the last few months writing, scheduling and getting super wise. All of which to say, you can keep up with my newsletter, blog and Instagram feed for free!

There will be some gems from the archives, ideas and inspiration to get you thinking about your business in different ways, and hopefully some fun and games in the mix, too.

The Creative Business Retreat – March 2020

While I don’t know exactly when or how I’m going to be returning to work, I do know that I’ll be back at Pedington Manor for a long weekend in March to do my favourite thing in the whole world: lead my Creative Business Retreat.

There are two places left as I write this. Every single person who came to the 2019 retreat re-booked for 2020 (which feels amazing!) so there are a only a couple of spots open.

If my retreats have appealed to you in the past, this one is set to be extra special. Plus, with so much time before we meet, you can pay in smaller installments every month.

Book your spot here or get in touch about payment plans.

Business coaching

I’ll be back in 2020 with to coach business owners one-on-one.

If at any point in the next few months you feel like you need some support, encouragement and clarity – not to mention depth – you can jump on the waitlist here.

Having wrapped up with several clients in order to take maternity leave, I know this is something I’ll want to pick up again pretty quickly. Why? Because it’s awesome seeing the progress made and attitudes changed!

Join the coaching waitlist now



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