I haven’t always been a minimalist. I think most people who identify as a minimalist can say that. Not only does minimalism apply to your “stuff,” it becomes a way of life. Minimalism gave me the framework with which to approach different aspects of my life, including homeschooling my children and organizing my house. So I really found it refreshing to apply minimalism to my business...
How I Apply Minimalism to My Business
I found that when I started my business, I didn’t have a solid plan so shiny object syndrome set in and my minimalistic mindset went out the door. I signed up for so many opt-in freebies, followed ALL the “gurus”, and bought courses that ended up not being necessary. The one thing that helped, and what I wish I had found sooner, was The Profit Planner Lounge. When I joined, the first thing I did was take Haley Burkhead’s business quiz to determine what phase of business I was in. Once I took the quiz and found I was in the “Grow” stage, Haley provided a roadmap of exactly what to concentrate on in the Grow stage of business. I was immediately more focused on what I needed to do. I shed #ALLTHETHINGS I was doing that wasn’t bringing me a profit (hence the name Profit Planner) and not helping me reach my goal of more profit. And I shudder when I think of all the money and time I spent on all those things.
There is a misconception that one must give up everything. Minimalism will be different for everyone. Minimalism is not organizing your belongings. We know once you organize your belongings, you need to keep organizing them. Shifting things around does not solve debt issues, doesn’t curb your desire for buying more, and certainly doesn’t give you happiness. It gives one “busy-ness”. Minimalism is a preference and has a purpose.
The Minimalism Mindset Shift
As Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist says, “Sometimes, parting with our possessions means giving up an image that we had created in our mind of the person we would like to become. Sometimes minimizing possessions means a dream must die.” Have you ever thought, if money were no issue, what line of work would you be in? Are there dreams you regret not pursuing or not pursuing enough?
Money is not bad, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could make money and do something you love?
If you’re not busy chasing money, you can put your energy into chasing your dreams. Minimalism allows you to be content with what you have, instead of being saddled with debt. Instead, that money you save could be used to follow your dreams.
This was a huge mindset shift for me and a lot of entrepreneurs. When I grew up, I was told to go to college to get a degree so you can get a good job. This really killed any ideas I ever had of becoming an entrepreneur and I think the majority of the population just work for money to support our families and our dreams get pushed aside. Don’t you think if you had a passion for something and you could make $ doing it, it would be more fulfilling than the traditional 9-5 you’re at to put food on the table? I have been introduced to so many entrepreneurs traveling the world working from a cafe in some exotic country. Or in my stage of life, entrepreneurs who sold their homes and belongings and are homeschooling their kids as they travel the country in a RV. You may not have either of those dreams, but not being saddled down by things has such freedom.
Find Your Why in Business and Your Stuff
The first thing before starting your decluttering process is to “declare your why.” It is very important to think WHY you want to start on this journey and what you want to get out of it. As with any journey, you may run low on energy or motivation. It is important to know why you are doing it and review your why when motivation is running low. This is very applicable to why you want to start a certain business. Businesses go through cycles and it is the why that will help motivate and get you through the tough times. Simon Sinek wrote the best selling book Start With Why. He says on his website, “Knowing your Why can help you act with purpose.”
Apply Minimalism to Business Clutter
Start easy, remove duplicates and quickly grab things you initially know you can do without. Clean off your desk. Clean up the files off your computer’s desktop. Use Unroll.me to unsubscribe from the gazillion email lists you’re on. Leave the Facebook groups you never engage in. As an entrepreneur, the electronic space fills your head space and it’s essential to pare down social media and email which are two huge time sucks.
Experiment living with less. If you are not sure about getting rid of certain items, pack things up for a time and test drive living without them. However, always remember one key rule: never declutter another’s belongings without their permission! Start with YOUR workspace first!
Feeling truly adventurous? On her website, Courtney Carver of Be More With Less gives you all the information you need for creating a capsule wardrobe and living with 33 items for 3 months.
As an online entrepreneur and mom, I could live in exercise pants and workout clothes. Do I need a closet of old corporate work clothes just in case? That’s like holding on to your fat clothes after you have lost weight. Get rid of it!
Creating New Habits
Of course, anyone who remembers working to achieve an “A” in school will know the importance (and difficulty) of maintaining your new minimalist “A” lifestyle. Similar to dieting, if after you work hard to lose weight, you revert back to your old habits, the weight will come right back. The same goes for decluttering. If you clean everything out, but your mindset doesn’t change, the “stuff” is going to accumulate once again. Create new habits. Process email immediately. Once you keep surfaces clear, you will find where the clutter gathers. Identify those and work on creating systems or habits to stop those things from gathering. My favorite biz book of all time is High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. Create new habits and you’ll be successful in business and in life.
The Message in Minimalism
Minimalism is about your journey to living an intentional life whether it’s business or personal. When you clear out the clutter, it helps you find yourself. As you apply minimalism to business, it gets you thinking about what you want in life. Are you leading the life you want to live? Are you pursuing your dreams? Start on your own journey to live an intentional life. That is THE MAIN REASON I wanted to start my online business.
If you need help on your decluttering journey, the place to start is Joshua Becker’s online course, Uncluttered. It’s an 12-week course with a private Facebook group. To join go to https://my.becomingminimalist.com/. Joshua posts videos and challenges each week. Members of the Facebook group post before and after pictures of their homes. It is very motivating and the community is very positive and helpful.
“From Clutter to Clarity” by Kerry Thomas talks about physical, digital, mental, emotional, or spiritual clutter that is overwhelming all aspects of your life.
Interested in learning how to organize your business using helpful online tools? You can read more about how I turn Chaos into Organization here, and how having a fully organized online business can be a great asset when looking to hire a virtual assistant.
If you’re interested in more of the psychological aspect of organization, and how to achieve mental and emotional clarity in your business, please read What is Imposter Syndrome and How to Get Over It for some quick mental, emotional and physical shortcuts to gaining confidence and enjoying the moment.
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