Have you ever heard of ‘accidental parenting’? It’s one of my absolute favourite terms because it’s just so true. Accidental parenting is when you do something with your kids as a quick fix to deal with the situation you’re in now – but then you just keep on doing it. (Usually, because it’s the easiest solution.)
Take the example of trying to get your new baby to bed. It’s been a long day, you’re exhausted, and your little one is soooooo tired. But you know that getting them to sleep will be a battle. So you hold them and rock them to sleep. Because it worked, the next night, you do the same. Then by the time they’re six weeks old, they only know how to fall asleep by being rocked in your arms. And before you know it, you’re struggling around the room with a (pretty heavy) 10-month-old in your arms, still rocking them to sleep!
That’s accidental parenting – when you’ve done something that you know might not be the “best” thing to do over and over again, and now it’s a habit. It wasn’t what you set out to do; it just happened. And believe me, I’ve done plenty of accidental parenting. I mean, I have four kids!
What is an “accidental business”?
But how does that apply to your business? Well, we do accidental business all the time.
You do something for a client that’s not what you usually offer, because they’re a good person, and you want to help them out. Or you need a little extra income at the moment. Then that client mentions to one of their friends that you do this, and that friend contacts you looking for the service. So you end up saying, “yes, I can do that,” because you don’t want to offend your initial client, and hey, you can’t turn down work, right?
And before you know it, it’s snowballed. You’re getting more referrals for that type of work, and you’re becoming “known” for it. You’re the go-to person for something you never wanted to do in the first place, and you don’t have time to work with clients or offer the services you’re really passionate about. You’ve built a business, maybe even a thriving business… but it’s not the one you wanted. That’s accidental business.
A few years ago, this happened to me with a business I was running, and things just kept going backwards – further away from the path I wanted, and I didn’t know how to move them forward again. It felt so overwhelming.
Make your business intentional, not accidental
Now I do things differently. Here are three simple steps you can follow to make sure your business stays on the path you want it to:
1. Create a clear vision for your business. How do you want it to look? Who are your customers? How will you help them?
2. Now you’re clear on what you want to do, get intentional! Before you take on any new work, ask yourself whether it fits with that vision. Remember, just because you *can* do something doesn’t mean that you should. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take on work that’s “less than perfect” – it just means that you should have a good reason if you do. That could be paying some unexpected bills or because you’re looking for an opportunity to network with a particular client – as long as you know “why” you’re doing it, and it’s not just “because I was asked to.”
3. Be extremely clear in your communication about what you do. In your marketing, with new clients, with your team members. That way, there’s no confusion about what you help people with and the type of clients you’d like to work with.
Take stock and evaluate your business
It’s time to take stock and switch off the auto-pilot. Do you need to take back control of your business? Take an honest look at everything you’re doing in your business, the clients you’re working with, and how it’s growing.
Then ask yourself, what is it that you actually want to do going forward?
– What is it that fuels you?
– What are the things that truly excite you about your business?
– Why did you start your business in the first place?
And then take those things, and amplify them.
How can you do more of them in 2021? How can you do more of what makes you, you? How can you communicate more clearly to your team members, clients, and audience what you want to accomplish in the world and how you can help?
Start small and build from there. What’s *one* thing you can do today to get more intentional about your business? Reach out and connect with that dream client that you never thought you’d work with? Make a video talking about your signature service and how exactly it can help? Say “no” to an offer of work? Terrifying, I know, but I promise, it’ll be worth it.
That’s how you can fall back in love with your business and make your business feel more like home.
If you want to explore more about creating a business that feels like home, and adding hygge to your business, consider joining the free hygge your business experience – you can find that here.