Suffering from burnout led to my dream small business

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Rachel Service calls herself the ‘Happiness Concierge’. Why? She helps people to get the most out of life by teaching them how to manage boundaries, say no and show them how to get noticed at work without burning themselves out.

Following a series of burnouts, bouts of depression and anxiety, Rachel decided enough was enough. She took a break to get her life and health back on track. Then she started her small business the Happiness Concierge in 2015.

Rachel says, “I had burned myself out three times. The third time, I had bought a ticket to New York to attend a Beyoncé concert. I thought (seeing her live) would make me feel better. But I ended up bursting into tears throughout the entire concert. I realised that I had to re-evaluate every aspect of my life. My definition of success was working as hard as possible and I wanted to change that. So, I started writing a blog about it. People asked me to share my tips. I started talking running ‘anti-burnout’ workshops. And that’s how my business was born. It was a personal development journey.”

Rachel had previously worked for a decade in the Public Relations industry. “I loved my job so much to the point where I didn’t stop working. (Some) people do genuinely love their jobs and it’s a great characteristic to have. But it’s just about managing your boundaries,” she says.

Happiness Concierge run workshops across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore through the General Assembly network or at individual workplaces.

“My goal in 2017 is to launch my online programmes and look at franchising out my workshops. However, the only issue with that is I have a very unique style of presenting. In order to achieve what I wanted, I have to make sure I hire people who are similar to me or have similar presentation skills. I am currently on the lookout for unusual rock stars with fantastic presentation skills,” she adds.

Rachel runs workshops across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore

Happiness Concierge is based in Melbourne but takes Rachel interstate regularly and around the world. She travels to Queensland four times a  year, Singapore twice yearly and Sydney every fortnight.

She adds, “My dream was to travel regularly. But I still absolutely prioritise the important things in life. Someone once told me that ‘life is like a juggle but some juggling balls are made of glass’ and those glass balls are health, family and friends. I always try to remember that.”

Rachel continues, “One challenge that I faced was telling myself that I deserved all the good things that came my way. I thought I had to suffer to make money. I thought I had to work super hard, break myself to earn a living. But I realised that I didn’t have to.”

Rachel asks “What inspires you?”

She says that once she started getting paid for her work through the Happiness Concierge she almost didn’t feel like she deserved the money.

“I realised getting paid is how you create a business,” she says. “When you create something, you spend a lot of time alone. A lot of time with your own thoughts.” Rachel points out that it is important to surround yourself with people regularly as it can be very easy to isolate yourself from the world.

Rachel’s best small business advice?

Tip 1: “Get your clients first and worry about the rest later. It can be tempting to make everything perfect before you go out and pitch your services. But the truth is unless you have clients, you won’t have a business. Ask advice from people whose shoes you would like to be in. Often it can be easy to reach out to people in your immediate network to ask for advice. For example, I’d like to speak in New York and San Francisco at the end of this year. So, I’ve reached out to someone who is doing that in New York and someone who is speaking nationally.”

Tip 2: “Reflect on your accomplishments regularly. Stop and acknowledge the great work you have done so far. You tend to get so caught up in thinking ‘what if’ or ‘I could’ve done this’.

Sometimes you just need to stop and pat yourself on the back. I always use the word ‘yet’. If you’re feeling stuck always think: I don’t know how to do that YET’. It doesn’t mean you won’t know how to do it. It just means you haven’t aced it yet. Always reach out to someone before you feel stuck or flat and talk about it. Managing your mental health on your own initiative is a full-time job. It’s something I struggle with every day.”

“I had to change my definition of success”

Many small business owners love the idea of running their own business simply because of the freedom that it entails. For Rachel being her own boss is about working to achieve your ultimate best.

She adds, “I like that I’m working to my highest value and that I’m charging per outcome versus hours of work. If an organisation approaches me, I pitch an outcome. Then I give them my best in terms of tips, tactics and inspire people as opposed to selling to them that I’ll do 20 hours at a certain price. What that means is you can pitch yourself at a higher number because you’re working at the top 10% of your capability. Remind your boss you’re working to outcomes as opposed to hours.”

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