36/250 It is the winter of our content

Cold and loads of fun

When my cashflows lady turned around to me and said, ‘Your business is in a really good place you know,’ I raised an eyebrow.

‘What do you mean?’ I asked.

‘Well,’ she said. ‘You paid all those thousands to the tax office and didn’t even blink.’

Oh yeah, I thought. How about that!

The thousands in question (you don’t need to know how many) were what I call Leftover Soup as a result of last year’s restructure. A small detail got missed and when the ATO gets stabby, it really gets stabby.

When Lou said that to me, it was like someone switched a light on. You can have all the brilliance in your accounting that you like, but until someone makes an off-hand comment like that, you tend to just mooch along.

That’s especially the case when you’re in a kind of self-imposed austerity.

In any case, being able to do this is why I counsel every startup, every business mentee, to put away 30 cents in every dollar from Day 1. That way you never have to worry about a tax bill. Because, frankly, f^ck that kind of worry in the ar$e. Life’s too short.

Which brings me to the notion that if you want to scale your business, you’ve got to become a different person.

Pondering this over the past few weeks, I’ve been wondering what that actually means. For me, it means adding some things and letting some things go.

Like the housework.

And that, friends and fans, is how come I’ve been living in a whirlwind of external chaos for the last three weeks! Exciting projects in my personal life, plus exciting and intense business, means that My Inner Hausfrau sat on the backburner, warming her tushie by the fire, and getting increasingly resentful as the piles of Stuff started to grow.

It’s here that I’m going to stop and acknowledge something. This entire issue of running a household and a business sounds like such a ridiculous thing. It reminds me of whining housewives, of feminist rantings about things that don’t matter. Frankly, I can’t stand it when people bang on about it. Let’s all acknowledge that it can actually get like that, before we move on.

Right, now that this is out in the open, here’s the thing: Today I’m going to become That Thing I Dislike.

It began on Saturday evening. Rocking up to a friend’s house with husband, for a game of Warhammer, I mentioned to my friend (an academic, who was “just sending one more email” at 20:15) that reading Deep Work by Cal Newport would do her the world of good.

‘Ha,’ she retorted. ‘Does he have a wife who looks after the kids and does everything else too?’

Her comment stopped me in my tracks, because I hadn’t even questioned it. My day had been characterised by a full-day dress rehearsal for a dance performance. In which, arriving home at 6.30 pm, was faced with the same jobs that were sitting there when I left: Dishes, cleaning, basics. My friend’s comment touched a burning sore, and for what was probably the first time ever on such a subject, I saw her point.

And I thought, I bet he did, too.

‘I don’t know,’ I replied.

She raised an eyebrow and smiled. The conspiracy began.

But then in thinking about my own life, and how little time I get to myself just to sit and recharge, I realised that even without kids I do 99% of the house things. That’s on top of having hobbies and working long hours. It’s totally unsustainable as more of my attention goes to both work and personal projects that are super important to me.

What is the solution, then? I asked myself. You could spend your weekends and evenings doing housework. Or you could outsource the chores and spend that time focused on things that will make an impact in the world.

Framed that way, I decided that it’s just gotta go. Outsource your life, as they say.

So what has all of this got to do with the Pixie-side of life?

Business and life are interrelated, interwoven. Whatever blocks you on one side will block you on the other.

Since working on the Russian Doll Strategy (which, by the way, is doing awesomely well) and working out a way of gaining space for growth, the blockers began to appear in my personal life.

Yin and yang. As above, so below. Etcetera. It might feel petty and small sometimes, but even the tiniest things can have a huge impact.

It reminded me of a time, many years ago now, in which I sat in a Centrelink seminar that I was forced to go to. A boring woman in a boring room said just one thing that made an impact:

‘Whatever you have in your home life, you take to work.’

That’s why, if you can’t let the little things go at home, you’ll be forever stuck in a loop of Doing Everything at work.

And when you Do Everything, growth is impossible.