Unless you live on a desert island with no internet or Netflix (and if so, can I visit you?), you’ve probably seen, or at least heard of, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix.
In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, Marie Kondo is a professional organizer and the author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
In each episode of the show, she helps her clients declutter their spaces by walking them through a very specific order of categories, and keeping only items that “spark joy,” or that truly make them happy
This show is inspiring people across the world to take a closer look at their possessions so they can cultivate an environment that truly sparks joy for them.
I blew through this series in no time and immediately organized my closet, thanking the items I was passing on and loving what I decided to keep. I love the philosophy of hanging onto what “sparks joy” in our lives and eliminating the rest.
This concept stayed with me and I found myself unexpectedly thinking about it and how it relates to all aspects of our life, personally and professionally. Here are some of my thoughts about how it relates to business.
Does Your Business Spark Joy?
This actually dovetails nicely with my word for 2019, Purposeful.
My intention for this year is for everything I own and everything I do to have purpose, in both my business and my life.
So I took a good, hard look at my business to see what was actually sparking joy for me and what needed to go. I decided to add a new team member, donate some books, finish a couple of courses I had purchased and even pruned my client list.
Your turn. What about your business sparks joy for YOU?
Get really honest with this question for a minute.
- What activities do you dread doing?
- Which parts of your business actually make you excited, and which do you just wish someone else would do for you?
- How much of your businesses doesn’t spark joy?
- How much are you holding onto because you think you should?
- Are you saying “yes” to projects you really don’t want to do?
- Is your business heading in a direction that just doesn’t do it for you anymore?
Let’s go through some different elements of your business and see what sparks joy and what just doesn’t, even if it did at one point.
How to Declutter Your Business
One thing I love about Marie Kondo’s method is that she follows a specific order of item categories to declutter, from easiest to declutter to hardest. That way, her clients get practice with knowing what sparks joy before they get to the difficult stuff.
I’ve followed the same idea here, from the things that are easiest to outsource or eliminate in business to the pieces that are the hardest to let go of if they don’t spark joy for you.
Social Media Accounts
Are you just sick of some social media platforms? Are you on any just because you think you should be, even though you hate it and it really isn’t helping your business?
Let them go!
Either delete them or find a way to reduce the time you spend on that platform through automation or outsourcing, depending on whether it makes sense for your business to be on that platform.
If you really don’t like a marketing activity, chances are, it’s not providing great returns anyway. Because let’s face it: you probably aren’t doing it, or you’re half-assing it at best.
If you really hate guest posting, stop doing it.
If you hate marketing on social media, cut back, systematize, or outsource it.
Or if you never blog and hate doing it, hire a content writer or figure out a different way to do content marketing.
Take that stuff off your plate and stop beating yourself up for not doing it.
Services and Products
Are you offering products or services you just aren’t wild about anymore? Do you hope no one will ask you about that one service? Get rid of it! If that product or service doesn’t fit you anymore, out it goes. I am certain that you learned something from it so be sure to thank it for its service.
Retire those old courses and info products that don’t mesh with your business. Clear out those services that you hate doing but are still in your package listings for some reason.
Your business won’t grow if you keep doing stuff you don’t like, because you won’t put in the effort necessary to make it successful. If you love what you’re doing, you’ll want to tell everyone about it! And isn’t that the heart of marketing?
Do your clients spark joy, or do you have a few that you kinda dread working with? Do you say “yes” to clients you don’t really want to work with because you need the money? Perhaps your business has grown in a direction that no longer fits how you have been working with them.
List out your clients and what you like about each of them, and what you wish were different. You might find that you need to change a few things. Maybe you just need to raise your prices with some clients or set some boundaries in order to enjoy working with a client.
Or maybe you need to let a client go.
This is one of the hardest areas to face, because let’s face it, clients are our lifeblood whether it is through purchasing our products or working directly with them. That’s where the money comes from, and it’s scary to risk losing them, even if you want to bang your head on your desk every time you see their name in your inbox or on your caller id.
I’ve had clients that stressed me out so much that it just wasn’t worth it to work with them, for whatever reason, and I had to either break up with them or seriously reduce our hours together.
But you know what? That freed up so much time to work with clients I LOVE and to do what I enjoy in my business. It’s scary to declutter your client list, but it’s so worth it!
TIP: Be sure to take a look at why you feel stressed. Yes, it may be a personality clash. It could also be that you've simply outgrown the way that you've worked with them up until now. This will help you determine who you do want to work with and how.
Same rule as clients. If you wouldn’t have lunch with them, you probably shouldn’t be working together. If dealing with them just stresses you out, it might be time to find a new team member.
Do you have any team members that you just aren’t jiving with, or who aren’t working out and you don’t want to admit it?
Note: It’s normal for things to be bumpy when you first start working with someone, so if you’re in the early stages of your working relationship, you might need to just give it some time. If you like this person and there are just a few communication issues, that can be fixed. Go with your gut here.
I’ll be the first to admit it: Letting go of team members isn’t fun, but you might not have to let them go at all. If there are problems, have a talk with them to see what’s going on. You never know what’s going on in their life that could be affecting their work, or maybe you just aren’t communicating as well as you think you are, causing wires to get crossed somewhere.
Do what feels right.
Can you think of anything else in your business that doesn’t spark joy for you? That's the stuff to outsource or eliminate.
REMINDER: Be sure to thank anything and/or anyone that you're letting go of. This can be something you do in your own space, between you and the Universe. Thank it/them for what you've learned and how you've been able to grow through having it/them as part of your journey. This, in my opinion, is a very powerful part of the process.
Some things, like accounting, don’t spark joy for most people, but you really can’t eliminate it. That’s why we hire accountants! Use the list you’ve created to identify parts of your business that don’t make you happy, and ask yourself whether they’re necessary to your business. If they aren’t, nix them. If they are, outsource.
Want someone else to handle the pieces you don’t love? My team can help! I can help you get organized and streamlined, and when you hire me, you’re getting my strategy and management skills plus the power of a team.