Sustainable Growth without the Panic or Push: Adapting to a Changing Business Environment

Johanna came into the Action Circle having just finished my communication training, Put the Mojo in Your Message. Johanna is a Licensed Acupuncturist. At the time she joined, work was really slow. The sign on her office had been stolen a few years earlier, and because she expanded her repertoire beyond traditional Chinese medicine, she wasn’t sure what the new sign should say. She did not have a website. She did not have a business email.

She had been in practice for a long time, over 20 years. When she started, she never had to work to get patients. She was the first acupuncturist in town. But over the years, there was more competition, and she had lost confidence in herself, and in her abilities. New clients were not finding her.

She attributed that in part to the shift from yellow pages to the internet. People were looking online, and because she didn’t have an online presence, new business just wasn’t finding her.  And she felt intimidated and overwhelmed at the prospect of developing that online presence.

In a sense, she’d never had to work on her business before. She’d never had a plan for growing her business. Her biggest business decisions were letterhead and business card. But now, she was having to make a lot more decisions.

The Action Circle gave her a place to ask questions and it provided camaraderie. It gave her people to bounce ideas off of. Johanna found that posting for the week, and checking back was great for her to move into planning. She appreciated the weekly check-ins and our member-led Work Sprints to get focused and into action.

She liked the definition of Priority Project that we use in the Action Circle “A coordinated series of actions that, when completed, move your business forward.  Could be big or small and take one day or one year”.  That flexibility of time and size of a Priority Project gave her the idea to take on the gigantic project of going through her house and organizing paperwork and other piles of things.

Johanna also appreciated the Quarterly Reviews that are part of the Action Circle. It was always hard for her to fill out a full plan for the year, but the Quarterly Reviews made planning less intimidating and more manageable. She found that checking in every quarter, no matter how much she has gotten done, has actually helped her to hold her plans more loosely, but still manage to accomplish quite a lot.

Johanna also really appreciated the support in the Action Circle to focus on self-care and balance. She felt it was ok to scale back, to not have huge projects. That it wasn’t a sign of resistance, or playing small. Just a question of figuring out what was right for her. She felt like she had permission to make things like fixing up her house a priority. That how she lives does affect her business, taking care of clutter and order frees up her mental knots.

Internally, Johanna says she has made the shift  to seeing herself as a business owner and not just a practitioner. She is more mindful about what needs to be done to keep her business healthy. And, she has a lot more confidence that she can learn new things as needed. She feels a sense of peace that she can keep plugging away at her own rhythm. She listens to herself more and trusts what her pace needs to be.

Johanna also said that she has learned a lot about working with resistance. She says, “I’ve learned a lot about how to work with my resistance from one of your teachings.  Breaking projects down into smaller and smaller steps until I find that the resistance dissipates has been VERY helpful for me.  I can take action in one area at a time and go at a pace that works for me.”

Since joining the Action Circle, Johanna now has an online presence. She completed certification in Fertility work and people are starting to find her for that. Her business is busier and her income has at least doubled over the last two years. She loves that the way she is working is sustainable. Without a big effort on outreach, she now has new business coming in on a regular basis..

Here are some key things you can learn from Johanna:

  • Business environments change over time. Like it or not, you will have to update and upgrade what you are doing on a regular basis.
  • Planning doesn’t need to be big, complex, or scary. Find some simple ways to create an inspiring plan and to check in regularly on how you are moving forward.
  • How you take care of yourself and your environment affects how you show up in your business. If it feels right, make taking care of those things a priority and part of your business planning.

You can learn more about Johanna and her work here: