How can we let go of hustle culture as a small business owner? How do we set boundaries when we absolutely love what we do and we believe it’s making an impact? Is it possible to quit social media as a business owner? How do we manage our time when everything feels so urgent?
We’re talking about it all in this episode, which is part 2 of my conversation with Saskia de Feijter — the founder of Ja Wol and the host of the podcast, A Smaller Life.
Links From This Episode:
- Building Better Business Circle
- (Book) Do Less: A Revolutionary Approach to Time and Energy Management for Ambitious Women by Kate Northrup
- Alice Karolina of The Ethical Move
- The 80,000 Hours Podcast with Rob Wiblin
- Feel Better, Live More with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee
This Episode Was Brought To You By:
Green Eco Dream, a sustainably-minded marketplace with eco-conscious alternatives for your health, home, beauty, and on-the-go needs.
Check out Green Eco Dream’s collection of low waste, low impact laundry essentials to help make your loved clothes last!
Listen to This Episode:
Tune in to this episode of the Conscious Style Podcast below, or on your favorite podcast app
Read the Transcript From This Interview:
Hey everyone! So this is part 2 of my conversation with Saskia de Feijter — if you haven’t listened to part 1 — which is episode 62 — you might want to go back and do that first, since we referenced some things that we talked about in part one in this upcoming episode.
But to remind you or catch you up, in part one, Saskia and I started talking about mindful entrepreneurship and building a values-based business. And here in part two, we’re diving a bit deeper.
We talk a lot about hustle culture, in this conversation and this sort of glamorization of working all the time that we see, in our culture, at least me speaking from the US, I think hustle culture is quite prevalent. I do see it shifting a little bit as we come out of the pandemic, but definitely is very much still a thing.
And when I first started my business, it was a side hustle. And in that name, you can see that there was definitely hustle involved. And I think that to some extent, this might be necessary in the sense that you have to maybe make enough money at a full-time job. And you still want to build your business that might not be making any money at all, but requires some sort of upfront investment of your time.
So I’m not talking about hustle culture being harmful in that sense, because perhaps, for a short period of time, you may need to do what you need to do to fulfill your dreams. And I think that’s okay. But I think that we need to set boundaries around that and not keep our business operating as a hustle forever.
So even when I went full-time in my business, I figured out to quit my job, I still felt this, like need to work all the time. And there were always a million ideas that I had, and it was just wanted them to happen.
And there’s always someone more successful than you, who has more traffic, more followers, maybe has more sales, if you’re running a fashion brand, whatever it might be, there’s always more to be done.
And at one point, I realized I did not quit my nine-to-five job only to work 24/7. And I did not leave this job where I was so upset that I only had 10 vacation days, only to basically employ myself in a job that I gave myself zero vacation days, like I was my own worst boss sometimes.
And when we are building sustainably minded businesses, maybe you’re trying to start a slow fashion brand, or clean beauty brand, or a sole fashion styling brand, or you want to freelance and work for consciously minded brands and businesses like, we obviously care about sustainability, we also have to think about personal sustainability, because burnout is a real thing.
And it can be really, really challenging to sort of separate what is necessary versus not in our business and find this balance, where we’re not working all the time. But we are doing what’s important in our business so that we’re able to make enough money to support ourselves, and also perhaps a team.
And we’re honestly up against a lot in this economy of so many mega-corporations. As a small business, it can be very difficult to not feel like you have to constantly be spinning your wheels just to keep up.
But I wanted to share a few things that have been helpful for me on my journey with stepping away from hustle culture. And this is still very much a journey. I’m not perfect at this, just want to put that out there.
But I still want to share these things, because I think that they can be helpful for some of you, I hope at least. So one is the 80/20 rule. So this is sort of the theory that 20% of your efforts are driving 80% of the results.
So just take stock of all of the things that you do in your business, whether that’s your freelancing business, or your brand, or whatever it might be. And then look at your business goals. So is that traffic to your website, is that clients, is that sales, whatever it might be. And then look at where those sales or, where those clients or, where that traffic is coming from.
And quickly becomes clear that not all of your efforts are driving results.
So for me, I run a media website. And so I can pretty easily see on Google Analytics, or you can use any other analytics platform, I can see where my traffic is coming from. And I can see that literally 80% of the traffic is coming from search engines. And I probably spend 20% of my sort of website related time on search engine optimization. So it’s pretty interesting.
So maybe there’s an area of your business that you can think a little bit about that and maybe start to cut the things that aren’t exactly driving results. And then the second advice that I heard that was really useful for me, was from the simplified retail model masterclass that I took the summer.
And there was a session where we talked about separating the things that you have to do, the things that you want to do, and the things that you feel that you should do. So, obviously, in life, or in our businesses, there are things that we just have to do, like pay taxes, no matter how much we hate accounting, we cannot avoid doing our taxes.
And then there are things that we want to do. So these are things that light us up, things that this is like our purpose, this is where we feel in our zone of genius. It energizes us, all that good stuff.
And then finally, there are things that we feel that we should do. Technically, we don’t have to do them. And we don’t really like doing them. But somehow we feel like we should do them.
For me, this is TikTok. So I have been feeling like I should get on TikTok, that’s where everybody is. But it just, it doesn’t feel like it doesn’t let me up. It doesn’t energize me actually just thinking about it kind of drains me. And technically, I don’t have to do it, right? I mean, who’s forcing me to get on TikTok? So maybe one day, I’ll change my mind. And I’ll genuinely be excited about getting on TikTok, and then I’ll do it. But for now, it’s not something I want to do something I feel like I should do.
And the concept behind separating the need to, or have to, want to, and should to is that the more we sort of prune out the shoulds from our business, and potentially if we can hire other people to help us with the need tos that don’t light us up, that are potentially more in their zone of genius, the more that we can do this, we can build a business that’s most aligned with our purpose in life. And that really lights us up and feels personally sustainable.
And then the third and final sort of piece of advice that has helped me resist a hustle culture, or sort of let go of this hustle mentality is embracing the concept of energy management.
So this is something I learned from the book Do Less by Kate Northrup, the book is advertised for working moms. But really anybody can benefit from it. I’m not a mom and I had a lot of takeaways from my own life.
And one of those takeaways was about energy management. And so for those of us who might be menstruating, thinking about the menstrual cycle, or for anyone who’s not menstruating, thinking about the moon cycle. And we can also even think about the seasons, winter, spring, summer, fall, how they have different energies, and not expecting ourselves to like always be at the same energy level, right?
We’re not always going to feel like getting out there networking, public speaking, interviewing people going on Instagram lives, making dancing videos, for Reels, or whatever it might be. Sometimes we’re going to feel more reflective and inward. Sometimes we’re going to feel really excited about starting things. Other times we’re going to be more in tune with completing things depending on where we are.
There’s obviously so so much more to that that it can’t possibly fit into this short introduction of the episode. So I do recommend checking out that book or searching Kate Northrup in your podcast app. Kate has been on a lot of podcasts. That’s actually how I first found out about her in this book.
But anyway, my point here was that you don’t have to always be on right you don’t always have to be going at 100% I think that is a shortcut to burnout actually. So just give yourself some Grace in the process, you’re not a machine, you’re human things happen. Your energy isn’t the same every day. And that’s okay, that’s actually a gift because your energy is different and you can bring different sides of yourself to your business depending on where you are.
And we talked a little bit about that in this episode as well. But I’ll link that book in the episode description so you can check it out if you’re interested in learning more about energy management and aligned with your cycle and your business and all that good stuff.
But now on to this conversation, part two with Saskia.
So in part one Saskia and I left off talking about the journey of building a business. So we’re going to pick up with that and talking about the connections between starting or running a business and personal development…
Yeah, there’s a my favorite like business podcast is Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield, and she talks about how having a business is like the biggest self-growth project or like a self-development project.
You just learned so much about yourself and she also talks about how your business kind of grows with you so like, if you sort of are in a certain place in your mindset, like your business can only you have so much impact for instance.
Or a certain chapter in your life when you are, I don’t know when you’re studying or just having kids or when you’re going through menopause and just seeing some things that really your place in your life reflects on your business and being open to the possibilities that that creates.
When I had small children, I was in the conceptual phase a lot like everything was in my head. I was psyching myself up for the time that was coming when I would be ready to actually start working and doing the work.
So I wouldn’t go into that rumination mode, I would really just have one idea after the next and it would help me think through those ideas before I even started them. So I’m kind of contradicting myself here. But that was what was given to me at that point and I was making the most of it.
Whereas now I’m more of a let’s try this, let’s workshop this. If it doesn’t work, we’ll do something else. And it can all work but just focus on what you have in a certain moment in your life.
Yeah, no, just one quick point about the contradiction. I mean, that’s what I love about podcasting, like a conversation is that, even within the same conversation, I might contradict myself, a guest might contradict themselves, different guests might like sort of have opposing sort of views if you look at it on paper, but when you’re talking, you get more into someone’s thought process and like you realize things are so, so much more complex.
And that’s something about social media that were like you have to take social media with a grain of salt.
This is also something that Kestrel touched on in the slowing down media episode of just like using it as maybe a launching pad or a base of inspiration but not taking it as the end all be all. Like the education shouldn’t start and end on social media because it’s so oversimplified.
And it has to be there’s only 10 carousels or Reels are only 90 seconds like I was sharing like a video clip from a previous episode and I was like it’s so hard to like cut down something to 90 seconds even. You know that’s the longest you can do a Reel for and probably most people don’t even stay on the reel that long.
Yeah, it takes 7 hours to get to that point if you really want to tell a story.
Yeah, like long form media just opens up so much more capacity.
Yeah, exactly. But what we’re asking of our members, followers, customers, audience, what we’re asking of them is to again, choose. Like you could either spend an hour scrolling and not really getting something from that except for maybe a color that you like, or like, an appetite for a latte because you’ve seen seven in your scrolling.
I know I’m making a little bit of fun out of it. But in the end, what I got from six months without social media is hours in a day. At least one hour, but sometimes more. And in that time, I now love the long-form media. Like I read a lot more newsletters.
And not all newsletters are like webshops with just products. There’s different kinds of newsletters. And that’s something I like to talk to small business owners about as well. What can you offer people to really show them who you are as a business?
And like places like Medium where you can read stories or articles and have a little bit more time and a little bit more deepness to the information that you are inhaling. So that just gives me more and a lot less overwhelm.
So I keep coming back to knowing what your values are, choosing, and being okay with not knowing everything. Because even if you are online 24/7, you’re gonna miss so much. So it’s again, it’s like the laundry never stops. Stop it by not washing your clothes that much, which is better for the environment.
Right, right, you have to set some sort of boundary. Like ok, I’m only doing laundry once a week. Well, that inevitably means that you’re gonna have to wash less, because you’ve just like set up that boundary.
Same with social media. I’m trying to not go on on weekends, so that at least there’s space, because it’s so addictive. It’s like shopping. Social media is just as addictive as like consumerism and shopping and all these things. It’s this…
You can decide that you don’t want to be that person. Like you said before, can I ask you something? You said, I don’t want to click on my mail app.
Have you thought about just not having mail on your phone at all?
I heard that in a podcast and I was like [gasp].
The host said that they did that. And then like, the guest was like, oh my gosh, you know, good for you. But I just had a mini panic like thinking about are the same. I was like I don’t think I could do that.
And I was like, shoot. I’m really hooked to email like, I should be able to do that. Like there was a time.
It’s not healthy, is it?
It’s not how not that long ago where there wasn’t even such a thing as an email app on our phones. Even 10 years ago!
I mean how did we got addicted so fast. I mean, there’s like, dozens, if not hundreds of people at these tech companies literally designing these apps to be addictive.
And I’ve taken a step by turning off email notifications, a couple years ago, but yeah because like as soon as I stopped and said ok, I’m not gonna scroll social media in the morning — that was a boundary that I set — or in the evenings. What do I do? I open up my email app.
Yeah. This is what happened to me when I got off social media, what I would do is like open Pinterest, as a reaction, but that went away because I got really annoyed by the amount of advertisements on Pinterest.
They’ve been increasing the ads a lot which since they went public, they went public last year or two years ago, they went public. And Pinterest has changed a lot and I don’t like it as much since they’re on the stock market. But anyway…
Yeah, I like being a little bit of a punk. So getting off of Twitter years ago, then getting off of Facebook when everybody called me mad like you need it for your business when are you doing? I’m like, no, I didn’t need it.
And then Instagram and everything else, and it didn’t hurt me one little bit, okay, I got my, I got my feeds, like printed in photo books. So it’s not gone, I can like really see what I posted, which I love.
Yeah, I listened to one of your podcast episodes where you talked about that. And I was like oh that’s a nice idea.
Yeah I haven’t really done that. So just the idea that it’s there is enough for me, I keep in touch with the people I wanted to keep in touch with. I just took my bullet journal actually and wrote down a couple of the contacts that I’ve made on Instagram that I won’t be able to meet anywhere else.
I invited people to write me letters, and I would write them letters. I actually only have one pen pal from that. But it’s really fun.
So you can actually decide these things. And I had 7000 followers, for some people, that’s not a lot. For other people, that’s a huge amount of people to “throw away”.
I didn’t though. I invited them to follow me in my community or to subscribe to my newsletters a couple of times, because people, only like a small percentage of people actually see what you post. So I made that into a whole thing.
And then if people decide that they don’t want to get my newsletters, then they’re not my audience. It’s as simple as that. So it was like just ripping up the band aid and no pain whatsoever.
Yeah, yeah, no, social media is such a numbers game. This is something that I haven’t had to like train my brain on. And this idea of like, fewer better is something we talk a lot about in slow fashion. Not like, you know, okay, 35,000 Instagram followers on the @consciousstyle account.
It looks like a big number, but like do 35,000 people see every post?
No, and even the people who see the post, how much time do they spend on that post?
Whereas my newsletter is a much smaller amount of people. But it has 40 to 45% open rate. So I know that almost half of the people I send it to are opening it and maybe not everybody’s reading every word.
They’re invested in your work.
Right. Also the quality of the audience, it’s not just the numbers. And you can’t control the social media algorithms, you can’t always control how many people see it. And so I’m really trying to like diversify, I guess.
I still do rely on Instagram to an extent but I don’t want to be so reliant on it.
Yeah, no, I just think it’s I’m not saying — I even teach people how to use social media, because it’s not, like I said, before, you run your business according to your values. Who am I to say what you what your values are?
And within marketing and communication, social media is a force to be reckoned with. So I will be honest and transparent about my own opinion about it. But we also do a social media challenge, where some people that are a little bit apprehensive of showing who they are that we kind of learn how to do that together.
So it’s not that I’m saying — well, personally, I feel that we don’t need it and we should all focus on a better way of communicating with a smaller audience that is more invested. Because it would be less energy-sucking, less overwhelming, and better for everybody.
But seeing as that is not the case yet, we can kind of find middle ground first and then move into what feels right for us. And yeah, there’s so many different tools to use.
And the best thing let me just say this: the best thing is when somebody tells another person, how much they love your product, your service, your podcast, and that is so easy to do. Like that doesn’t cost anything.
Just tell your friends and knitters are notoriously solitary animals, like their knitting circles, but not everywhere. A lot of people knit and they don’t have any friends that knit. So just sharing it with whomever — is just that is just very important. And also supporting businesses through their pain points and whatever.
Yeah, for sure, for sure. That’s been something that I’ve learned as I started a podcast, I’m like, oh my gosh, it’s so much work, it’s so much effort. So much like heart and soul and time. And…
That’s so important!
…sometimes tears, go in.
So now when I like a podcast, I like rate and review it. I’m like, I know how much work you put into this. I’m gonna like, rate and review your show, because it’s bringing value to me. And it’s sort of like a reciprocity.
Yeah yeah. Everybody that’s listening now go rate and review this podcast. No, it’s like a gift you get right? When you, when you rate and you…
No, it means so much, yeah.
Oh, it means the world. And not a lot of people actually do it. Because listeners think that oh, other people will do it. But they don’t. They were all like you. So they’re all like, No, I’m actually drinking my coffee.
Yes, I know, just take four minutes, maybe one minute, and just say that you love it or that, you know, a better one. Always be honest, but better just share the rights and the good stuff, right? It really helps us.
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s definitely something like, I’ve, of course, you can’t always join every, for instance, Patreon of every creator, you know, you might not have the budget for that. But that’s just something that I’ve been getting, trying to like be better…
Like, if I really like what a creator is doing like, if they have a Patreon, supporting that, again, I can’t support every creator because of course, there’s a budget constraint.
But just like this reciprocity. Where just instead of just this take, take, take of like in our culture and society and bringing back more just like this, like, give and take of like, okay, if I’m taking their knowledge, maybe even using it in my own work, I need to give back in some way.
Liking their posts, sharing their posts, yeah, giving their podcast a rating or review, maybe financially supporting them if I’m in the position to do so.
Or even just for a short while, if you feel like just one month or something if that is like a tip, right? And again, not everybody has that budget, and you don’t need it. It doesn’t have to cost anything, everything helps.
If I write a review, and somebody that can afford to do that reads the review and starts supporting through, let’s say Patreon. Then you have made that happen. There is a future connected to your actions.
And I don’t actually remember where I’ve heard or read it like in a podcast about I don’t remember, but I cannot think of it right now. But this person said, if you drop a glass on the ground, let’s say outside and it breaks, do you feel like you need to clean it up?
Knowing that in the future, like tomorrow, or 30 years from now, or even longer, somebody might cut themselves on that glass, you know that you need to do something about that, right?
The future matters. The things that you do right now, they really matter. And I think living a conscious life and wearing conscious fashion. This is really what you’re doing. You’re sending a message into the future. And sometimes it feels like you’re not doing much like we’re going to hell anyways. We all feel that but just…
Yeah, the ripple effect. I try to think about that because it can be hard, you feel like you’re in an echo chamber sometimes and then I’ll get a comment that’s like, Oh, I’ve learned so much from you. And I was like, oh, okay, because like sometimes I just feel like I’m talking to myself.
That’s just like, so reassuring. Or, like, you know, someone’s saying, like, I’ve struggled with like, how to talk to my friends about this, but this and this helped.
You’re reaching so many people. Maybe you see that, okay, you only have 500 followers on Instagram or like 100 newsletter subscribers or 100 podcast listeners, whatever it is. But like those 100 people if you’re like coming from your heart and your soul and you’re making an impact with this fewer better idea those 100 people then can like talk to five people in their lives or just like maybe they go about some decision differently.
Maybe they support this small business, develop a relationship with this small business, maybe they start their own small business. Maybe they get involved with their local government or just a local group or whatever.
Yeah, it all helps.
And they can further the ripple effect, it’s not just you. We’re all interconnected. Where I just find that concept so beautiful…
It’s hope-giving, isn’t it? My across-the-street neighbor, people are starting to see me as this. I don’t know, they are kind of stamping me with “sustainable person”, while I am just a normal person, right?
I love driving. And that is something that is really complicated for me, because I always wanted to be a rally driver. And I have come to a part of my life where we can actually sometimes do that. And I don’t do it. I have done it now twice in a year and a half. So not really coarsely polluting, but it’s not good for the environment.
But I’m just a person, this is a part of a dream that I had that I tried to do. Try to not go crazy, but also enjoy life. And I’m not driving a car for the rest of the week. Our family car is an electric car. Let me just put it out there before getting hate mail!
I drive once a week, and I now have my dream car that I dreamed of as a young girl. And I just, I want to share these kinds of things. Because none of us are perfect, but we can do a lot of things that make a really big difference.
Because people see me like that, they come up to me and they start conversations. And my neighbor, she said, I really want to buy sustainable boots, but I don’t know where. And I was like, okay, right.
And then I just went home, I did some research, I sent her some websites, and she ended up buying two sets of really good boots that will last her like a long time. She probably didn’t need to buy two pairs…
Progress! We’re making progress.
I was happy with the result.
Maybe she would have bought five in a different world…
Yeah, you don’t think people are listening or paying attention, and then I’ll get a question like, so what’s the most sustainable way of this? Or where do I send my clothes that I don’t want anymore?
And like, oh, this is an opportunity to talk about unjust global secondhand trade or like the unethical working conditions and buying fewer better — and I didn’t even know you’re paying attention to that.
So you never know who’s listening, who’s paying attention, you will be making more impact than you think. Because back to our point, not everybody tells you when you’ve made an impact, right? How many people listen to podcast or read a post and impacts their lives and they never let you know? How many times have I done that? Have we done that?
Like you read an article I’m like, oh, wow, it gets you thinking but you don’t necessarily leave a comment or email the writer every time. So you just never know.
And so I think it’s just always, just like to keep in mind like living my values, living in a way that it’s like, not in a sense of being perfect but just living in a way that if everybody lived like that we could create like a healthier, better world. And again, not being perfect!
Yeah, And some might be listening to this conversation and emailing you about how can I make my dream car electric for less money?
Yeah, I found that like, letting some things go is especially if you’re living with other people who don’t always, aren’t as maybe into the thing with sustainability as you are, saving some anxiety saving some fights actually opens up a bit more space to maybe drive more impact.
Like you can’t worry about absolutely everything and I would get so stressed if you know one thing of single-use plastic or this or that and it’s like, okay, chill, you’re doing the best that you can.
Sometimes if you worry too much about the little things you miss the big picture.
You don’t have any space left for the bigger impact things if we’re worrying what every single tiny little choice…
And how can you sustain a sustainable lifestyle? It’s like with oh my god, I can talk for days…
But it’s like with foods, if you need to be on a certain diet for your health, then sometimes in order to sustain that lifestyle, you have to be able to sometimes go away from it a little bit, right?
Like a lot of situations that can happen. But it’s the first thing that comes to mind right now. I love researching the things that I need to buy. Because it just gives me more knowledge, and that is a kick for me. So I love the process.
But I think lots of people think it’s such, it’s a lot of work. And where do I start? And where do you start? Just find a piece of parts of your life that you enjoy, like crafting or cooking, or fashion. And then go from there — just focus on that small part.
And then you learn more and more on how to make better choices. And then it will kind of also on the ripple effect, it will go into the rest of your lives. And looking to neighbor’s, and some people make decisions that I don’t understand.
But I will keep telling or talking about the decisions I make and why I make them and then hopefully, some bells start ringing.
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And as we sort of round out our conversation here, this has been fantastic. And we’ve gone on so many tangents, but I loved it. And it was really flowing.
But I just wanted to talk to you a little bit about hustle culture and entrepreneurship. And something we were talking about before is time management and how you talk about time management with your business circle.
And I think there’s this idea that if you’re entrepreneur, especially if it’s a social impact, and you feel like your identity is almost woven into your business. When you’re an entrepreneur, your business is like part of you. It’s like birthing something. Like I’ve never given birth but I’ve heard that comparison a lot.
SASKIA[Laughs] It’s less painful, but yeah.
ELIZABETH[Laughs] But it’s like part of you. It’s like your DNA woven into it. And then on top of that, if you have the impact and you want to make a difference, you feel like you have to work all the time.
Because it’s part of you, it’s your identity, it’s how you find your worth in the world, you care about it so much. And of course, on top of that you want to make it financially sustainable, so you can actually live off of it and maybe not have to go back to the your desk job or whatever it is.
So how can we like combat this hustle culture as entrepreneurs in conscious space?
I think it just boils down to living a sustainable life is treating yourself right. And you cannot sustain your business, your dream, your vision, if you are unhappy, unhealthy. If you are tired, you cannot get great ideas, you will be sluggish when you want to type your copy, which are very important.
So I really believe in something that is almost boring, but taking care of yourself is the way to go. And boundaries that you set before. I just put down literally on paper and people can do that digitally. I do both.
Time blocking that really works for me. Whenever my life kind of shifts, when the kids go to high school, I have a different schedule of exercising, whenever something shifts, I make a new time-blocking schedule. It’s basically just the days of the week, the hours of the day.
And I take three or four highlighters. One for self-care, which could be either mental self-care could be journaling, talking to a coach, it might be a therapist or something like that. And then physical, working out yoga, whatever, that is one. And then there’s family time I kind of mix with time off, because they kind of intertwine for me a lot of the time. And then working time.
So I use three colors. And I come from the angle of what I need as a person first, and then I look at the time that I have left to work.
I’ve learned about myself that I am most productive from about 11 to 1. It’s not long time, but that’s my peak, right? So it’s not that I work two hours a day, but that’s my peak. So I cannot exercise at night. At night, my brain is tired, I just want to kind of be a potato. And then I kind of look like a potato now that I come to think of it.
So when I actually want to do some exercising, it has to be in the morning. So it makes sense for me again, take some time to learn to know yourself. It makes sense for me to do the exercising in the morning, and then have a good healthy lunch or brunch, usually my case. Or I do a small breakfast, and then a healthy lunch. And then I work for a couple of hours.
And then I try to not finish too late. If I forget to drink water in that period or if I forget to get up from my desk, I start feeling like I have a headache. I feel nauseous. All of that I noticed because having to deal with the heart rhythm issues, I had to learn to listen to my body. And I kind of forgot all about that.
Listening to my body was not something I did for the longest time. And now I do and I really react to it. And it really helps. So I try to work — I want to work until four but it’s usually five or whenever my partner calls me for dinner because he does a lot of the cooking. And then I don’t work at nights. I don’t work weekends.
I set boundaries, like what is of limits? So I don’t work nights, usually, except for the Zoom call that I offer in my business circle, which is very valuable.
And see, there’s something else that we need to look at. Like that is a lot of value because it goes into my energy a lot. And then I don’t work on the weekends. And then from that I build this color block schedule. I can really make a visual impression of what it is that I need.
And then you have a couple of hours left to work and within that time it needs to happen. And again, with the laundry, the work is never done. So what is most important?
Again, choosing what is your priority? What are your goals? Take the time to think about what your goals are and then work backwards.
And I think that is just taking care of yourself and being mindful about all of that is a way to counter hustle mentality and stop listening to people that tell you you have to do all that because if you listen to another person you have to do even more.
I know. I had to unfollow people that have their own business that would sort of glamorize working all the time. You know they would post the stories of it was you know midnight or 1 am and they were still working. Or it was like Friday night and they were uploading this YouTube video whenever it was, traveling, doing this, meetups, content galore, five sub businesses like whatever.
I had to unfollow it because that is like you know people I feel like a lot of what we hear on Instagram is like people drawn to this conspicuous or very visible consumption – fancy cars, fancy house, fancy vacations – to me that that doesn’t honestly like appeal that much to me maybe the traveling a little but what gets me is this hustle culture.
It’s very somehow, like, I feel like some people are more drawn to this workaholicism than others, just like some people are more drawn to the shopaholicism. And that to me is very tempting. Oh, well, if I work more, I can launch more things. I can do this, and that and this and expand my business in that way.
And so I had to unfollow those people, because it was like, that was like tempting to me. I’m like, wait, no, I value work-life balance. I can create better-quality stuff if I’m not overworked. And, that’s important to me. I cannot be in that space, in this hustle culture…
But you can love your job without being burned out at a certain point. And once you get to that point, it’s going to be so hard to bounce back from that, and then you lose so much time.
So the hustle will burn you out. And then just imagining a timeline where you’re burned out — some people just cannot function for years after that, it’s really it can be really bad.
So let’s say if you burn out for two years, superimposing those two years back to the time that is now and just slowing the – can I curse? Slowing the fork down is so important!
Like having my podcast is called A Smaller Life. Having less to choose from slowing down as business owners is so important, because as we talked about before, when you get that space to think about what’s going on at what you’ve accomplished, like we don’t celebrate what we do enough, right? We’re on to the next thing.
Because we love our job so much. We love ourselves too, don’t we? So maybe we should love ourselves a little bit more and continue loving our jobs.
The thing that also might have something to do with validation that we don’t get a lot of that as podcasters. We don’t have colleagues.
Or a boss!
A boss to tell you you’re doing a good job. So as an entrepreneur, you have to tell yourself, you’re doing a good job! And like…
I’m trying to implement a practice of, every week, I’ve fallen off of it recently, like what are my wins from this week?
Exactly. That’s great.
Because sometimes you just go go, go, go go. And then it’s Friday and you’re like, Okay, what do I need to do next week?
No, like, take a moment be like, what am I proud of this week? And it doesn’t even have to be anything like super tangible. Like sometimes it’s just, I set really good boundaries this week.
Or I cleaned my desk space.
Yeah, or I had an amazing conversation with Saskia. That’s a win! It doesn’t have to be I made $10,000.
So going back to what is your goal as a business owner in starting a movement and what do you want to do? And I was talking to Alice Karolina from the Ethical Move, and she said something that was almost mind-blowing to me.
She’s like, so talking about competition with other makers. If somebody would solve the problem that you’re trying to address by tomorrow, that would mean that you are out of a job. How does that make you feel?
I’m like, oh, my gosh. I cannot believe this question! I really can get really nervous about other people doing similar things. I don’t have a lot of money in my business, I don’t have a lot of time, I don’t have a team, they will be faster, they’ll have their thing ready before I do. And I get nervous, right? From the whole competition thing. But when she asked me that, I’m like, I would be delighted.
That would mean that one of the most polluting industries will cease to exist. And that people will get really happy from and healthy from making their own stuff and being able to make their wardrobe last longer. And all of that, that would be amazing. I’ll find other things to do.
I’ll just move on to I don’t know, rally driving in a green and sustainable way. And I’ll work on that. So going back to the core of why you’re doing things, it has something to do with wanting a better world. And the better world is only better if you’re healthy in that world.
So hustle business just out of the window. It’ll take a little bit longer, but it might also be faster, because you’re not like going crazy.
Yeah, no, I love that. And I love what you said about time earlier. If you burn out, and you’re out for a year there goes the time. And I think about that all the time, with people who drive, they just like cut you off, and they’re driving so fast. I’m like, you think you’re saving a few seconds, but you’re gonna get into an accident and waste like two hours or… Is it worth those seconds? If you might lose hours or years of your life? You know.
But totally, and it was something I’ve tried to implement. It’s like, okay, I have all these ideas like these 100 ideas. Okay, what do I want to do in the next year? What can I do in the next five years? What can I do in the next 10 years?
Like, you don’t have to do all the things this year, you know. And it can be easy to just think in the short term, but I think part of having a conscious business, slow business, it’s like, you don’t have to do all the things right away.
Put it in a journal, on a Google Doc, on a Word document, whatever, and like come back to it and maybe in five years, you still want to do that thing. Maybe in five years, you don’t.
And keep going, just at a slower pace. Just keep chugging along… you’ll get there.
Right, life is short, but life is also long.
Life is short in the sense that you don’t want to be wasting your time doing things that drain you if you can — of course, there’s things we have to do — but like life is long in the sense that you don’t have to do everything right now.
Yeah, exactly. That reminds me of the podcast that I just talked about. It’s the 80,000 hours podcast. I think your working life is 80,000 hours I think and this is about how to spend your working life changing the world. It’s really interesting.
So that this podcast is about Effective Altruism and also in a way that how can you spend your working life in a way that is most effective to change the world for the better. Like having 80,000 hours to spend on making a shift.
And when I talked about the broken glass, it was about just having in mind that you do things now, that will matter in the future. And it can be small things, right? Like negatively speaking, breaking a glass.
But it also positively speaking, in the ripple effect of things, if you really touch one person with an episode, which might seem weird, because this is our day to day. But it can really touch a person that might be really smart, or really wealthy. And this person might decide to do things differently and make a huge change in the world.
So all of the other time that you spend on your projects, or your podcasts, or whatever might not have that much of a ripple effect, but just touching that one person can change things dramatically, right?
And we all have that kind of power somewhere. So it’s always better to communicate and do things and express your ideas and feelings than not to do it. But when you overdo it, you are not helping anyone.
Totally, totally. I’m with you. And yeah, that’s something that Dr. Chatterjee said on the Feel Better Live More podcast, I believe it’s called, it’s really popular in the UK, and I’ve been listening to it lately. And he says that, you know, he thinks that podcasting has the power to change the world.
Bringing up new ideas and the sort of, like, decentralized way, especially when we think about media conglomerates, kind of controlling the airwaves and like how can we bring new ideas and new ways of thinking into the world?
So on that note, can you share with listeners where they can find you and listen to your podcast and connect with you?
All right, since I’m not on social media, it’s going to be short one. You can find me and everything I do on ja-wol.com. I’ll spell that out for you. It’s j – a hyphen, w o l.com. So again J A hyphen, wo l.com. That’s where you find everything that I do and share.
Perfect. And that will be in the episode description and show notes as well. So Saskia, thank you so much for this really just beautiful conversation. I just loved it so much.
I have one final question for you that I ask every guest that comes on to the show. And that is what does a better future for fashion look like to you?
Right, well, I would love it if it was part of everybody’s education and upbringing to know how to make their clothes last longer, learn how to mend them, and even make some of what they need themselves.
Because if that is part of their upbringing, and their education, they will see the value of it and they will start to act differently in a commercial setting. And even if they choose not to do it themselves, but have other people do it for them they would know the value of it and pay more fair prices.
And I think in the Netherlands, it was part of your school to learn how to do these things, but they kind of budgeted it out. I would say bring all of it back. And there’s so much to learn from crafting and making your own accessories and clothes, it needs to be part of our future.
And that’s a wrap for this episode with Saskia. Thank you so much for hitting play on this episode and listening through to the end.
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You can tag this podcast @consciousstyle. If you do share this podcast or if you just want to direct message me, that’s where you can find me.
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So I hope to connect with you either on Instagram, an email, via the newsletter, whatever it might be, but if not, I hope to catch you again here next Tuesday for another episode.