I’ve been working with Bruno as his business coach since the beginning of 2018, and in that time we’ve concentrated on one of the biggest problems a lot of small business owners face: that all-important work/life balance.
Bruno is a graphic designer with over 30 years’ experience who set up his own business over 18 years ago. His agency, Sane Design, is based in York city centre, yet he works with a variety of clients across the world producing high-quality brochures, printed materials, websites, flyers and much more.
When Bruno approached me, it was clear he didn’t need help getting a business off the ground. What he wanted out of coaching was someone to help him be more efficient and reach the goal of a healthy work/life balance.
Here’s Bruno’s success story.
“It’s just me in the business, without somebody else to make sure I do what I’m supposed to do and when I’m supposed to do it. I ended up not doing things for the business, only for clients”.
Like many small business owners, Bruno is the only one who can take care of every aspect of running his graphic design agency. “I have to sell, market, pick up the phone, produce, deliver, follow up, invoice, and take care of admin and post-sale”, he says.
He adds “I knew I was a procrastinator, and I knew it was a shortcoming”. It was something Bruno was already aware of, and wanted to improve on, but it was about finding the right moment to take the plunge with business coaching.
On a side note, it’s important to be ready and fully committed when you embark on a coaching programme. You need the time to focus on every aspect of your business and the dedication to enact everything you want to achieve.
So, when Bruno decided he was ready for business coaching, we were able to tackle the problems he was having around discipline, time management and work/life balance head on.
“I was reactive rather than planning ahead. Now I’m proactive and plan ahead”.
We set up monthly one-to-one coaching sessions based on a bespoke programme tailored to Bruno and his goals. What’s more, we put together our 90-day planning sessions, and he admits “I saw changes almost immediately”.
The key issues we focused on were:
- Making more money without working more
- Having the confidence to drop clients who aren’t suitable
- Creating more free time outside work
Through our monthly sessions we looked at how Bruno needed to be accountable for his time. This meant putting systems in place and implementing the right changes to make sure he was taking a step forward and not a step back. For example, choosing the right clients to work with and reflecting on what worked and what didn’t.
Furthermore, as his business coach I was on hand to help Bruno develop and think through any ideas or issues that came up between our sessions – support that many small business owners simply don’t have or don’t know where to find it.
“Ros is more my business therapist”, says Bruno. “She understands the small business world, she knows how it works and relates to your problems”.
“I can tell Ros the things I’m struggling with, and I found having external feedback really, really positive” he adds.
“I can do it because I have the support”.
Since starting with business coaching over a year ago, Bruno says he now has more motivation.
“It’s had a huge impact on how I perform as a business owner. It’s easy to concentrate on design and forget about the business, but now I talk about the business”.
In fact, he’s even changed his mindset when it comes to facing tasks involved with running the business. “The business side can be just as rewarding as the design side”, he admits.
“I’m in a better position”, he says. That’s both financially and in terms of a healthier work/life balance. He’s now able to dedicate the right amount of time to both running a business and doing client work. There’s no more weekend work. And, most importantly, his personal life remains unaffected by work.
What does the future hold?
Bruno now wants to hire a regular in-house graphic designer to keep the business on a steady path to even greater success.
It’s a real sign the business is doing well, and I look forward to seeing what he has planned for the future.