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Maintenance Mode: What it is, why it’s needed and how to navigate it as a business owner

Updated: Jan 20

Conversation with Danait Berhe

So you’re going along, building your yoga business and BAM life throws you a curveball. You have to shift gears and focus more energy on other things rather than your business.

This can throw even the most seasoned entrepreneur off-course, so that’s why we’re talking about it today. My friend and fellow entrepreneur Danait Berhe shares how she navigated a tough year in 2021 - and how you can, too.

Danait has been on the podcast two other times where she shared her expertise on branding (episode #57) and business models (episode #93) and I rave about her work all the time because she is my branding and messaging coach as well as my friend.

But in this episode Danait is sharing a more behind-the-scenes look on entrepreneurship. There are times in your entrepreneurship journey when you have to hit the pause button. Whether it’s for family emergencies, your health, or something totally different, life can throw us curveballs and all the sudden you have to shift your energy and your focus to the other thing, whatever that thing is.

We talk about what a “pause” can mean in your business - it could be a full pause or looking at a season as more of a maintenance phase more so than growth.

But my favorite part of this conversation is when we talk about how this pause impacted a launch of Danait’s and how she navigated that. I don’t hear many people talking about when they had to cancel a launch and how they navigated that from a revenue perspective in their business, so that’s a topic we cover.

Ready? Let's dive into the conversation with Danait.

**This was also a podcast episode (episode #138). Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.

Life sometimes forces a pause, and that's okay

"I had a lot of family stuff come up that forced me to take some steps back and pause. It forced me to re-evaluate halfway through the year. I had to reset my goals and it felt awful. It felt like I was failing." - Danait Berhe

It can feel awful when we have to change our goals. It can sometimes feel like failing, even when we know we need to take care of ourselves.

I hear this all the time from my coaching clients: "I'm not hitting my goal. What do I do?" Instead of changing everything about your business, often times we just need to reset the goal: Change the revenue goal, shift the number of students you're aiming for in your offering, etc.

Why we change goals

"It was taking a moment to pause and ask myself: Am I willing to sacrifice what I would need to sacrifice in order to make these goals happen? And the answer to that question was no." - Danait Berhe

Even if we know we can hit the goals by pushing through, we often need to change the goal. And that can feel sucky, but sometimes we truly need maintenance and not necessarily growth.

I don't know any business who is constantly in a state of growth. It always goes up and down. We have it in our head that it always has to be growth, and that's just not always possible.

"I knew that hitting the goals I set before, I'd have to push through and ignore the self-care that I knew I needed." - Danait Berhe

Know what you are willing to sacrifice or not sacrifice when this comes up in life and business. Know your capacity and what you need.

"It's okay to prioritize other things sometimes." - Danait Berhe

How to know when to take a break: Maintenance mode

"One of the things I'm still learning is that rest is necessary. It's actually a productive thing. It allows you to have more creative energy, come up with new ideas, and rest your body and allow it to restore itself so you can do the things you need to do." - Danait Berhe

If you find it challenging to pause or take a moment, understand that rest is important and that taking time away is going to allow you to do what you do even better.

Slowly allowing yourself those moments of rest is necessary, whether that's:

  • Setting boundaries with yourself to not work on the weekends

  • Having a hard cut off time for work in the evening

  • Knowing when you need to take a day off for a break

Remember, creativity flourishes in white space, so notice when you are working and if you need to factor in more white space in your weekly routines. Consider scaling back on whatever you’re working on instead of stopping it completely if that’s what you need.

A pause doesn't necessarily mean a total shut down of your business. It can simply mean not adding anything new or jumping into any new marketing channels. Continue with what's already working for you with the clear processes and systems that are already in place.

Ask yourself:

  • What's working in my business?

  • What feels easy in my business?

Keep that. And then you can get back to the rest of it when you can.

"A pause for me meant to stay in the place that I knew I could execute really well, but also giving myself lots of space when I needed it." - Danait Berhe

When you have to pause a launch

"I knew I wasn't going to be able to show up like I wanted to. I want to make sure I would operate at a level of excellence and not just push through." - Danait Berhe

Danait had a program that she beta-tested and had a plan to launch after the beta test. Then life threw her curveballs, and she knew she had to shift her plan. She decided to hit pause on her big launch until the next year.

"Sometimes when we get on the train and we're going, we feel like we can't stop it. And sometimes we have to stop it." - Amanda McKinney

It can feel like we aren’t holding up a commitment since we said it but it’s better to slow down and take the pause if you need it. People will understand (or likely not even remember).

Recognize that it sucks, but you will figure it out and all will work out. Trust the process and trust yourself. You've figured out life so far up to today, so what makes you think you can't figure out tomorrow?

How to prevent burn out

"The things I do now I know will serve me if I have to take another pause. I'll be better prepared for it. It won't be as emotional trying because I have all of these things in place. Life will come at you how life will come at you, but you can put things in place." - Danait Berhe

Sometimes you can’t prevent things from happening in life, but you can still do things in your life and business to help you navigate it. Here are a few preventative measures you can take:

1. Schedule white space on your calendar

As mentioned above, creativity flourishes in white space, so notice when you are working and if you need to factor in more white space in your weekly routines. For example, Danait has strict "no call" days in her business.

2. Schedule specific days to work on certain things in business

This gives you more of that white space to think and create. For example, Danait focuses on creating content one week a month. She schedules time off from other things in order to devote all of her attention to creating content that week.

3. Take weekends (or designated days) off from work

"I have been so good about not working on weekends this year. I shut down the laptop on Fridays and I'm done!" - Danait Berhe

4. Pour back into yourself

Read, take walks, meditate, do whatever you know you need to refill your cup and take care of yourself.

It takes GRIT to be an entrepreneur

"Being an entrepreneur is so hard. There's the ups and the downs. You can have one great month or year and then the next month or year is really hard. Navigating is part of the process." - Amanda McKinney

It takes grit to be an entrepreneur and you often don’t realize this until you go through something tough.

It takes willingness to figure things out and do what it takes to keep your business AND your sanity. You have this inside you already and you will see it come to life when you need it to.

"Know that you have grit inside of you, but sometimes you don't get to see it because it's not required. But you'll see it, be able to utilize it, and make things work and come out on the other side standing. You might be a little singed but you'll make it through the fire." - Danait Berhe

Your next step

If you couldn’t tell during our conversation, I’m incredibly inspired by Danait.

As her friend I watched her navigate a tough year and still manage to not only maintain but still grow her business but even more importantly, I watched her learn more about how to care for herself as an entrepreneur.

You heard how she has built in some preventative measures to maintain her capacity as a human. Not working on the weekends, taking calls on specific days and even changing when she creates her content. She figured out systems that allow her to take care of herself so that she can also take care of her business.

So that’s your next step for today - outline some preventative measures that you already have in place or want to put into place.

Another one of my friends calls this her non-negotiables. Whatever you want to call these things, it’s the actions you can take (or not take) that fill your cup instead of depleting it.

You need these as a human and I dare to say you need them even more as an entrepreneur.

When you’re in constant demand as the business owner - making decisions, doing the work, planning for the future - it’s a lot and you have to take care of yourself.

So please take this next step today and identify some preventative actions you can start taking today. And if you’re in a season where you need to hit the pause button, do that and know that it’s okay to do this.

Until next time, give yourself permission to hit the pause button when you need to and grace along the way.

Get More Done with Less Screen Time with Shailla Vaidya

"One of the things I'm still learning is that rest is necessary. It's actually a productive thing. It allows you to have more creative energy, come up with new ideas, and rest your body and allow it to restore itself so you can do the things you need to do."

- Danait Berhe

About Danait

Danait Berhe is a messaging strategist who works with entrepreneurs to craft decision-driving content and messaging that effectively positions them as the go-to so that they can finally be seen and heard by their dream clients. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs who want to leave an imprint on the universe do just that by helping them build brands that matter from the inside out. When she’s not nerding out over data and words, Danait is cuddling with her pup Lula, exploring Buffalo with her husband, and most likely eating pizza with a glass of wine.

Danait's Links

Other podcast episodes with Danait

  • Episode #57 - Your Yoga Brand: Stop thinking “logo” and starting thinking “legacy”

  • Episode #93 - Yoga Business Models: Which is best for you?



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