Episode 233: Building A Business That Honors Your Mental Health with Danielle LaBonté

August 10, 2022

If you’ve not implemented processes or systems that protect your mental health as a business owner, we’re making that shift today. After a season of burnout Danielle LaBonté decided to prioritize herself and her mental health by making adjustments to how she was running her business. In today’s episode, Danielle joins us to share her own story, discuss why mental health is important as a business owner, and the steps she took to protect her own mental health.

Danielle LaBonté is a creative and serial entrepreneur based in Toronto, ON. There she creatively directs her branding studio, Danielle LaBonté Designs, to work with ambitious entrepreneurs and mid-scale companies to elevate the meaning behind brand identity and strategy through creating eye-catching brands that withstand trends. Outside of her graphic design studio, she runs her creatively inspiring podcast series Brewing Up Creativity to spread awareness about pursuing creative fields whether it be through running a business, freelancing, having a hobby, or climbing the corporate ladder.

Choosing a Career that Accommodates Your Lifestyle

Many creative entrepreneurs get their start after experiencing life in the corporate world and not loving it. After going through her own experiences in working for others and realized that she wanted to not only work for herself, but build a business that accommodated the lifestyle she wanted to live.

Building a business that accommodates her lifestyle, she’s able to work from anywhere and experience the life she dreamt about. Although, one of the toughest things we forget to do as a business owner is put ourselves first. We tend to put the business first and ignore our own mental health—but you can honor your mental health while growing a successful business.

Reminder: You Are a Person

Whether you’re working for yourself or someone else, it is so easy to forget that you’re a business owner and that you’re more than just the work you do. If you’re struggling to remember that, you can start to see a physical effect on your body from overworking. This can come from stress, from lack of nutrition, and more.

Acknowledging Your Burnout & Ask for Help

When Danielle’s business started to bloom, she’d been growing, taking on new clients, offering new services, and was working all the time. She found that she was always exhausted, but couldn’t figure out how to continue the success without the work.

That’s when she got a therapist and a business coach to help her see where she could adjust and pivot to avoid burnout. This support team continues to help her understand how she wants to proceed in her business—which is ever changing.

Support Systems through Mentors

One of the easiest ways to find support is through a mentorship. Mentors, specifically within your industry can help support you and understand exactly what you’re going through in your business. You are never alone in what you go through. We all deserve a mentor—including our team members.

How to Protect Your Mental Health in Your Business

There are a number of ways that you can begin to protect your mental health in your business so that you’re also protecting your personal time as well. Danielle shared a few things she did in order to protect her mental health after she went through her own season of burnout.

Brining on a Social Media/Communications Manager

While Danielle loves to engage on social media, she has several social media accounts that make it really hard for her to manage them all. She knew she needed a social media manager and communications manager to handle that communication so that she wasn’t going online as a burnt out version of herself.

While she plans out her content ahead of time, Danielle caps her time on social media to thirty minutes in the afternoon. Her managers handle it the rest of the time. This helps manage her time so that she’s most productive on her business, but also her mental health in staying out of the comparison game online.

Schedule Meetings Strategically

There are so many ways to schedule meetings based on how you work, but for Danielle, she prefers to cap them at 2-3 a day and scatter them throughout the week, while still keeping meeting-less days. This keeps her from burning out in her work.

Be Strategic in How Much Client Work You Take On

Your business thrives on clients, but if you’re taking on too many or the wrong ones, it can be very easy to overwork yourself and burn out. By taking on the wrong ones, it can be tough to want to show up to work and that’s not great for your mental health either.

Set Office Hours

Owning your business can mean that your brain is always turned on for business, but that doesn’t mean you need to work 24/7. By setting office hours, you can create a routine for yourself in your business and find better balance in your life.

Build a Team

Delegating tasks is something that can be so beneficial for your mental health and at the end of the day, it honors it. There’s likely somebody better at certain tasks anyways. Consider slowly growing your team and budgeting for it so that you have support in your business.

Identifying Your Boundaries

We often don’t identify that things need to change in our business until we’re struggling in them. This could mean that you realize you’re not able to spend time with your friends and family, or that you’re overwhelmed with the tasks you have to do in your business.

Once you’ve identified what the problem is, think through potential solutions. These solutions will help you protect your mental health so that you’re building a thriving business without sacrifice.

Catch the Show Notes

Choosing a Career that Accommodates Your Lifestyle (3:51)

Reminder: You are a Person (7:04)

Acknowledging Your Burnout (10:13)

Protecting Your Mental Health (15:40)

Identifying Boundaries (25:35)

Connect with Danielle

daniellelabontedesigns.com

instagram.com/daniellelabontedesigns

facebook.com/daniellelabontedesigns

pinterest.ca/daniellelabontedesigns

instagram.com/brewingupcreativity

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Bonnie:

Hi friend, and welcome to the brand strategy podcast. A show created to equip you with the inspiration, encouragement, and clarity. You need to build the brand of your dreams. I’m your host, Bonnie BTI, brand designer, strategist, and founder of the alum retreat from sustainable strategy to heartfelt encouragement. Each episode is designed to equip you with the tools you need to chase after your dreams, because you deserve a brand that empowers you to do what you love, connects with your dream clients and offers a deep sense of fulfillment along the way. So grab a cup of coffee and join me on this journey. Won’t you

Bonnie:

Friends. Welcome back to the brand strategy podcast, where today we’ve got such a fantastic conversation in store. We’re talking about building a business that honors your mental health with the incredible Danielle Labonte. Now, if you have not come across Danielle before, then I’m excited to be able to introduce you to her today. She is a creative and a serial entrepreneur based in beautiful Toronto. And that is where she works, directing her branding studio, Danielle Labonte designs. And she works with ambitious entrepreneurs, just like you and mid-scale companies to elevate the meaning behind brand identity and strategy through creating eyecatching brands, that withstand trends. And on top of that, she is a fellow podcast host just like me. You can find her over on brewing up creativity, and that show helps to spread awareness about really what goes into pursuing creative fields, like running a business, freelancing, having a hobby, or just climbing the corporate ladder. So Danielle, I’m so excited to have you on the podcast today. It actually, um, the way that we connected, I was a guest a while back on your incredible podcast, which for those who are tuning in, definitely go check that out, shameless plug here. Um, but Danielle, I’m so excited to be able to chat with you again and to have you on my show and have this conversation that I know is, uh, so, so, so welcomed in the creative space.

Danielle LaBonté:

Thank you so much for having me and for that lovely intro, it sounded phenomenal. <laugh> um, so happy to be here to talk about honoring your mental health in business. I think we’re talking about it a bit more these days, so I’m super excited to be here.

Bonnie:

I am so excited to get to have this conversation, but before we start talking about mental health and how that shows up in our businesses and some actions we can take to really protect our wellbeing through the work that we’re doing, let’s back up a minute and let’s talk a little bit more about you and your incredible business. So if you’re comfortable sharing, I’d love to hear a little bit more about who you are and what you do

Danielle LaBonté:

Well, thank you. And you covered it great, but to get into the nitty gritty of things, um, I opened my doors in 2017 and it really started off where I was like on a freelance basis, offering services ranging from just your simple logo design to labels, and then learning that for branding, you kind of require a bit more than just designing a pretty logo and a pretty label for somebody. So I expanded into a studio. I grew my team over the couple of years, and I started working with people on a global scale, uh, not just in my beautiful city, Toronto, that can get quite cold sometimes, but working with people abroad and working with people that come from different backgrounds and have different missions and values and getting to meet these people online and sometimes getting to meet them in person. If I go on vacation to their country or wherever they’re they’re based, it’s, it’s so neat.

Danielle LaBonté:

So the way I describe myself in the way I work, it’s just, I am a creative at heart and I started a business to accommodate the lifestyle I wanted. I knew the type of life I wanted since I was a young girl and I am best at managing and not being told what to do. So I guess, after working for a few people, I realized I wanted to work for myself. So having owned my business over the couple of years, it’s grown, it’s expanded. I’ve learned a lot along the way, but my creative skills and my ever so growing management and entrepreneurial skills get better every single year, but I’m happy to be doing what I’m doing and I’ve never second guessed, uh, what I pursue in the graphic design and branding atmosphere.

Bonnie:

Mm. I love that. I love that. You said that you decided to build a business that honors the kind of life that you wanna live. Yeah. And gives you the freedom to have the kind of, not just like the lifestyle, but it’s like a quality of life. Like I think that in the online business space, it’s easy for us to talk about and kind of glamorize, or at least romanticize like that idea of like, you know, that laptop lifestyle working from the pool, like that kind of thing. And, and making it look like easy, but it’s not just about that. It’s about like how you feel every day when you’re showing up in your business and you’re working with your clients all over the world, right?

Danielle LaBonté:

Yeah. It it’s true. And I, I traveled earlier this summer. And so when I see talks or social media posts, where yet, like you said, it’s glamorized, it’s romanticized that you can travel and work at the same time when you operate and run a business. Um, and it looks beautiful online, but behind the scenes, it’s actually difficult because you kind of have to learn to associate business days with taking days off. But is it true that we can truly take a day off as an, as an entrepreneur or business owner? I’m really not too sure because our brains never truly shut off. We always are thinking about what we can be doing or what we should be doing. So it’s kind of like a skill that we have to work on to try and optimize and work on our mental health and prioritize that on the same level as our business. And I think oftentimes we put our business first and then we put ourselves, if not in second or third or fourth place on top of our family, our loved ones. Um, so it’s kind of like this working on this scale of priority. What do we put first? And sometimes if not, we need to put ourselves first, almost all of the times.

Bonnie:

Yeah. I would definitely agree. And knowing that you’ve, and you know, over the years you’ve built your business to the, the height of success that you’re currently experiencing. And you work with clients, not just in your local area, but like literally all over the world and you have a team like there’s so many moving pieces, so you, you said it best like it, it can be challenging when you have all of those things that you’re juggling to then add in one more thing, which is a very important thing. And that’s your mental health. So if you’re comfortable sharing what, since you have built your business to this point, what does it mean to you to have a business that honors your mental health?

Danielle LaBonté:

It means a lot. Let me just start by saying that because I didn’t think it was honestly achievable for a good chunk earlier on in my business, or even when I wasn’t running a business and I was working for other people. I’ll start by saying that when you’re, when I was in these particular positions, working in nine to five or working sales positions, um, you literally forget to really forget that you are a person and you create this identity that you are a worker and that’s who you are. And it, it gets hard after a while because then you actually start to see the physical symptoms within your body. And even mentally, like, I cannot tell you how earlier on in my business, or even when I was working for other people, that how I started to see physical symptoms of Bonnie, like I was losing my hair.

Danielle LaBonté:

I was pale. Um, I also wasn’t feeding myself the best food because I just had to consider and think about working, working, working. I felt like I had to, in order to be successful, I had to work tremendous amount of hours. And that’s absolutely not true, but it’s what we assume in the beginning, because hustle culture is glamorized. Like we briefly taught, like touched on, uh, not too long ago. So to have a space where I not only promote that, um, through my team and for my team, but also for myself, I feel like if I’m promoting that environment for my team members to say, Hey, if you need a sick day, just take the sick day. Like it is absolutely not a problem. And they can talk to me about their mental health. Why am I not treating myself the same way? So I kind of had to have a conversation with myself and my therapist about that. Like a couple of years ago to start to, I had to almost tell myself it’s time to put you first because your services are going to decline and your creativity levels are starting to decline. So sitting here today, it means a lot that I can sit here and tell you that I’ve am a lot better at prioritizing my mental health than I was two, three years ago.

Bonnie:

Mm. I love that. And I, I also really respect that you kind of phrased it as like I’m a lot better at this. Like I’m growing in this. And I, I really can resonate with that because I, I can look at my own journey and it’s like, it’s not a destination where like one day you wake up and you’re like, this is it. I have achieved the, the, the most healthy of mental health that one person can have. Like, it’s always this journey of learning how to care for yourself, better and different seasons of your life and different seasons of your business demand more of you or demand different things of you. And so to support your wellbeing, to support your mental health in that season might look different. But I love that you are focusing on it as like this process, this, this like dedication to caring for yourself and putting yourself first so that you can show up as like the healthiest version of you for your business, for your team, for your clients. And I can really relate to that. I, I try to do the same.

Danielle LaBonté:

I feel like if we don’t come to terms with, if we’re facing burnout or we just can see ourselves declining, uh, we really need to sit down and acknowledge that for a moment. Um, and, and the moment I did was because I, I, I moved out, I moved to a different city. I started bringing on more services, bigger services. Um, I started bringing on more team members and I thought that that was the peak. I thought that this is like the best thing. Um, this is what everybody does. This is what we all work towards. Um, and then I found myself getting absolutely exhausted. So I got a therapist, I got a business coach and they both helped me sit down and realize what I was doing actually, wasn’t that healthy for myself. So, yeah, it’s an ongoing process to say the least. I can say that I’m in a much better place than I was two to three years ago in my business.

Danielle LaBonté:

Even though I would say I’m talking more about mental health now that I’m in a better place than how I than what I was two to three years ago. Um, but you learn a lot along the way. You learn a lot about, you know, the time you need to spend into your business, like you said, in different seasons of life, if you need to delegate work, if you don’t, um, how big of a team do you want? Do you want it to be small and boutique and friendly? Do you want it to be larger? There are so many different things that I had to consider that I never even thought to consider if I didn’t have an outsider’s perspective along the way, because truly if I didn’t come to that realization or I didn’t seek the help that I needed, I don’t think my business would even have expanded the way that it did. And I wouldn’t be happy on a day to day basis where I can walk my dog and not freak out that I’m missing out on something throughout my work day. So lots of work, um, internally, externally, and having people that help you along the way, lots of steps that have gotten me here today, but I’m glad you highlighted that. Yes, it is always an ongoing process.

Bonnie:

Mm mm-hmm <affirmative> and like, I really love how you, you talked about how there’s a support team that kind of comes into place. When it look when, like we’re looking at how we are working our mental health into the way that we’re doing business, I don’t necessarily think that it’s realistic to feel like you have to figure it all out on your own. Like, I, I also have a therapist. I also have mentors and coaches and, you know, people that I, I like turn to for advice in my business. It, you know, it’s, it’s the kind of thing of, of like, if this is, if you are struggling to figure out how to prioritize your wellbeing while you grow your business, chances are, you’ve never been in this specific place in life before. You’ve never had a business that is reaching this level of success, and you’ve never had to, you know, factor in your mental health as, as a part of that.

Bonnie:

And so if you’ve never done it before, where are you putting all this pressure on yourself to know exactly how to do it? And that’s where, you know, being kind of vulnerable in a sense, and reaching out and asking for help, whether it’s from friends or family members or from professionals like coaches, mentors, therapists, that is something that I think is easy to, to overlook because oftentimes when I look back and when I think about times in my business where my mental health was at a low point and where I was like beyond burnt out and I was really struggling, it felt, I almost like my tendency was to kind of like isolate myself further. Like, I didn’t want to admit that I was struggling. I didn’t want other people to see that it was this bad. And I didn’t want to like, you know, like admit that I didn’t have all the answers that, like, I got myself to this point because I wasn’t making good decisions.

Bonnie:

And when I like realized that, first of all, this is, this is normal. Like when you’re at a low point, it is probably not the lowest that anyone’s ever been in the history of the world. So someone somewhere has been in your shoes or has been in a similar kind of position before and can empathize with you and can normalize the experience a little bit. And I think when we start to, at least for me, when I began to normalize it and, and kind of rationalize it in that way, I realize this isn’t a shameful thing. This isn’t embarrassing. This isn’t something that I need to beat myself up over this absolutely is me being a human coping with things that I’ve never had to cope with before levels of pressure in my business that I’ve never had to deal with before. And so why would I not seek out the support of a therapist or a coach or a doctor to help me figure this out?

Bonnie:

And that when I opened myself up, that’s when I started to see this kind of growth and this kind of healing that has, has enabled me to now have this business that does keep my mental health at, at, at really a top priority. And I love how you said earlier that you’re talking about mental health more and more with your team with your audience. And I think it’s because when we hit these low points and we know how uncomfortable and painful that can be, we don’t want other people to experience that. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so if we can share our own experiences and little glimpses of what we’ve learned, and that can save someone, the pain or the struggle, or the lost kind of the feeling of lost time, then that’s what we want for others. Right.

Danielle LaBonté:

It’s, it’s true. And I’m, I’m glad you brought that up and to almost add to what you said, it’s like, we don’t get a real book when we decide to start a business or grow our business. Like mm-hmm, <affirmative>, there is no right or wrong way to do things, but what’s great about things now, um, in the current state that we’re in coming out of the pandemic, we are talking about mental health more, we are bringing more awareness to this, and we are at least with the circle that I’m surrounding myself with. Um, being more honest with having a therapist, having a mentor that can walk you through things, because the mentor that I worked with, like, God bless her. She’s amazing because she was opening up about how she was in the same position as well. So when we have mentors in different parts of our lives, first of all, I think everyone has, should have a mentor.

Danielle LaBonté:

Um, whether it’s somebody that’s a family member, a friend, or anybody, like we all deserve to have a mentor or a coach or someone to look up to. So I know that when I brought on a couple of team members and some interns, for instance, um, I was an intern like almost twice in my adolescence. And I felt like I never really had, uh, someone I could talk to someone. I could pitch ideas to someone that I felt like I could creatively express myself. Um, so I knew when I had a team, like you said, I wanted to make sure I didn’t make those mistakes with my future team members or my interns that are looking for a learning experience. And you want them to feel comfortable, uh, coming to work or working remotely. And you want them to feel like it’s a warm environment and you can talk about having a sick day and you can talk about being burnt out.

Danielle LaBonté:

You can talk about having not so much of a creative day because there’s different types of days. I mean, I can have a non-creative day, one day of the week, and I should probably take that off because I’m not gonna create great work for my clients. So yeah. It’s like this analysis, this growth period, I feel like the period of growth actually never actually ends either so many different waves of life. And you are, like you said, never alone in what you go through. So even though when I first invested in my business coach and mentor, um, I thought, oh my God, this is such a huge investment. Like, is it even worth it? And then, um, a week later I thought, what the heck am I talking about? Like, yeah, I should put my time energy effort and my money into this because it can help me change my perspective on the way I am running and operating my business.

Danielle LaBonté:

And I know I need to put myself first, but I just don’t know how to get there. After I pigeon hold myself into this position where I feel like I need to work all the time. And if I don’t respond to emails within 24 hours, then I am the worst graphic designer and entrepreneur in the world. So like I had to talk to somebody about it. So yeah, like opening up the conversation to people, having a therapist, having a coach, talking to other entrepreneurial friends, anything that suits your budget or suits your needs at the time. And also talking to people about like other entrepreneurs about how they’re running their business. Now, obviously everyone operates their business differently, whatever works best for them, but being able to listen into podcasts or actively DM somebody, or just text them or call them and be able to ask them a couple of questions as to how they dealt with a problem, also opens your eyes as to there actually is a different perspective out there. And maybe I can be handling this a bit better, or I can be doing something a bit differently and trying it out. It’s a trial and error, and then seeing what works best for, for you as an entrepreneur.

Bonnie:

Mm, absolutely. So kind of along those lines, um, you know, looking at the way that you’re running your business, looking at the way that now you’re focused on making decisions that that will protect your mental health and that will prioritize your wellbeing as, as a person, have there been some changes that you’ve made along the way, like changes to your services or your business model, or, um, you know, even your, your interaction with marketing, your business on social media that you have made in an effort to better serve your mental health?

Danielle LaBonté:

Absolutely. I feel like since the day I, I opened my business. Everything’s different. <laugh> um, let’s talk about social media first and then I’ll talk about my offerings and my business plan. So in terms of social media, I am the one who actively engages with people on Instagram. I want people to know that they’re interacting with me, however, um, I’ve got several business accounts on Instagram that there is absolutely no way I could operate them. So I think that’s when I decided I needed a social media manager and a community manager, communications manager, I needed that help. There was no way I could tackle that all at once, at least in, in my mind, um, for myself personally. So I knew I had to expand my team and I knew I had to hand that over to someone who’s the expert and can absolutely handle it in the best way possible versus somebody talking to a burnt out version of myself.

Danielle LaBonté:

So for social media, I cap myself out when it comes to how often I’m on there. I am not actively on there. Um, from nine till five at all, I will give myself little intervals of time. So I usually post and plan out my feed at least monthly, and then for half an hour in the afternoon or so I will engage with people. And then of course, I’ve got my managers who tackle, perhaps my podcast account or other forms of engagement for myself. So they tackle a lot of that kind of stuff for me. And I really only give myself a specific amount of time to be on social media, because I know for myself, if I am on there all day and I get into a loophole of lurking, other people in the same industry, I’m going to start a comparison game. So that just needs to go.

Danielle LaBonté:

And so that was one of the things that I absolutely changed once I realized I could, um, budget for that accordingly, which I always want to be honest with people because you can’t just hire a whole team right. In the beginning, it doesn’t work like that. For me, it was like a slow gain. So that was one of the first investments I ever made when it comes to my business plan though. Um, there were smaller things that I did, um, slowly but surely that helped me learn more about myself and how I can offer, uh, the best version of myself. So one of the things was scheduling meetings strategically. There are some entrepreneurs that schedule their meetings all in one day, and then there are some who either just schedule them in the mornings. And then there are some that schedule ’em throughout the week.

Danielle LaBonté:

I am the type of person that can, honestly, because I am an introverted entrepreneur. And I know that sounds weird. I’ve talked about that on my Instagram, but I can only handle, um, two to three meetings a day if that. So I do try to scatter my meetings around, but I do leave myself a few days free of meetings and that those are just my creative days. So yeah, I, I I’ve changed completely. I used to schedule meetings all in one day or just scheduled meetings all the time. I would be like from eight to 11, I was on calls every single day until like, I didn’t feel good anymore. So I stopped doing that. I started offering one day intensives so that if I knew that I wanted to take a couple of days off that week, at least I know I’ve gotten intensive that week and I plan those accordingly and offer those spots open.

Danielle LaBonté:

Um, when I know that I need those weeks, I analyze a couple of things with my monthly changes. Um, so I work around a lot of different things, uh, when it comes to being a female entrepreneur. So I try to work around those. Um, I only take on so much work in clients. That was another thing I decided to change. I used to overbook myself a lot. I thought I could handle this. I want this, it’s a learning experience. And, um, you know, what no regrets for doing that earlier on in my business, but now I can kindly say, I am very strategic with how many people I work with, who I’m working with. Are we a good fit? Um, that is something to analyze at a certain point in your business. So that was definitely something I did. And, um, my office hours, I am religious.

Danielle LaBonté:

That is something I am so religious with. I work between nine to five. If you catch me outside of those office hours, it is rare. Um, I probably started later on that day, but I know that I am most creative in the morning. So, uh, by the time it hits about five o’clock, I am wrapping up the day. I am maybe having one, one meeting to wrap up the day. Um, if not that I am probably just relaxing mood boarding for some clients or, or putting some lighter projects at the end of the day, but I am very religious when it comes to my office hours. And then I’ve got my team. I love my team. They helped me so much and expanding them, expanding my team over the last year and a half was one of the best things I ever did. Delegating tasks is something that can be so beneficial for your mental health at the end of the day, it honors it. You know, that there’s probably gonna be somebody better at it than you anyways. So there’s a lot of things, little things that I did over the last couple of years, it did not happen overnight at all, but those were some of the things I did that to help me bring peace back into my own personal life.

Bonnie:

Mm. I really appreciate you sharing just such a honest inside look at some of those changes that you’ve made, because like you said, it’s so helpful to hear from other people in, in a similar industry or even in the same industry. Yeah. As to what they’re doing and what actions they’re taking and how they’re structuring things like their meeting schedule or their office hours, because it helps us to kind of explore some of the options that are available to us. Um, and one thing that I was curious about is you were sharing that some of those decisions that you made, some of those shifts that came about, was there like a process that you have, or like a method that you followed, how did you kind of identify what boundaries or what ways of doing business were going to give you the support or the protection in some cases that you needed?

Danielle LaBonté:

I knew I couldn’t handle everything at once at a certain point. Like I could, I knew I couldn’t, um, there was gonna come a cap and I hit the cap and I looked at my partner that day. And I, I told him, I said, I am exhausted. Like, I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. Like, I feel like my clients love me because I have, uh, guaranteed this high end communication. I’m always there to help them. And they know that I, I want them to have the ultimate client experience. Um, but I’m not having a personal life experience that I am enjoying at the moment. It was hard for me to schedule dates. It was hard for me to schedule time with family outside of that. And so one of the first methods that I, uh, changed or integrated, it was my team. I, I had to swallow my pride and put my ego away and put it aside and honestly admit to myself that I’m not a social media manager.

Danielle LaBonté:

There should be somebody helping me, or if I don’t wanna be handling my admin every day, um, I should have somebody that can help me out with that. I just really had to come to terms with the aspects of my business that somebody really could honestly help me out with. Cuz I think sometimes as entrepreneurs, we wanna wear all those hats because there was a point in our business where we could and we would. But um, if you’re starting to realize that your business is growing rapidly and it’s on a really great path, but you’re starting to notice, you’re getting drained. You do have to identify, which is the first step of prioritizing my mental health. What is it first? And for me personally, it was delegating some tasks that I just couldn’t accept anymore.

Bonnie:

Mm absolutely. And that kind of reminds me of like that, that kind of phrase that I know so many of us have heard of before. It’s, it’s like the thing, the task that you dread doing in your business is somebody else’s like dream task. Yeah. And it’s like the things that we used to do out of necessity. At some point we have to decide, am I gonna continue to do this thing that kind of like is a vacuum of time and energy for me and that I don’t enjoy doing, but that I feel like I have to do, am I gonna still keep doing this or will hiring a super part-time assistant or bringing on an intern or hiring a social media manager? You know, like if, if social media is, is kind of the issue here will will seeking out that help free up time, energy, money opportunities for me to go out there and do more of, of what actually makes my business great of, you know, what my, my kind of like secret sauce my signature service might be.

Bonnie:

And for me, when I started to realize that I was kind of like white knuckling, some things in my business that weren’t actually generating revenue. And weren’t actually something that made sense for me to be doing it. It kind of became the no brainer of like, oh yeah, I can absolutely outsource that to an independent contractor or, you know, bring someone on who would love to do that and would enjoy doing that. And then it’s a win-win because exactly I’m happier. I have more space and they love what they’re doing. They’re getting compensated appropriately for it. And, you know, we can all feel good about it.

Danielle LaBonté:

<laugh> exactly. And I love how you put it that it’s somebody else’s dream job because truly there are people out there that are probably dying to, um, do those services for you or do it for other people, do it for other clients. And they’ve just been wanting to put their time and effort into something like that. And I think that’s why often I, I bring on like quarterly interns. It’s just because you can see, they have so much passion and they want the experience. So yeah, like in terms of like when I’m hiring and how I’m hiring, it’s, it’s always strategic to ensure that it would meet somebody else’s learning experience or it, you know, they’re they’re contractual or they’re part-time, or they’re, full-time like everyone everyone’s so different and, and it’s according to budget, but I wanted to say that before I outsourced and hired people on, I was very tedious with how I was managing my time before I was able to save up and ensure that I had the budget to hire people out.

Danielle LaBonté:

So I, I did assign specific business days or planning out my feed days. And I, I created schedules where I knew I was gonna be live on Instagram and when I was not so that, um, I was mentally trying to prepare myself for the day and the week ahead. So I planned out very, very organized calendars, um, so that I could honor my mental health in some shape way or form until I could get to the point that I wanted to expand and delegate. So, uh, that was, I feel like I left that out. It was kind of like, uh, an initial step into my method of outsourcing to professionals to help me with my work and to help me honor my health, my mental health.

Bonnie:

Mm. Right. That’s a really good point. And I, I really like how you focused on just putting on the calendar and being honest with yourself about from this time to this time, I’m gonna be, you know, batching content, or I’m gonna be showing up on Instagram so that you could prepare for that mentally. And you knew okay. As an introvert, because I’m an introvert too, you know, knowing that you need to be like, quote unquote on for that amount of time, if say you’re going live, like that takes some kind of mental prep to, to get ready for that. Like I know that the extroverts who are tuning in today are gonna like, have no idea what that means probably, but like for my fellow introverts, it can require a lot of emotional and mental.

Danielle LaBonté:

You have to prepare. <laugh>

Bonnie:

Exactly like ma like if, you know, you’re the kind of person where like, you really get nervous going live or something like that, you’re gonna want to have some notes. You’re gonna wanna hydrate extra. You’re gonna wanna like, do something to get the jitters out. There’s gonna be like a whole routine. And so having that on the calendar and knowing just what’s coming down the pipeline, there’s something like simple, but really beautiful about that. About just kind of like, it’s like, you’re taking the action to set expectations for yourself of, this is what I need to do. This is when I need to do it. So you don’t have to then, you know, like exert the actual energy of figuring out when you’re doing it, you know, how is it gonna happen? What are the steps that you’re gonna take if you map it out in advance that actually can be, um, a really simple way to, to be kinder to yourself while still doing whatever the task is in your business that still needs to get done.

Danielle LaBonté:

Yeah. I agree wholeheartedly. And that I still do that to this day, um, with the stuff that doesn’t even pertain to having to turn myself on or prepare myself for any social media or anything where I feel like people are gonna be like watching me live or anything like that, or my meetings, anything of that nature, I still plan out my day. So I can mentally prepare for the day ahead. I just am that person, I guess it’s the type a in me. Um, so I guess, yeah, like that is why I just wanted to bring awareness to that. Um, if anyone’s tuning in that is just not ready to outsource or delegate just yet, there are different tactics to help, um, alleviate what’s happening in your current schedule and where you can actually put more time into, uh, and what days you don’t wanna put as much time and work into.

Danielle LaBonté:

I take Fridays pretty easy. Like I’m not scheduling meetings on that day. I, I, I wanna take it easy that day. So I I’ve known that for almost a year now. It’s been heaven knowing that I can just work on my business or work slowly or have a longer morning routine on Fridays. Uh, so knowing that that’s how I’ve planned out my weeks and I know guaranteed Friday, I’m taking it easy is so nice to know mentally for myself and that maybe on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, I, I mentally have to prepare to have more meetings or something like that. So yeah, blocking out that time, even to this day, I still do.

Bonnie:

Absolutely. And I think that that’s a fantastic way to just create a schedule that works for you and to create a schedule that prepares you for what is required of you for that day, for that week, for that month. Um, I think there’s something really powerful about knowing what is coming down the pipeline in your life or in your business. So you know how to show up for it. And like, if it’s a high energy thing, if it’s a lower energy thing, if it’s an easy thing or a more challenging thing, you are giving yourself the gift of time to prepare for that, by putting it on the calendar. So I can, yeah, I can totally see how that works for you. I love that.

Danielle LaBonté:

Yeah. And it’s like a seasonal thing too. On top of it, like some seasons are just a little quieter, uh, for your business. So maybe it’s time to book yourself a vacation because it’s a quieter season or, you know, you’ve got a goal set in place that you want to achieve by October or something like that. And, um, so maybe, you know, you, you just need to plan for September to be a bit of a heavier month, but you took a nice slower summer and it’s okay to embrace those slower periods. I used to freak out and spazz out over it. I used to think, oh my God, I should be working. What am I doing? Um, why am I not working nine to 10 hour days? And then over time, you start to think, okay, you know what? I’ve done an analysis on my business and maybe June and may is not my business month. Maybe people are out traveling and they don’t wanna invest in services. So perhaps this is when I’m gonna launch a shop. This is perhaps when I’m going to provide more passive income for myself. This is when I’m gonna maybe launch a course, an online course for people that are prerecorded modules, um, seasons of life se so that you don’t have to hustle 24 7. That is not normal. Absolutely not.

Bonnie:

<laugh> 100% agree could not agree more well, Danielle you’ve shared so much incredible advice and so much just practical experience just from your own journey as well. But one question that I have to ask during every conversation here on the podcast comes back to kind of a final piece of advice or a final piece of encouragement that you wanna share to those who are tuning in today. So my question for you is kind of as like a partying thought, is there any advice or encouragement that you would like to share for those who have been really resonating with our topic today and who are ready to take that first intentional step to elevate their business in a way that will protect their mental health?

Danielle LaBonté:

This is a really, I love how you end off episodes with this question. I think it’s amazing. And it’s a great question because there’s so many pieces of advice that come to my head. But if there’s one thing that I had to learn the hard way about, um, that actually ended up growing my business without even knowing it was learning how to say no. And that means if you don’t feel like the project is a good fit, um, it’s okay to say no, if it’s not working out with a client, it’s okay to say no, it’s okay to say, you’re not going to, if, if you’re not feeling good that day and you don’t wanna have a meeting at 7:30 PM, it is okay to say no. And the reason why I say it’s okay to say no is because you are honoring your boundaries, you are creating boundaries and within, and with creating these boundaries, you are setting yourself up for success and people will come to respect you for it and understand it.

Danielle LaBonté:

Um, especially if you’re speaking professionally about it. And, um, even just coming from an emotional perspective, because we all can empathize with people that need to take time for themselves. We all do. We’re all human. So when we say no to something that might not be working out for us, we are opening the door for bigger and better opportunities for ourself, because we are attracting the kind of energy that we want. We are able, it’s, it’s freedom of speech. We can take on whatever we want at any time. So, um, really, really setting up those boundaries. You will see more business growth than what you even thought of, because I know there’s self doubt and guilt that come with saying no, uh, because I was a yes man for years on end. And once I did start understanding that there are projects that are better suited for me. And I started putting that out there in the world and showing people who I wanted to work with more, that came my way. So I, I definitely just wanna say setting those boundaries and saying no is okay. And the guilt that comes with it goes away over time.

Bonnie:

Mm. Yes. I love that. I feel like that’s the reminder that we all need at every stage of business is like, it’s okay to say no. And I’ll also add that no is a complete sentence. <laugh> it is. You don’t have to explain yourself or make excuses or apologize for asking for what you need and taking what you need, especially when it is in service of your greater good. And then by association, the greater good of your clients. So, absolutely. I’m so, so grateful that you shared that Danielle that’s such great advice.

Danielle LaBonté:

Thank you so much for asking me that, because it was something that I wanted to leave just a little note of, because it, it was something that I even posted back, uh, in the beginning of 2022 at the very, very beginning, I said, this was my lesson of 2021, and my business is completely different today. So I wanted to leave it off with that. So thank you for even asking me about that.

Bonnie:

Mm. I love that. Thank you for sharing that. And it’s amazing to hear that that’s something that has come so full circle for you, and I appreciate you then passing that along and sharing that with us. Now, I know that those who are tuning in today are going to want to learn more about you and your business, and even check out your incredible podcast. So where can folks find you online?

Danielle LaBonté:

Oh my goodness. You can find me everywhere. I am on every channel, but basically if you want to lurk my graphic design studio and anything design related, I also post a lot about mental health on there. Um, you can find me at Daniel Lavante designs over on Instagram, even on Facebook as well, but I have to say I’m more active on Instagram. If you want to explore my services or learn more about the studio, you can visit www.daniellevtedesigns.com. Um, even there, you will discover an online shop that I recently launched earlier on in the summer. So feel free to explore those digital products that can help you curate the business of your dreams when it comes to the podcast or bring in creativity. You can find me on apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, and a lot more. And you would simply just type in, bring up creativity on Google, or search me up on Instagram at bring up creativity

Bonnie:

Amazing. And for those who are tuning in as always, we’ve got you covered with those links. They’re gonna be over in the show notes for today’s episode. So if you want to check out all of Danielle’s spaces on the interwebs, you can just go to brand strategy, podcast.com and click on the latest episode link. And that will take you where you need to go. Um, also it’s worth mentioning that in the show notes, we also will have a full transcript of today’s episode and a full recap, of course, of our biggest talking points, resources and lessons from this conversation. Danielle, thank you again for coming on the show for being vulnerable and sharing part of your story in this way, and for really sharing such actionable advice. I’m so grateful that we got to have this conversation, and I’m just so encouraged that you’re out there and the online business space sharing messages like this for others.

Danielle LaBonté:

Thank you so much, Bonnie, for having me and your kind words I love speaking with like-minded entrepreneurs like yourself. I always love chatting with you. So thank you so much for having me on.

Bonnie:

Absolutely. It’s such a joy friends who’ve been tuning in today. It’s been incredible getting to share this conversation with you. So thank you for, for tuning in, thank you for showing up for this conversation for showing up for yourself, by even pressing play on this conversation, um, as always your, uh, your ratings and subscription and reviews to the podcast, enable us to share this message and get out content like this and, and conversations with incredible people like Danielle out in front of more amazing creatives and designers like you. So thank you for being a part of this space and as always, I’m cheer you on from

Bonnie:

Waco. Thank you so much for joining me today, friend, before you go, I would be so grateful to receive your feedback on the brand strategy podcast. If you enjoyed this episode or the podcast in general has helped you grow your brand. I’d really appreciate it. If you left us a review in iTunes, your positive reviews enable the brand strategy podcast to continue to grow and reach like-minded creatives. Just like you. Thank you for all your support and encouragement as together. We pursue building brands with purpose and intention until next time I’m cheer you on from Waco.

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My name is Bonnie – I’m a brand designer, strategist, and writer which all adds up to one eclectic conglomeration of qualities that enables me to serve you well! Past clients have dubbed me "the Joanna Gaines of brand design," and I've had more than a few call me a dream maker, a game changer, and a design wizard (my Harry Potter-loving heart didn't hate that one, let me tell you!). At the end of the day, I'm a big-hearted creative who will get teary-eyed as you share the heart behind your business; who will lose sleep over the perfect font pairings and color selections to bring your brand to life visually; and who will work tirelessly to empower, encourage, and equip you to share your work with the world intentionally. 

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