More than skin deep: Cultivating beauty in your business

by | Aug 19, 2013

lillies500A few weeks ago one of the participants in the Profit Alchemy course shared this quote from William Morris:

If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

It’s a rule that applies equally well to business.

Beauty inspires, nourishes, and sustains you. It connects you to the natural world. It’s an organizing principle that creates order and meaning.

And too often it gets overlooked in the effort to make a living at the work you love. And, as Galway Kinnell wrote:

Sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness.

Where can you reteach your work its loveliness? Consider your business. Its surroundings. Its systems. Its relationships. What can you do to create or restore beauty wherever it is lacking?

Here are 50 ways to do that, in no particular order. Some are obvious; some may surprise you. I know from experience that all of them work.

50 ways to create or restore beauty in your business

  1. Take an office spa day to de-clutter and organize.
  2. Create an attractive email signature.
  3. Save 10% of everything you earn.
  4. Place flowers or plants in your workspace.
  5. Balance your checking account (!)
  6. Empty your email inbox.
  7. Record an appealing voice mail message.
  8. Play music that makes you feel wonderful.
  9. Diffuse essential oils.
  10. Let go of clients that don’t fit.
  11. Delete the backlog of ezines and newsletters that you haven’t had time to read.
  12. Light a candle before every client meeting.
  13. Clean the windows in your workspace.
  14. Clean your computer screen and keyboard.
  15. Set a timer to remind you to stretch every 15 minutes.
  16. Stop for a real lunch.
  17. Hang photos and art in your workspace. If you can’t afford them, barter with an artist.
  18. Hire a designer to make a template for your products.
  19. Get a professional photo. It doesn’t need to be a conventional headshot.
  20. Rewrite your bio so it reflects who you truly are.
  21. Make a list of the five biggest time-wasters in your day. Stop doing them.
  22. Delegate tasks that you don’t excel at.
  23. Hire someone to clean your workspace.
  24. Use a labeling machine to beautify your files.
  25. Drench your workspace with color using colorful push pins, file folders, sticky notes.
  26. Buy a colorful yoga ball and use it as a desk chair.
  27. Give your Web site a facelift.
  28. Write a snail-mail thank you card at least once a week.
  29. Take a walk in the middle of the day, even in the rain.
  30. Give yourself real days off.
  31. Stop doing things that make you cranky or crazy.
  32. Ask for help when you are confused or stuck.
  33. Spend an hour learning more about your computer and its programs.
  34. Schedule your creative projects when you are at your best.
  35. Create a vision board that depicts the life and work you are building.
  36. Choose a vision for your business that is so big you have to rely on a Higher Power to bring it to life.
  37. Notice when you are bitching at yourself and gently stop
  38. Paint a chair, a wall, a table.
  39. Keep track of everything you spend for a month so you can invest in the things that bring you joy and stop investing in those that don’t.
  40. Go on a time diet. For one week don’t complain about time, how fast it passes, how much there is, how you spend it.
  41. Polish your desk.
  42. Empty the recycling and dust bins.
  43. Raise your prices at least 10%.
  44. Stop and do all of your billing now.
  45. Keep track of when bills are due so you never have to worry about whether or not you are paying them on time.
  46. Figure out how to filter your emails so that only the most important land in your inbox.
  47. Unsubscribe from 90% of the email lists you are on. (Um, I hope you will stay on this one.)
  48. Stop comparing yourself to others for 24 hours.
  49. Wear something you love to work.
  50. Keep a photo of you as a shining child on your desk.

Beauty is not just lovely, it’s practical. In A Chorus of Stones, Susan Griffin writes:

What always seems miraculous is when aesthetic necessities yield an insight which otherwise I would have missed.

Who knows what insights you might have into your life and work as you beautify your business?

NOTE: My friend Philippa Rowlands is doing deep work around beauty and business. You can listen to her radio show click here.
Photo credit:karlequin via Flickr.