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4 ways to build a more joyful business

“What is the point of living if we’re not having joy?” That’s the question Debbie Clarke, aka Debbiedooodah posed at September’s LinkingOut Club. If you want your business to be about more than just paying the bills every month, then this article is for you.

Debbie is a business coach, helping people build joyful businesses. She also lectures in digital marketing at Nottingham Trent University, and runs a network for inspiring, ambitious women called Growth Co Lab

What does a good business look like for you?

Debbie shared four fundamental areas you can use to explore what your joyful business might look like: flow, values, mindset, and goals.


Debbie said: “This describes a state where there’s a balance between being challenged and our skills. When you’re out of flow, you can enter boredom and apathy, and when you’re out of flow the other way, you’re probably being challenged too much so that you start feeling anxious, and you start feeling like you’re going to get found out. To build a happy, profitable, joyful business, we want to find this middle point where we’re in flow.”

She recommended this TED Talk by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi if you would like to find out more about flow.

Seek “the state of Just Right” where you are “doing what we love and doing what we’re good at”.


Knowing what your values are is essential to creating a joyful business. If you don’t know your core values and what is non-negotiable for you, you can end up in situations that don’t feel right. 

Debbie shared this list of values to give you some ideas:

An important trap to avoid when doing this exercise is: don’t create a set of values you think somebody wants. They need to be the ones that matter to you.

Then think about how you can live by them day to day. How will your values inform your decisions?


Debbie said: “Those self-limiting beliefs that we tell ourselves can hold ourselves back and can literally stop us from building joyful, stable, profitable, successful businesses… I really want you to start recognising those self-limiting beliefs.”

“Self-limiting beliefs also affect our behaviour. They might show up in ways like not being visible and just not showing up… Maybe you might find yourself dropping your prices, or over delivering for a client and being 24/7 to the point where you’re not really enjoying your weekends and your evenings because you’re sitting there answering emails.”

Debbie spoke about the work of Carole Dweck and the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. 

She explained: “The fixed mindset makes us think there is not the opportunity for change… This will hold us back from being our best selves. What we really want is a growth mindset where we’re like, failure’s great, testing things out is great, because that gives us an opportunity to learn. Instead of looking at successful people and feeling bad about ourselves, we look at successful people and they inspire us to go out there and be better versions of ourselves.”

Debbie shared this list of questions you can ask yourself that helps with what’s known as ‘conscious belief change’. 

Set goals

Where do you want to be in six months’ time? Debbie encouraged everyone to set goals for 2022, whether that’s working 4 days a week, launching something, deciding how much revenue you want to bring in, or something else. What do you want to achieve?

Debbie said: “I’ve seen time and time again that when we’re more specific about where we want to go then people, things, and ideas start coming in front of us to take us where we want to go. Being conscious about where we want to go means that we can start recognising signs and people who can get us there, and then we can start grabbing those opportunities.”

Give yourself permission to get what you want

Debbie asked us all to think about what we want and also to think about what we will need in the future. Give yourself holiday and sick pay. Get a pension. Work out how much additional revenue you need to bring in to make those possible. 

More tips:

  • Knowing what you are focusing on for the next 6 months enables you to say ‘no’ to things which are not a good fit. 
  • Create a ‘ta daa’ list at the end of the day showing you all the things you have achieved. Debbie said: “Our brain automatically goes to what we haven’t yet done and we forget to congratulate ourselves on all the amazing achievements we have.”
  • Work out when in your day (or your week) you are most creative or when you will get tasks done you might put off, like admin. 
  • Read Draw A Better Business by Cara Holland
  • Debbie gives herself a reward every time she gets a new client. She also reviews each year and thinks about what worked and what she wants to change.

What are you going to do to make your business more joyful?
You can watch the recording of Debbie’s talk on this website. Please sign up for next month’s LinkingOut Club. It’s a great place to learn and network – and it’s free!

Ditch the dull keynote speeches in favour of fun-filled, laughter-inducing groups and seminars that get the audience involved from the get-go.

I’m bubbly and vivacious by nature, which you’ll find out in my presentations. 

I strive to appeal to those across sectors and disciplines, whether it be to those in more traditional professional roles, such as senior executive management, or those who are solopreneurs, freelancers or working in creative industries.

I ended up leaving my day job behind and achieved a diploma in Social Media Marketing. I set up Sarah Clay Social to help businesses promote themselves on social media. While using various platforms to promote my business, one stood out – LinkedIn. I seemed to attract new clients without really trying. All without a cheesy sales pitch and just by being myself. 

I was astonished by the success I had with LinkedIn and couldn’t get over how handy my childhood techniques had been. I realised that all the tools I’d learnt as a child were immensely useful! Soon after, I realised that other business owners weren’t using LinkedIn to its fullest potential. 

That’s why I’ve made it my mission to help business owners, just like you, harness the power of LinkedIn and be more successful in business.

Are you ready to leverage LinkedIn’s potential?