Your bottom or your bottom line?

Note: This is not my bottom.

I’m a solopreneur and I make my own schedule. The other day I was talking with my coach about exercise. We were coming up with promises I could stick to in terms of moving my body several times a week. She suggested I do more cardio. I suggested I didn’t have time. She suggested I was making excuses. I agreed.

The reality is, I own my time. I’m extremely grateful for this. Many people ask me what’s the best thing about owning my own business. My answer is the best AND the worst thing about having my own business is that I have no boss. No one tells me what to do except me. It’s a beautiful thing to be in charge of my time and myself. It also sometimes really sucks . . . like when I’m feeling lazy or cranky or bratty. There are times when we all need to be told what to do. There are times when it actually is a huge relief when someone tells me what to do. I make decisions all day long and my deciding muscle is really strong. Sometimes she needs a rest. Sometimes she needs to surrender to the brilliance of another human being. (This is one of the reasons I hired a coach. Yes, I pay someone to be my boss.)

The hilarious thing about my excuse to my coach about not having time to exercise is that I said it as though someone other than me is behind the wheel. I know how importance exercise (daily, if possible) is to my overall well-being. I practice personal growth as a business-building strategy and I know how much more smoothly things go in my business life when I feel good. Exercise makes me feel good. When I feel good, I do good business. Therefore, moving my body is theoretically an important piece of my business plan.

And yet, so frequently it seems more important to clean out my inbox than to head to yoga class. I get very focused on a single task (such as writing a blog post like this one) and I deep-six the workout because in that moment my productivity, or bottom line, seems more important. It seems like I should spend as much of my time on income-generating activities as possible. After all, who am I if I’m not uber-productive and doing all the time? (This is a rhetorical question which shall most likely be answered in a future post.)

The great irony is that working my bottom in the gym actually improves my bottom line. I tout the business benefits of feeling good and making sure that one’s own cup is full before serving others because you can’t give of an empty cup. There is a part of me that knows doing a Sun Salutation instead of writing one last email actually makes me money, albeit indirectly. I do a Sun Salutation (or several along with a whole bunch of other postures, leaving me sweaty, blissed out, in my body, and stretched) and I feel better; I get on the phone with a potential team member and I sound uplifting, fun, and happy; they want to join my business to feel that way, too, and my business grows, along with my bottom line. (Plus my bottom gets a good work out too.)

What I’m saying is that there are so many things that we can do as entrepreneurs to grow our bottom line that don’t actually look like “work.” The intangibles are often the most valuable assets a business has; a brand’s attractiveness is often more energetic than palpable. And this attractiveness mostly comes from the people behind a brand. And you know what makes people happy, and therefore more attractive? Exercise. And meditating. And eating healthy food, going for walks, sitting in the sun, taking bubble baths, laughing, spending time with loved ones, laying in the grass, skinny dipping, having sex, taking naps. Are any of those “income generating”? Well, I suppose it depends on what line of work you’re in, but I know I don’t generate income directly from any of those activities (with the exception of spending time with loved ones because I genuinely do love the people I’m blessed to be in business with).

If you’re a business owner, or even if you’re not, the next time you’re looking to increase your bottom line, think outside the spreadsheet. Look to things that bring you pleasure. Research sustainable activities that release endorphins in the brain (i.e., activities besides consuming drugs, alcohol, and sugar, which is not sustainable). Add pleasure to your business plan. Work your bottom to grow your bottom line. Take a nap to increase your net worth. Have some fun to become financially free.

Your bottom or your bottom line? The answer, I think, is both.

(Thank you for reading. I wrote this post as a reminder to myself that work-related busy-ness is not necessarily next to Godliness.)

This post is part of Bindu Wiles’ 21.5.800 project.


  • this is really timely – i love reading your entries because they’re so relatable and approachable. i’ve just started to learn to meditate and i just started working for myself. and guess what, i’m really sneaky and i don’t like being told what to do. When I’m anxious about the future of my career I want to be engaging in activities that actually feel like I’m moving forward – even cleaning the bathroom seems more productive than sitting around doing nothing. But meditating isn’t doing nothing, it’s a state of non-doing. And once I actually sit and do it, I find that the rest of the day I actually have more time to do the other things. I’m not sure how that works – it’s freaky and awesome. The being centered and more present might have something to do with it.

    You just inspired me to watch a yoga dvd.

  • Yes, Amen sister. I have thought this for a while and agree wholeheartedly. Thank you for the reminder.

    Karyn Shipley

  • Just this morning I was on a long brisk walk, totally blissed out, reflecting on the resistance I’ve felt throughout my life related to exercise… and thrilled to be feeling none of it (in that particular moment)! Yeah baby… anything I can do to get my body pumping naturally produced feel-good chemicals into my brain is good for business! ‘Cause I take ME out into the world to meet greet and request business… I definitely want to project that ‘I want what she’s having’ vibe in the marketplace of life. Thanks Kate for another fantastic post!

  • I have written about worshipping at the temple busy: how we, as a society, think being busy means being productive and is therefore, right – when if I look at how it really works, the most productive thing is often to stop doing whatever it is and do the yoga, take the walk, do the other (seems somewhat contrarian) thing.

    It is great to read you as a part of 215800 ~

  • jessica

    you’re so RAD. i read all your posts my dear AND i have been following Bidu’s as well. She’s amazing. So are you. totally can relate to eveything you write and appreciate you for being honest and an inspiration. i’m working on getting my stuff out there also. in my own time.
    thanks for sharing you.


  • Resistance to exercise? What are you talking about it? I don’t get it…perhaps because it needs to be an outside thing.

  • Oh, yes! I hear you! I can *always* talk myself out of going to yoga (even though I love it and feel AMAZING when I am finished) to finish up an article or do some research. I feel like I should get my work done before I’ve earned my yoga. Which, I know intellectually, is total crap. Doing yoga is part of my work as a happy human.

    I have been thinking about going to yoga twice a day next week… partly because I’ve always wanted to go deeper into my practice and partly because my internal monsters think it is a terrible idea and that I’ll be wasting time I could be using to do work. I want to show them (and myself) that I can do more yoga AND still be productive.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • susan hull

    Thank you, Kate!! This is a great posting!

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