295 | Planning For What’s Possible: A Client Case Study With Ellen Nystrom

295 | Planning For What’s Possible: A Client Case Study With Ellen Nystrom
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Client Case Study:

As many small business owners do, interior design firm owner Ellen Nystrom dreamed of taking a sabbatical from her business. That vision felt even more desirable post-Covid when she struggled with burnout but it also felt less attainable. Ellen perceived a sabbatical in which her business stayed healthy in her absence and her clients remained happy without her there to walk them through decision making as implausible, if not impossible.

But she kept thinking and she kept dreaming. Ellen started imagining what a sabbatical could do for her mental health and mindset, what it could do as far as helping her show up her best in her business upon her return. She hired me as her coach and explored how she could possibly prepare to be gone from the business routines and structure that helped her be successful for a long period. Ellen made up her mind and set the goal of taking a two-month sabbatical during the summer, win or lose. Throughout her early years, summer had become synonymous with stepping away from routines and trying something new so summer seemed like the perfect time of year to test the sabbatical waters. Ellen entered the planning phase, tweaked her calendar, rescheduled meetings, stopped taking on new projects, and forced herself to be okay with extending timelines in the name of work/life balance.

Sabbatical-wise, Ellen built in a lot of travel, a lot of rest, and also a lot of flexibility into her plan. She utilized the principle of bookending to create freedom in her days and worked with me to diminish the fears that were clouding her decision-making. Ellen got clarity on what she wanted to get from her sabbatical, structured her schedule to ensure she did just that, aimed to experiment with getting into her creative flow faster, and delegated to her team members who were tasked with holding down the firm.

The mindset work, scheduling, and strategic planning paid off. Ellen achieved her goal of taking a sabbatical and having a healthy business to return to. Her business did not come crashing down like she originally feared. Instead, she returned to her business with renewed energy and focus and I coached her through a progressive return, including such strategies as not overpromising meetings right away and taking her time to get back into the flow of each project, then setting new milestones.

Ellen and I continued working together following her sabbatical. I provided coaching support dissecting her calendar, hiring a new team member, and determining the right pacing of her meetings. We solved for the immense pressure and build up ahead of meetings that had Ellen dreading them, despite always enjoying her time with her clients during the actual meetings. Through experimentation and with a bit of encouragement, Ellen learned she can push things out instead of pushing through and riding it out just because she had set deadlines, thus reducing her overwhelm. Ellen no longer believes time management is something other people just know how to do and she doesn’t. Instead, Ellen has vastly improved her time management and leadership skills which has enabled her to reopen her Reinvent Your Room service package. That package is not only lucrative for the business but it can also be handled by her junior team members without Ellen having to step in, so she remains free to work on her high-value activities that only she can do.

Through her dreaming, planning, and execution of her sabbatical, Ellen discovered that the impossible can be made possible. Once she believed that in her heart and mind, her new line of thinking allowed Ellen and her husband to purchase a weekend getaway cabin, another long-held vision board dream of Ellen’s. It’s quite amazing what one can achieve when they replace their self-limiting beliefs with positive thinking and get the support they need to execute confidently.

In this episode of Productivity Straight Talk, I sit down for a client case study interview with my client who is the owner of interior design firm Ellen Nystrom Design. Ellen and I take a detailed look back at her successful planning for, execution of, and return from her two-month sabbatical. 

What You'll Discover In This Episode:

  • Ellen’s Fears She Dealt With Prior To And During The Sabbatical
  • The Work She Did To Overcome Those Fears
  • How I Played A Role As Her Business Coach 
  • How Ellen Defines Productivity Now Vs. Prior To Her Time Away From her Business 
  • Ways Taking Her Sabbatical Impacted Ellen And Her Business  
  • What She Learned About The Impossible 
  • So Much More!

I sit down for a indepth client case study interview with the owner of interior design firm Ellen Nystrom Design. Ellen and I take a look back at her successful planning for, execution of, and return from a two-month sabbatical. Like many of us, Ellen had been feeling burned out post-Covid and while stepping away from her business for two months seemed impossible at first glance, her prudent planning and support helped her make it possible and then, her reality.

Episode Links & Resources:

Episode Links & Resources:

About Guest:

Ellen Nystrom and her team specialize in finding thoughtful ways to bridge classic and modern styles, creating spaces that strike a balance between bold choices and understated sophistication. They have built a reputation for excellent client care and the ability to reimagine modern interiors that are inviting, elegant, and personalized to each client.
Eternally fascinated with the human experience of design, and its power to evoke an emotional response, Ellen draws on an array of influences to design personalized homes for her clients, and especially loves the challenge of integrating family heirlooms in unexpected ways. Common threads are clean lines, a gracious flow, regard for artwork and craftsmanship, and the impactful – though not overpowering – use of color. With these underlying principles, Ellen skillfully blends classic and modern styles to create forever homes that nurture and delight her clients.

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Amber De La Garza

About the author

Amber De La Garza is The Productivity Specialist! Amber helps small business owners maximize profits, reduce stress, and make time for what matters most by improving their time management and elevating their productivity! Amber is a sought after coach, trainer, speaker, writer, host of the Small Business Straight Talk Podcast, and creator of Leverage Lab®.

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