Life happens, right? I can't predict the ups and downs in life any more than I can predict how successful I'll be, but I do know what my life is like currently. As an entrepreneur, it's all too easy to set my work aside to deal with personal issues. I am the boss, after all. I'm in charge, but if I allow life to dictate how I run my business, then I'll be doomed. I know this from experience!
Is Your Business Model Appropriate for Your Life?
A few years ago I jumped on the direct sales bandwagon of having a home-based clothing boutique. Sure, I did it because it was something to do with my daughter and I didn't actually have to invite folks into my home - I could sell online. But, it was still not the right model for me.
It was financially draining and physically demanding to pack and ship and unpack and price and then be on live streams to sell. Not to mention taking photos of the clothing.
When I realized that I didn't love the business model, I switched to something that I do love and it fits in my crazy life too.
The best defense is a good offense.
Make sure your plans for entrepreneurial life will match up with your current lifestyle. For me, I have to account for the fact that history proves I'm sick. A Lot. It also shows me that my child will randomly need extra support because of her autism and type 2 diabetes. Then, there's my aging mother who can't walk much anymore.
Now, my business model allows me to duck and swerve as needed. If I need to rest one day, or take extra supplies to my kiddo's school, it's generally not a big deal. I have few deadlines that can't be moved.
Running a business takes some practice.
I quit beating myself up over not feeling well and not doing enough. I work when I feel well enough if that's at midnight or 7am. Since I don't have to make sure an order goes to the post office in time for delivery, I'm not so stressed out.
Respect Your Business
If you want others to respect your working hours, you have to do the same. Set clear boundaries with yourself and your loved ones. Make sure everyone, including yourself, are clear on when it's appropriate to interrupt you and when things can wait.
Think about it. If you were on the 9-to-5 job and your child called from school with a headache, you'd likely tell them to stick it out and wait until you get home. Now, just because you're the boss, doesn't mean you need to drop everything and run to the rescue. Sure, you can if that's what you want to do, however, you are setting a precedent. Make sure you respect your business enough to make it a success, and the first step is to run it like an actual business.
You Aren't Responsible for Everyone and Everything
Life is going to seem like it's hurling torpedoes at you left and right, especially when you're trying to run a business. You are desperately trying to focus on your business, but life and the people in it, are playing on your emotions and laying the guilt on pretty thick. Don't fall for that trap!
You aren't responsible to fix everything for everyone all the time! You aren't at their beck and call, and if you give them an inch, life will take a mile. If you're in the position to work from anywhere, kudos to you. Some entrepreneurs don't have that luxury and need to run a store or reach out to sales leads, etc.
Even if you have to limp your way through some situations, keep pushing forward. Train the people in your life to be resourceful and offer solutions rather than problems that only you can remedy. With a little creative thinking and supportive family and friends, this too shall pass.
Don't Make a Mountain Out of a Molehill
All too often, running a business feels a lot like you are running yourself into the ground. You spend countless hours building up your business. When you are done with your work for the day, you just don't have the brain power left to deal with much of anything. You've put in so much time and effort, when something small happens we turn it into an enormous travesty. Be rational. Don't jump to conclusions. Try to see things from all vantage points.
Most importantly, decide what you can learn from the hiccup. If you turn it into a lesson, the next time something similar happens you will be ready for it.
Building a business takes a lot of discipline and resiliency. You've got to bounce back, and quickly, if you want to be successful. Being a business owner is going to test you like you've never been tested before, but the rewards are phenomenal and well worth the struggles. Life isn't going to stop just because your focus has shifted. In fact, it will probably feel like issues are coming at warp speed and they seem to be multiplying faster than you can combat them.
Take one step at a time, one issue at a time and one day at a time, and don't forget to take care of you before overwhelm takes over. Building your business should be fun and exciting. When you are faced with the bumps in the road, go back to your happy place and remember why you started your business in the first place.