This week’s How To Guide is taken from a post I wrote last week about how to manage life as an indie business owner. Modern life is a busy enough affair but there is a unique set of elements in the life of an indie business owner that can complicate things somewhat.
We have to wear so many hats – marketing, finances, producing, delivering excellent customer service, innovating, planning, family, home life and so on.
We are all in the same boat. We are all nailing it on some days and juggling jelly on other days.
I have started by sharing my own experiences of the last week or so and then head down to some ways to make life a little more balanced and less about headless chickens.
I started to run my own business and to be self employed as a way of doing life better. At the time, I wanted to simply be with my babies and try to earn some money at the same time. My corporate life was not conducive to living in any sort of sensible way that might include sleep, smiling or good health. In fact, I recently saw someone describe a corporate career as a bootcamp – really useful to fill a CV, gain experience and perhaps get a mortgage but ultimately soul destroying if carried on for too long.
Over the years my business has grown and the work I do has expanded as has my family. We are now a family of 5 including two brilliant teenage boys and a rather spoilt Border Terrier.
However, over the years I have worked less to do life better and have sometimes slipped into working to make life worse. I love what I do and I love the people I get to work with, but a work ethic/massive corporate hangover/infection from life in the fast lane, sometimes get the better of me. I lose track of what I want to achieve and I get bogged down with working harder instead of smarter.
So – why write about it? Independent business owners are making a statement in life. They are choosing to make life more beautiful for themselves and for their customers. They care, they are are passionate and they add value to life. However, this life is not always easy and almost never a straight path to success.
I meet lots of indie business owners who had or have similar dreams to me. After all, you don’t become a business owner without some thought, intention or desire to change the way you live. However, I experience a lots of them struggling in similar ways. Feeling overwhelmed by the speed of life and digital marketing demands is common. Feeling torn between family and work is also mentioned a lot. There is also lots of evidence of people slipping into a ‘work until you drop’ mentality in order to create the business of their dreams. In a week when nearly all the business owners I have met have felt the same, I found that their experiences mirrored some of mine.
This week we also had a family health scare. Things are ok but we did endure the very frightening experience of dialling 999 and spending some long hours in A&E. It was a shock. It reminded me that life doesn’t do that to you to not take any notice. It was a kick up the backside and a huge nudge in the ribs that life can slow down and be successful and life is there to be enjoyed not endured.
The final reason I wanted to write this is that this week I was sent a calendar reminder that I had signed up to live streaming of the The Do Lectures– something I had forgotten I had done. This amazing organisation that calls itself ‘the encouragement network’ and does many things with the central purpose of facilitating and inspiring people to ‘Do Life’ their own way. Their 4 day festival includes business inspiration, talks, workshops, music, food, camping and much more to remind those taking part about what’s important in their life and how to experience that daily. Talk about synchronicity.
So….as the week draws to a close, I am reminded that life is just as it should be and everything we learn and re learn is good.
Being an indie business owner is a journey of discovery and delight but it isn’t an automatic cure for previous work practice. Creating a life that you love takes effort and intention. It isn’t about willpower but about daily habits that you build into your life. When this happens, the business you deliver is better, bolder and brighter.
Here are 3 great ways to find balance and do life as an indie business owner.
- Take time off regularly! This is obvious but much harder to do easily. You won’t create a better business by exhausting yourself and avoiding rest days. Book days off in the diary and stick to them. You will plan for the days off, get organised and appreciate the space.
- Never mistake your business for your life. Many of us are doing our own business as a life choice or dream. This is a fabulous way of earning a living but don’t let doing your business replace a life. It is all too easy to allow a full & enjoyable entrepreneurs life to slip into all work and no play. Stop and smell the flowers sometimes.
- Always ask for help. This one can be tricky and certainly something I’ve not been good at. However, you can not do it alone. You may not have money enough to pay for help but you can ask for feedback, advice and top tips from fellow business people, friends and experts online.