I'll be the first to admit that the last couple of weeks have been hard for me. Business has been great, but as a human being it's been a little like wading through clay. I had my last wisdom tooth extracted two and a half weeks ago and got a dry socket. I was in so much pain I wasn't sleeping. I was tired, run down, and wanted to hide and work from my room. As an entrepreneur - I can do that. So I did. And it was just what the doctor ordered (doctor me, that is.).
When you own or operate a small business there are ebbs and there are flows. There are surges of new clients, fresh ideas, bad ideas, time wasters, and jobs so wonderful that time stands still. I have been so blessed this year. There has been a lot of sprinting, pursuing ideas, and pursuing integrity and authenticity. I can honestly say I love what I am doing and I am so excited about being at the helm of its' creation. Since we started in February, we've had the opportunity to work with over 35 businesses - fast approaching 40. I've had the opportunity to empower others with the Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan and giving speeches on branding and authenticity... and if you haven't heard the thrilling news about Forbes - I am the first person in Saskatchewan to join an exclusive Forbes council. Learn more about the journey to the Forbes Coaches Council here, or see when the Honourable Tina Beaudry-Mellor announced it in the Saskatchewan Legislature here!
It's been an honour and a thrill; an uphill climb. 16 hour days and three tiny kids (they're 6, 4, and 3), days off forgone, sacrifices made. I underwent major surgery this May, and it slowed me down for a while - but I'm not one to stay down. Every once and a while though, I hit a wall and crash. This is not a woe is me story - this is the story of grace for yourself! One of my coaches, Candace Sazynski, reminded me of this just last week.
I think of myself like a sprinter. If I'm going to clean, I'm going to tear the house apart. If I'm going to build a business - I'm going to slay. I run hard, then I catch my breath. My husband, on the other hand, is an endurance runner; he maintains, balances, and keeps a steady pace. It's a rabbit and the hare type scenario - and there is nothing wrong with either - you just have to work the way that works for you and respect the way you need to work (and find someone who balances you out to partner with).
Here are some of my tips to maintain momentum & take care of yourself.
1. Spend Time in The Clouds
Business owners often are dreamers. We are visionaries. To be fullfilled we have to spend time in the clouds - most of the time if you can. I touch down to reality every once and a while - as is exactly what happened two weeks ago. My business is growing so fast I started to freak out. "What if...." questions can get the better of you if you don't shut them up. I know we can't throw caution completely to the wind - but if you can trust someone else to anchor you, get up there and soar.
2. Learn Something New
I'm obsessed with learning. I pour into my clients all day - so when I take some time to pour into me by taking an online class or listening to a book - I'm energized, excited, inspired. I can't sit still, so I listen to books while I do something creative with my hands - like this last weekend when I painted a mural on my son's wall and listened to Originals: How Non-Conformists Change The World by Adam Grant. Studies show many entrepreneurs have similar instincts - and one of the common threads is a love for learning. Fill your tank with something that interests you.
3. Cater to YOUR OWN Needs
Be the boss to yourself that you want to be to your team. Respect yourself. Respect the way you work. For example, I'm an introvert. The other week I had three days of teaching in a row - and I did not want to see anyone for the next five days. I LOVE teaching, and I love the people I work with. It is a true passion of mine - and - it zaps my energy. I need to hibernate for about five days after. Planning jobs right after this intense burst is a silly choice for me. Remember how you work and make allowances for what you need. Trying to fit yourself in a box to meet unrealistic expectations is an unnecessary stressor.
4. Draw Boundaries
Treating your clients well is a key to being successful - but you are the core of your business. If you don't protect that core, you won't be of any use to those clients. I challenge you to put some space around yourself. Set up an autoresponder in the evenings or weekends, let them know how you would like them to communicate with you, be clear about office hours. If you are not - you will fall into the pitfall of being overly accessible and unbalanced. Living without boundaries is a great way to burn yourself out and frustrate the people you love. It's a challenge, but you're a fighter. I feel it.
5. Hire Out Your Weaknesses
Did you know it is generally more expensive to struggle through something you are not good at than to hire it out? Think about it.
Let's say for example you charge $100/hr (easy math...) and the person you would hire costs the same.
You spend 5 hours trying to figure it out
You are exhausted at the end of it
It cost $500 and is done poorly
You hire a pro who takes .5 hours
You're both energized at the end
It cost you $50 and it's done right
That's a savings of money and time! No brainer!
6. Create Processes that Serve Your Working Style
I really believe in hiring the right fit for positions. Create synergy in your team that keeps everyone buzzing happily along. Learn more from Warren at Instinctive Solutions. Likewise, create processes that work for you - whatever your quirks may be - and for your team. Make your life easier, not harder, with efficient processes.
7. Use Technology To Increase Efficiencies
Have you ever thought about using auto-responders to market to your clients? I have a hard time keeping up with my inbox as I pioneer my business so I started putting different messages in my vacation responder - from letting people know I'm on the road to that I'm busy creating today and zoned right into that. I don't live in my inbox. Use automation with forms on your website, and systems in your team. You have tools in your reach that can save you hours. Go for it! Use them.
Get your Website to Work For You
One way to catch a break is to get your website working for you. How? With a strong strategy and ongoing content creation, you can set up a website that provides a measurable return on investment. That's right. Measurable. If you can get your website working for you, it will generate leads while you sleep - or take those extra days off in the summer to enjoy those kiddos. Life is worth living - and you don't have to do all the hard work on your own.