Business can be stressful, entrepreneurship is tough, solopreneurs can be lonely. What are some healthy habits you can acquire for you and your business?
1. Time management.
You’ve heard it many times before I’m sure. Time management as a solopreneur is one of the more difficult aspects to get to grips with. Yes, you can set your own hours, but that shouldn’t mean that you work until after midnight every night, or that you work every weekend. There may be times or circumstances that mean you need to do that occasionally, but did you not start your own business to have freedom, both financial and time? So, if you’re working from 8am until after midnight every day, with a few hours off in the afternoon (if you’re lucky) when are you getting the recommended sleep needed? Plus, are you really sure you’re working all those hours? If you work from home it’s easy to be distracted by the washing machine, oven, TV, even your bed! Not to mention the people that drop in unexpectedly because they don’t realise that you’re actually working, because, let’s face it, you’re probably still in your pyjamas!
I find a good “brain dump”, getting my pending activities down on paper and then turning on an alarm (try using the Pomodoro technique) gets me through each task. If it’s not written down, it’s not a priority and shouldn’t be given time until all the others are done. Obviously, depending on your business, things come up, clients call and their problems need to be taken care of in a timely manner too. Prioritising helps both you and them.
2. Get dressed!
That brings me on to my next point. To be more productive in your home-based business, you need to be in the right mindset, and that includes the clothes you’re wearing. If you’re in your pjs, you’re less likely to think like a CEO. I’m not suggesting that you sit around your house in your best suit either, but a happy medium is preferable. In our business we have conference calls frequently with allies in other parts of the world, and I for one wouldn’t want them to see me in my pyjamas!
3. Pay yourself first.
This is a tough one. You have bills to pay, maybe even staff, but if you’re not getting a return for your 70+ hours of work a week, you’ll start to get demotivated and wonder what you’re doing it all for. Treat yourself from time to time (a nice meal out, a new outfit etc.) and have a physical reminder of what you’ve achieved.
4. Network, network, network.
Your business won’t grow if no one knows about it. Fact. So, if you’re not letting people know who you are, what you do, and how you can help them, how will they learn about you? Yes, word-of-mouth is still very effective, but that will only work once you have networked and gained your first few clients. Check where you can go locally to network – this also counters another issue many solopreneurs face of loneliness – and get out there. There are also many opportunities to network online through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. Find which one works best for you and your business (also take into account that online ones generally happen between 8 and 11pm GMT).
5. Remember your “why”.
We all have a reason to start our businesses. Don’t lose track of that reason in the hustle and bustle of every day work life. There will be days when it could be “easier” to have a “normal” job, but is that what you really want? If your WHY is your kids, imagine missing out on their sports day, or having to take a day off from your limited number allowed each year to go and watch them in the school play. If your reason is time freedom, track your time and make sure you’re not taking on more than you really need to.
6. Review your analytics.
As mentioned in a previous blog, your analytics are the window to your followers. They help you see who is watching your updates, who is visiting your website, who needs your goods and services. Reviewing your analytics from time to time keeps you on the right track.
There are so many new apps, social media platforms, ways of doing things that we could all get left behind by the next generation if we’re not constantly upskilling. If you make jewellery, for example, you might want to learn how to take better photographs so that your products can be shown off better. If you don’t have the time (or patience) to learn a new skill, my next point is for you.
There are many people out there who already know how to do what you don’t, so why spend your precious time struggling to do something you don’t enjoy? How much is your time worth to you? How much time can you afford to take away from the everyday running of your business to do menial tasks? If paperwork is your downfall, hire a VA (Virtual Assistant); if it’s accounts, get a bookkeeper. Once you see how invaluable they are to your company (and how much time they free up for you to do other things) you’ll be glad you took the step to outsource.
9. Look after yourself
Self-care is very important. If you don’t look after yourself, who else will? If your business is just you, and you get sick, then how will the business continue? Eating healthy foods, drinking lots of water and doing exercise are just some ways to look after yourself. Taking the occasional day off too is good for you – no one can work 24/7 and survive. Our bodies aren’t wired to work that much.
I have heard some entrepreneurs say they work from sun up to sun down, but we’re in the UK, and during the winter, the sun doesn’t come up until almost 9am, setting again before 4pm with the opposite in the summer months (usually only 4 hours of “darkness”) so this simply isn’t feasible. Maybe in other countries with 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of darkness each day it wouldn’t be so bad!
That brings me on to this very important point. 8 hours of sleep each night helps your brain rejuvenate and gets your creative juices flowing. Less than that may affect your business (and it definitely affects your metabolism, possibly causing you to gain weight). Obviously, everyone is different, and some may say they need less sleep than others, but it is the minority that can survive on less than 6 hours per night. Sleeping also helps fend off bugs and illness, so think of it as a part of your health insurance policy.
Are there any other habits you can think of? Please let us know, and we can include them in a future blog.