Many people start their home based businesses with tremendous excitement and delight. Yet after some time on the job, they may start experiencing second thoughts and discouragement.
They find themselves tired of the business and burned out.
Being burned out is no fun. It’s especially no fun if you are a self-employed solopreneur! You need to stay on-the-ball in order to run your business successfully.
The best way to overcome this energy and productivity sapper, is to take steps to overcome it before it happens. So let’s look at some ways to do that.
Okay, let’s be honest. You love your work. You know that your mission is important, and you are thrilled to be helping people as you move ahead. (And, of course, you celebrate as the money begins to flow in).
Yet anything which we do day in and day out – with no breaks – will get tiresome from time to time. That’s why we need to focus on avoiding this before it happens.
So here are a few things to avoid.
- Taking on Too Much Work –
When you are just starting out, you are so happy to get any work at all that you can’t imagine too much ever coming your way.
Yet after you’ve been in business for awhile, this can happen. And it’s a trap for countless solopreneurs. Often this is driven by the fear that at some point, they won’t have orders coming in. So they take on a huge amount of work whenever it’s available
The irony is that this tends to result in poor quality work, which actually means they’re more likely to lose clients!
2. Oversleeping –
What’s that? Sleeping too much can cause burnout?
It might sound surprising, but if you start work late then you will quickly enter into a vicious cycle. You will start late – and end late – thus having your work go into the night and onto your days off.
This is a hazard especially if you are single and don’t have the family time table to help you stay on a more regular routine.
Be strict with yourself, ask others to help, and make sure you get an early night.
Find ways to help yourself maintain regular hours. A cup of Camomile Tea to help you get to sleep. And leaving the curtains open lightly when you go to sleep. Thus when you wake up in the morning. the natural sunlight will prompt you to get up and not go back to sleep.
Even little habits can make a routine more doable – and life lots easier.
3. Others’ Disrespect for Your Work
It’s interesting that if you work in an office, others don’t think that you are available at all times. They respect your office commitment. However, if you are working from home, many think that you are available at all times.
This is a common problem solopreneurs have to address.
People don’t mean this in a condescending way. Yet many people will think that being your own boss means you can be at their beck and call at any time of day.
Let’s go shopping. Let’s go to lunch. Let me tell you the latest gossip.
Or if you have children at home, it’s even more difficult.
It takes willpower to have a schedule which works – and one which avoids this random free time mentality.
Having a schedule of certain times for concentrated work and other times for taking calls helps you stay on track.
Eventually others will recognize your routine and will be more likely to honor it.
4. Not switching off
This is a huge risk you face as a solopreneur.
When you work from home, your work can become your life to the point where you can’t seem to switch it off. It’s always there. Always in your mind. Always demanding concentration.
It’s quite common for anyone to finish work and then realize that there was something they forgot to do, But for most people, they will plan to do it first thing the next morning. The difference for you is that you can go and rectify that mistake right away.
That can be a hazard. You need time off. You need to forget about your work and enjoy other aspects of your life.
It takes discipline to put your work aside – and enjoy your leisure time. But your spiritual time, your family time, and your leisure time are significant to a healthy life.
It might make it easier when you realize that playing is a responsibility!
So there you have a few things which can cause burnout. They basically come down to scheduling times for work and times for play. They also involve knowing your limitations and not overloading yourself with too much work.
Through prayer and planning, you can find a plan and a schedule which works for you and allows you to maximize your impact while enjoying your work.
Avoiding burnout can lead to many years of enjoyable productivity.
List building can be frustrating. You’ve probably heard the expression, “the money is in the list.” That’s partially true, but not completely.
What do I mean? Well, let’s take a look at two scenarios.
Elizabeth runs an online business designing WordPress themes. She has a mailing list of over nine thousand people and she emails them regularly.
But she complains that she gets no feedback from her list and they rarely message her looking for tips on how to create and manage WordPress websites. So the money she’s making is not enough for a full time job.
Needless to say, she’s frustrated and stressed about this.
April also runs an online business designing WordPress themes. She has a mailing list of just over a thousand subscribers. Like Elizabeth, she emails her list regularly.
But the different outcome might be surprising.
April gets plenty of feedback from her list and she’s always answering emails and messages about WordPress.
More importantly, April is making money and next year she’ll be able to turn her side hustle into a full time business.
You may be wondering what the difference is between Elizabeth and April. Why is one solopreneur seeing so much success that she can afford to quit her job while the other continues to struggle with her profits?
Are Your Subscribers Engaging with Your Content?
The answer is simple Elizabeth focused on getting lots of people on her list. April took a different approach. She looked for subscribers that matched her ideal client profile. She carefully monitored the health of her list and removed subscribers that weren’t engaging with her content. The result is that she has a much smaller list than Elizabeth, but that list is far more engaged.
If you only measure the size of your email list and you’re not taking the engagement of your reach into account, then you’re making a big mistake. Low engagement can be a sign that you’re not connecting with your community.
Are Your Subscribers Buying Your Products?
After looking at your engagement level, you want to start looking at what types of content your list is taking action on. Of the subscribers who are opening your email messages and reading them, how many are taking action? How often do they go on to purchase your product or a product your promoted? If you offer a service like coaching or content creation, are they hiring you?
If you have a new list or a tiny list, then you may not see a lot of activity at first. But as your list grows into the hundreds, you should start seeing some of your subscribers taking action. If you don’t, it might be a sign that you’re promoting the wrong products or that your community isn’t connecting with your messages.
Are You Asking for Engagement?
It takes courage to include a Call to Action. A Call to Action (I capitalize this because it’s important) is the point in your content where you ask your reader to do something. For example, if you run a blog on home schooling, then email your list with a review of your favorite workbooks and ask them to try out the workbooks, too.
Remember that if you want engagement, you have to ask for it. It doesn’t always have to be in the form of asking subscribers to buy something. You might ask them to fill out a survey that will help you create your next blog challenge or you could ask them to leave a comment on your latest blog post.
When it comes to building your email list, make sure you’re filling it with subscribers that are genuinely interested in your content. This helps you grow a thriving community that loves your brand and engages with it regularly.
Keep on Soaring…
Oh, by the way, remember to check out the Christian Cache Bundle Sale. if you want to be a part of this, hurry. The deadline is soon!
Are you in a dip? And if so, what are you going to do about it?
“The Dip” became famous with Seth Godin’s book by that name. (I just love all of those Ah-ha moments he has brought us, don’t you)?
The dip is after you have launched your project and spent some time enjoying the challenge of the dream. You continue with enthusiasm and excitement
Then you hit a time when the newness wears off and the dream becomes dim. Suddenly the work seems hard. Monotonous. The dream seems dim and you feel that you are just slogging along.
So what do you do? You either slow down and quit – or you push through.
Think of it as running a marathon. You plan to run 26 miles and you are pumped to do it. You begin with zeal and determination. But after 13 hot and thirsty miles, your zeal starts to wain, and you begin to question the decision. Is it worth it? Why did you make the commitment? And every step starts to seem like an impossible goal.
Our online businesses, our books, and really any worthwhile project has a similar pattern. There’s the middle we have to conquer. After the starting pistol and before the prize at the end, there is a middle. And that middle often includes a dip.
Well, back to Seth Godin’s book, the dip is what separates the true winners – champions – the overall best in any niche. Most people quit during the dip. or at least they become very mediochre.
Winners do something different.
Winners are determined to win. They dig in deeper during that long middle. They learn more, fine tune their methods, and tweak their objectives. And, most importantly, they keep going.
In the end, they push through the dip and wind up stronger and more productive than ever.
In the process, they even manage to shorten the dip.
These are the ones who finish strong – and on top.
So what does that mean for us?
The last year has put lots of people in the dip. The routine changes demanded by Covid-19 -as well as the pervasive anxiety – were enough to cause anyone to have a dip. Normal practices just seemed so hard. It was tough.
Well now let’s take a deep breath.
First of all, do we really want to accomplish this project? Are we satisfied that this is God’s will for us?
Try to find some time to get alone. Pray and listen. Is this really what we are supposed to do? Is it really what we want to do?
If so, let’s stand up, shake off the lethargy, and begin again.
With all of this settled, we become determined to get through that dip.
Let’s increase our skill in the areas that are giving us trouble. That might mean taking some courses, talking with a coach. or networking with others in our niche.
Let’s assess our plans and our procedures. We can fine tune any methods which seem unsuccessful, and discontinue practices which no longer work.
Then, with head high let’s press forward with renewed determination.
We can do this.
In fact, we are going to do this.
Being a solopreneur means running a business that is entirely yours. You are the person providing the value, but also the marketer, the web designer, and the accountant.
Most likely, you manage all this from the comfort of a home office somewhere.
While this style of work creates many opportunities, it also presents a number of obstacles, as we have discussed earlier. In particular, it can weigh heavily on your mind.
EVERYTHING is your responsibility. And it’s always right there.
This is why it’s so important that you create strict rules for your work/life balance and that you think of the lifestyle you want to achieve before you even begin pursuing your dream career as a digital entrepreneur.
In other words: you need to think about how much work you’re willing to put in and what kind of work you’re willing to do. You need to build your work in a way that is sustainable and enjoyable, so that it will be able to hold together even as it reaches critical mass.
Some things to consider:
Create your ideal working environment. (As far as possible)
This might mean that you work from a well-crafted home office and keep that for work only.
Likewise, it might mean that you seek out coffee shops to work in in your local area. This can help to prevent cabin fever, ensure you get social interaction and remove the temptation to procrastinate by watching TV or repeatedly making yourself sandwiches (a common problem).
Go to networking events, work in shared offices and attend conferences and seminars.
More and more people work online and just like any other industry, a lot of success as a digital marketer comes from who you know. Rubbing shoulders with other successful people will make you feel more accomplished and it will open up doors. Moreover, it will help you to get some time out of the home office!
Create set work hours and be strict about working inside those.
Rest is just as important as work if you are going to be as productive and efficient as possible and there’s no point earning money if you never have a chance to enjoy it!
Know the lifestyle you want to lead.
Know what you want to accomplish and then work to achieve that – no less and no more. This is what ‘lifestyle design’ is.
Don’t let others dictate your goals. Your family time, your church involvement, and your recreation are to be included when you are designing your life.
Balance is the key.
Outsource the work that you don’t enjoy or that is too much for you.
When you are first starting, money may be too scarce for hiring others. However, eventually you may want to hire staff or freelancers.
You can also outsource to VAS (virtual assistant services) or to service providers procured on freelancer sites.
Remember: This is Your Business.
Design and work your business in a way that will bring value to you and your family. You are the boss, so you can set the parameters and live by them.
Work and live the life you want!
There are countless advantages to being a solopreneur. Not only do you get to work from home and generate all your own income, but you also get to create something you’ve poured your heart into and something which truly represents who you are.
You can be yourself!
Many Christians are finding this solopreneur lifestyle to be a wonderful way of blending their values with their work.
Yet there are some challenges to the solopreneur lifestyle. To truly enjoy this lifestyle and to have it be profitable, you need to face these challenges.
And overcome them, in order to thrive.
So let’s look at some tips to help you overcome the most common challenges of the solopreneur lifestyle.
A lot of people find that working from one room all day is very monotonous. But this challenge should not be an issue. One of the brilliant aspects of working from home is that when it’s a nice day you can sit in the garden. If you don’t mind the distraction you can even go and work in a coffee shop for variation. The world is your office, so get yourself out there!
I have an office area with a desktop, printer, etc. I work there much of the time.
However, I also have a laptop which I can use anytime, anywhere. I love this special tool which allows me to change the scene – and yet keep up with my mission.
Being Constantly “On.”
It is very important to make a distinction between work time and family time. That means that when it’s family time, you don’t take work phone calls or emails. You can get back to the people later.
Some solopreneurs even have separate phone numbers for their ‘personal’ time and their ‘work’ time. That way the phones can be turned on or off depending on whether they are “at work” or “at home.”
Loss of Structure:
As working from home can leave you without structure, you must take steps to overcome this. Planning your work is more important for a solopreneur than for an office worker.
Someone working in an office usually has others demanding work loads and time restraints. When you are your own boss, you have to play that boss’s role with yourself. You must set up a schedule with expectations and timelines.
Then reward yourself when your deadlines are met.
One way to feel connected to the real world is to call friends and sort errands in your lunch break. It’s also a good idea to join groups or networks in your field.
Find ways to connect with others for companionship and motivation.
Which brings me to the final challenge: Staying Motivated.
When you are your boss, your counselor, and
your motivator, you need to be alert to slipping in these areas.
Networking is a great way to increase your motivation. Also, reading or taking courses from others in your field. You’ll not only stay motivated, but you will find new ideas to spark your energy.
As with any endeavor, we Christians realize the importance of prayer for our mental well-being and our success. Commit each day to God and ask for His direction. Also ask Him to open doors for you. Ask Him to bring the people across your path who need to hear what you have to say – or who need the benefit of your offers.
Oh, and when He brings that direction, do what He says. Reach out to the people He brings your way. Help them achieve their goals, and your success will come as a result.
As you lay that foundation of prayer, you’ll conquer the challenges.
You’ll stay motivated and energized for your mission. You’ll overcome monotony, disconnection, and the distractions of working from home.
And you’ll have greater success.