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.
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 successful solopreneur is an extremely challenging goal.
Being a great parent is likewise extremely challenging.
So can you be both? With careful thought and planning, yes you can!! Many have accomplished this.
Both of these ambitions will take up lots of time and thought. They both leave you with very little energy at the end of the day. And they both linger psychologically: meaning that it’s very hard to “switch off” in either case.
As you can imagine then, finding a way to do both these things at the same time is quite a challenge. So what are some secrets for doing this?
Let’s take a look.
Perhaps you are too focused on work, which leaves you stressed when spending time with your family. Your webinar didn’t go well and you realize that you made mistakes in your presentation.
Or maybe you are thinking about your new product launch.
Or your business stress has you in a bad mood.
Maybe the cash flow isn’t what you want and you are struggling to pay your bills.
Then perhaps you’re too far the other way. Maybe you’re a great parent, but you let that interfere with your work-life. Maybe you can’t focus at work and you’re constantly taking holiday to spend time with your family.
Maybe you’re distracted by hearing the kids play downstairs and you just can’t focus on work.
These are definitely issues many stay-at-home Moms face when they start a business.
So, what do you do?
There’s no single answer to this. There are so many variables in this situation that one answer wouldn’t be relevant for everyone.
I would say to pray and ask God for guidance. He will help you to see how to maneuver this. How to plan and how to implement your plan.
But here’s a truth that is fairly universal: If you try to do both things simultaneously then you will do neither well.
This is why you need to be very strict and disciplined about what you consider to be “work time” and what you consider to be “home time.”
Some successful solopreneurs “dress” for work – just as if they were going to an office. No pajama days for them. This simple trick can help them and their families realize that office hours are important.
Set up a schedule for work, and stick to it. Focus on your work for these set periods of time, and afterwards, switch your attention to your family. Then focus on them!
You might feel as though that defeats many of the benefits of being self-employed in the first place. But there are ways to get the benefits AND still keep things separate.
For one: as long as you are able to focus hard and work fast, there is nothing to stop you from taking additional breaks throughout the day. As long as they are clearly defined and you go back to work afterward!
Sometimes you can try to focus on completing a certain amount of work, rather than working for a given amount of time. This incentivizes you to work quickly, and it means you often can take more time to be with your family!
One of the great benefits of being a solopreneur and a parent is that you are setting a good example. Your children see that you are working hard – and they want to emulate that behavior.
They also see that you are setting goals and accomplishing them. Children thrive when they see the success of their parents. They will even benefit from seeing you make mistakes and correct your course along the way.
Such examples are “caught” and you will see your children being more productive. They too will want to be visionaries and set goals. They too will want to put in the work necessary to achieve those goals.
So pray, plan, implement, and be a great role model for your children. They will gain much from having such a parent!
And you will flourish in your pursuits!
Being a solopreneur means you are an entrepreneur who runs everything in your business.
Whew! Everything sounds overwhelming!
Yet, there are countless advantages to this kind of business model, and thanks to the web, now it works for more people than you can imagine.
The notion of running an entire empire single-handedly would have seemed like an impossible pipe-dream only a few years ago. Today though, this is what more and more people are living as their reality. The internet is such a powerful force multiplier that it allows many people to truly become “digital polymaths.” (People who have knowledge in many different areas).
For many years, it was impossible for an individual to compete with the resources of larger companies. But then things changed.
Really smart people started developing and selling (or sometimes sharing) software, platforms, and apps which helped individuals accomplish things they never could before.
Now you can design your website, write for your blog, sell products, collect the money, and have them delivered. All by yourself. All from your home! Amazing, isn’t it?
But while the solopreneur lifestyle is liberating in many ways, it can also be extremely challenging. That’s because it requires you to wear a lot of hats and to take full responsibility for every aspect of your business.
Even if you are simply running a blog and selling affiliate products, this can be a surprisingly challenging lifestyle. Suddenly, there is no employer. There is nobody else who is going to take responsibility for your business. Or to accept the blame if things go wrong.
Likewise, there is no guaranteed paycheck. There isn’t even a guarantee that you’ll have work this time tomorrow.
Things can be going extremely well one day, and terribly the next.
What if Google removes your site from its listings and you can’t sell any more products?
What if you have one big client and they leave? Now you could have a quiet spell lasting for months.
What if a shipment of products goes missing? Or your links get messed up and you can’t seem to fix them?
As the solopreneur, you must be ready to weather all these scenarios. And you must be ready to make countless huge decisions.
You run a YouTube channel, and you want to sell an eBook from there. But how much do you charge for it? What eCommerce store do you use to sell it from?
What if your loyal audience finds it offensive that you are now charging for information, and thus they leave you?
What if the WooCommerce store crashes because you have an outdated PHP version on your server? And what if that means you lose thousands of preorders?
And do you let that other creator you met upload videos to your channel? What if those put off your viewers because it’s not what they came to see? What if they like the other person’s content more than yours??
Juggling work is also extremely difficult – especially if you want to maintain some semblance of a work/life balance. This is especially true for a service provider. In this scenario, there is no delineation between work hours and downtime.
That is to say, that you could work 9-5, but you could also work 9-9. That latter option would mean you earn a LOT more money! Do you really need to be relaxing in the evening when you could be getting closer to your goals?
What if you don’t finish your work on time? Do you work a little more?
What if there’s something you need to buy, but don’t have the money?
Again, the number of variables is huge, and you are constantly forced to make these decisions. Even when you are “relaxing,” you might be questioning whether you could be doing something more useful. You might still be worrying that your work wasn’t done to standard.
Then there is the customer service. Download problems. Negative comments. Etc., etc., etc.!
You get the point! It can be stressful!
But it can also be very rewarding.
You as a Solopreneur, are a pioneer. And with a new type of career, you need a new approach to health and productivity.
The healthy, happy, productive Solopreneur starts with a plan. And this plan must include not just work, but your spiritual goals and health goals.
You are not just trying to “survive” in business. You want to thrive. You want a happy personal life. A close-knit family or group of friends.
Planning for total health and well-being helps you include all of these things in your life. And planning for that well-rounded life increases your productivity.
The truth is that the more you improve your focus, energy, creativity, and health, the more you will produce. As a solopreneur, everything you sell and everything that earns you money comes from you.
If you want to be more successful, that means that you need to produce more. And if you’re going to produce more, then you need to manage your energy levels and your focus. You need to learn how to get the most from your body and your brain
And this can result in a HUGE increase in your productivity and profits. Because when you’re a solopreneur, learning how to double your output, means doubling your profit!
In the next few posts we are going to be discussing ways to increase your energy levels, your focus, and your productivity.
Remember, it’s the whole you and not just the working you that makes your Solopreneur lifestyle so productive.
So take a deep breath. Pray and ask for God’s guidance.
Get in a quiet place and write down your thoughts. Which areas of your life need improvement?
Are you battling confusion? Overwhelm? Lack of Confidence?
God will help you see some things which need to change. And which areas need growth.
As always, it’s one step at a time. Patience and perseverance.
You will get there if you don’t give up.
This little-talked-about blessing is a lesson we can learn from Mary.
In Luke 1:26-38, the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her of God’s plan for her to give birth to Jesus. of course, she’s shocked, but young Mary receives God’s plan. She says, “Behold the bondslave of the Lord. Be it done to me according to your Word.” (Luke 1:38 NASB)
Next she ran to her Aunt Elizabeth and shared her encounter. John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb, and she started to prophesy. Her final word was, “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” (1:45)
Think about this a minute.
In both verses we see that Mary believed and received what God had spoken.
Elizabeth didn’t say she was blessed just because of the word spoken. She was blessed because she believed it!
The Bible is full of Words which the Lord has spoken to us, and sometimes special words seem to leap off of the page – as if they were there just for us! But it’s up to us to say, “Be it done to me according to God’s Word.” Or not.
All of those beautiful promises and directions can be like seeds which fall upon the rocks. They won’t produce.
When we, like Mary, receive and believe what God speaks to us, we are blessed. The seed of His Word falls on the good soil of our hearts and what He has spoken begins to produce in our lives.
It’s an amazing thing to see God’s word being performed like that.
Just thinking about this makes me want to dig in deeper than ever. I want this Christmas and 2021 to be my most believing days ever.
It’s a good time for us to gather the words which have especially spoken to us and write them in a journal. Then read and meditate on them. Pray them. Think about them. And believe them.
When we do things God’s way, many blessings – and surprises – will follow.
And now may it be done to you according to God’s Word.
Keep on Soaring!
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