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.
Many of us have lofty goals of becoming solopreneurs. We might dream of starting a side-hustle and growing it into a business. Or maybe we’re already working solo, but dreaming of going bigger. Of scaling our business to heights that allow us to earn a fully passive income. So that we make money while we sleep!
Sounds terrific, doesn’t it?
Often though, these aspirations fall through and we don’t achieve quite the goals we set for ourselves. We start with good intentions, but eventually end up getting over tired or frustrated to the point of wanting to quit.
So what do we do?
The problem is often very simple. When challenges come, we often just try to work harder. Or purchase one more bit of software. As a result, we might be adding hours of work to our already busy schedule when other factors need to be considered.
If we are trying to build this productive business while we are generally unhappy, overworked, or not eating correctly, we are wasting our time. If we really want to improve our productivity we need to be healthy, energetic and well organized – it’s all connected.
So let’s take a look at our lives as a whole. Every part of our daily routine influences other parts. Only a holistic approach to our lives and our work can bring the results we are looking for.
You know what I am going to say is first, don’t you?
Start your day with prayer and Bible study.
Even a few minutes of focused time with God can set you on the right path. There have been times when I have done this, and times when I haven’t. Believe me. I have learned how significant this is. Often while praying, new ideas will pop up. New contacts will emerge. And every time you follow this bit of advice, your confidence will increase.
If God is for you, who can be against you?
Early Morning is also a good time to exercise.
When you increase your circulation through your choice of activity, you increase your energy and your clarity. Whatever your goals, you need energy to accomplish them.
De-clutter. Clear the Space Around You.
All of those scraps of paper with insignificant notes need to be thrown away. Certainly yesterday’s coffee cup needs to be taken to the kitchen. Throw anything out that you don’t use regularly and that isn’t sentimental.
Likewise generally minimize your clutter by putting things in organized boxes and creating good systems to help you stay tidy. You’ll find you end up with a lot more mental space, a lot more time on your hands, and a lot more physical space for your productivity.
While de-cluttering, take a look at your computer. Your email account, your download files, and more. if you can manage to set up a plan for de-cluttering your computer, you will find more time and focus for your work.
Regulate Your Sleep/Wake Cycles
If you are currently all over the place in terms of your body clock then you should change that so that you have a stricter schedule on week days. Wake up early so you have time to work and come round in the morning and go to sleep with enough time to get a full eight hours so you’re refreshed tomorrow.
I realize that some people are more “hard-wired” in their sleep habits. If that’s you, try avoiding caffeine late in the day and drink some “sleepy tea” instead. Also, gear your end-of-day routine toward peaceful, calming endeavors.
As you take these steps, you can increase your chances of a good night’s sleep and an earlier bedtime.
Have Some ‘You’ Time: Schedule yourself in some time that is going to be ‘your’ time. This is important because otherwise you will end up distracted and wanting to do other things.
Develop Healthy Eating Habits
Healthy eating will give you more energy and help you stay fresher during the day.
Even a few changes , like removing the sugar from your tea and coffee, cutting down on salt in your cooking, drinking fewer fizzy drinks, and taking the butter off your toast.
Easy right? Now make sure you drink five pints of water a day, and eat lots of fiber.
Have Some ‘You’ Time:
Schedule yourself in some time that is going to be ‘your’ time. This is important because otherwise you will end up distracted and wanting to do other things.
One of the ‘You’ Time items could be to adopt an awards system for yourself. Any activity that isn’t work is a ‘reward’ and you’re only allowed one at the time. So after a particularly difficult task, reward yourself. You’ll look forward to the intermittent moments – and be motivated to do the hard tasks.
Small Changes can make a Big difference
These are all small changes to make but they address elements of your life across the board. You’ll find very soon that this starts to give you more energy and focus in every area of your life and that you start seeing returns which snowball over time.
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.
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!