Can I admit something? I feel like I can be honest with you all, especially since revealing a business update and what’s going to be changing around here.
Over the last few months I’ve had a hard time with finding balance as a solopreneur.
I’ve felt tired. Burnt out. Overwhelmed. And just kinda down.
There are so many articles out there about how important it is to have work/life balance but it’s hard to come across ones that actually reveal how hard it is to create that balance, especially as a business owner.
I’ve always had a regular 9-5 job, where I could literally turn off at the end of each day. I know not everyone is fortunate enough to have a 9-5 like that, but I did. And at the time I guess I didn’t realize how awesome that was. Because now I can’t turn my brain off.
I’ve slept horribly and I’ve felt more anxiety about work related things than I ever have before, so I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with it. I thought I was alone but when I started actually asking other solopreneurs, they’ve been through the same thing I’m going through right now.
I’m still a work in progress, as we all are, but I’d like to share some of my struggles and what I’m attempting to do about it in hopes of helping someone else out there that might be going through the same thing.
I think everyone struggles with this from time to time (or maybe all the time).
There never seems to be enough of it. And when you run your own business there’s always something you can be doing. Always. There’s always a blog post to write. A new product to create. An email to send. An email to respond back to. An Instagram post to publish. It’s never-ending and it’s made me feel more pressure than ever before since this is my business.
My solution: I’m trying to be better about recognizing that there’s always more time and I don’t have to get everything done in one day.
Social media is amazing but man can it drag you down fast.
Within minutes of hopping onto social media I can start feeling unaccomplished, unworthy, and left behind.
Shiny object syndrome is when you have a new idea that captures your attention in a way that gets you distracted from what you are currently working on and not staying focused on your current goal.
Of course I love seeing other business owners launch new products, sell new services, revamp their websites…but then a small part of me sometimes thinks “hey wait, I should be doing that right now too!”
But in all honesty, that’s not what I need to be doing. I need to stay in my own lane, and focus on my priorities for my business.
I am already a very strategic person, so I don’t often do things just to do them. But it can be difficult to not get distracted when everyone around you is creating new and awesome things.
My solution: Focus on my priorities and remember my why. Instead of focusing on what I’m not doing that I think I should be doing, I’m going to focus on what I have and what I can do right now.
Speaking of priorities, oof. I’ve always thought I was someone who knew what to prioritize, but I’m realizing it’s a whole different ball game when I’m running my own business.
Because here’s the thing: Everything is important. My client work is important. My website is important. This here blog is important. My relationship with my husband is important as are my relationships with my friends and family. It’s ALL important and they are ALL priorities, but I can’t have them be priorities every single day.
I’m only one person and I’m the only one running my business right now and I simply can’t be the best business owner, wife, friend, daughter, dog owner, and any other title I have every single day.
That’s why prioritizing each and every day is so important.
My solution: Every day I have three main priorities. Sometimes they are all business related (such as send a client a project, write an email newsetter, etc). Sometimes they include working out or going out for date night. Sometimes my priorities include hanging out and reading. It all depends. What matters is I’m taking a look at everything I have going on in my life and I pick out the top three for each day. This helps me focus on what matters for that particular day, so I don’t feel overwhelmed with having to do #allthethings.
Do I have an ever-growing to-do list that I’d like to get to after those three things are accomplished? Of course. But if I never focus on any one particular thing, nothing will ever get done. Having the three priorities helps me stay focused and not too overwhelmed.@BrittneyLLynn discusses her struggle with finding balance as a #solopreneur & what's she's doing to fix it. Click To Tweet
Since there is always something us solopreneurs can be doing to improve our business, it can be difficult to feel accomplished. There isn’t a boss that’s there to pat you on the back. There’s just you. And sometimes we can be pretty mean to ourselves.
“That’s not good enough.”
“There’s no way someone will like this blog post.”
“I only worked 7 hours today and feel like I did nothing.”
We have to learn to know that what we’re doing is enough. We all have off days. Nobody is productive 100% of the time (and if you are, I guess you’re a robot.).
You’re probably accomplishing a lot more than you think, but you end up focusing on all of the things you didn’t get done instead of the things you did. At least that’s how it is/was for me.
My solution: Instead of only having a to-do list, have a “I did” list. I started writing down each time I finish a project, task, blog post, whatever and then at the end of the day I get to see all of the things I actually did accomplish throughout the day.
I’m kind of ashamed to admit this about myself, but when I would see other online business owners say how they worked “18 hours a day for a month straight!” I felt resentful.
Who do they think they are, working 18 hours a day? They’re probably doing it to brag.
And for a while, I would work in the evenings and on the weekends not because I wanted to (or even needed to) but because I felt like I should. And that’s ridiculous. I decided to be a solopreneur business owner because I wanted to control my schedule and not work 80 hours a week.
So I’ll admit, I take most evenings and weekends off. Are there times that I work in the evenings and on weekends? Absolutely. But many times it’s because I want to, not because I feel like I have to.
Though I love running my own business, I also need a break from it. Some people can work all hours of the night and not burnout and that’s great for them. A saying from one of Brene Brown’s book (can’t remember which one so if you know please leave it in the comments!) is “Great for her, not for me” and I repeat this to myself often.
You don’t have to do it like everyone else. You can pave your own way.
My solution: Have designated times to be working: this includes checking emails, being on social media, responding to comments. Take most weekends off.
I’ve barely just revealed these struggles to my husband, and I’m obviously just now sharing them here on the blog.
For a while, I thought these feelings would just go away. When they didn’t, I started to think that maybe I wasn’t cut out for this whole running your own business thing.
Now I realize that everyone has their own struggles that they go through, but many don’t share. I’ll admit, I didn’t want to share. I didn’t want to seem weak, or ungrateful, or unprofessional.
But then I realized I’m part of the problem if I don’t share my wins and my struggles.
So here I am. Sharing what’s been on my heart and mind. Hoping to help just one person out there who’s feeling alone as a solopreneur working to build their business.
My solution: Open up more to my husband, friends, and family more about the internal struggles I go through each day as a business owner. Find other solopreneurs and talk openly with them about the struggles we go through.
I never want to come across as ungrateful or unappreciative of the opportunity I’ve had to build my own business, but I also don’t want to act like everything is glamourous and perfect when in reality it’s often, well, not.
I plan to continue sharing the good, bad, and funny of being a solopreneur business owner and I hope you’ll join me by sharing more openly the struggles that you’re having. I can guarantee you that you aren’t alone.
It’s been almost a month since my husband and I got back from our two and half week vacation to Europe and I’ll admit, it took me longer than I wanted to find motivation again.
While I did do some work while I was overseas, for the most part, I worked ahead enough that I didn’t have to do much. And while that was nice, it made coming back that much harder.
Even though I love running my own business and being the boss, I still lose motivation at times. I don’t have a boss telling me I have to do something, so if I lose my motivation, I lose out on potential business which is not good.
My motivation did come back though, once I followed these steps. I hope they help you find your motivation again too!
I cannot stress this enough. Take at least two days after returning to get your life back together.
You will have laundry, housekeeping, unpacking, grocery shopping and more to get done. Plus all of the emails to go through.
I told clients I would be gone until July 11, but I was technically getting back on July 8th. Having these extra days helped me get all of my personal tasks in order before diving back into the regular work week.
For most, it’s just going to downright stink to come back to regular life. You may have the vacation blues and that’s okay.
Admitting to my husband, friends, and even myself that I wasn’t quite mentally ready to come back into the regular working world immediately made me feel better, because most were understanding and had gone through the same thing before.
You won’t feel like this forever and you will get your motivation back. All it takes is time!
Coming back after a long vacation can end up giving you wanderlust for wanting to travel even more. It sure did for me. But once I started thinking of all the things I missed (our dog, our friends, In-N-Out (being honest here…) made me excited and motivated to come back home.
Write out a list of all the things and people you missed while traveling. These can be serious such as listing your family and friends, but I’d also recommend including small things like driving your own car, your favorite restaurant, or reliable WIFI.
We scheduled a fun night out with friends as soon as we got back. One, to catch up with our friends and trade vacation stories, but two, to have something to look forward to after getting back.
Even if it’s just meeting a friend for coffee or scheduling a manicure appointment…it can make a world of difference.
Though it may seem like your motivation is gone forever, it will come back. It always does.
We all have off days where nothing seems to get accomplished and the work piles on, but you will get back into the groove and be productive later.
For me, trying to force motivation and productivity ends in me being even less productive than if I just took the afternoon off without even thinking about work. Something as simple as taking a walk or getting a simple errand done can get me out of my funk fast.Getting back from a long vacation? Here are 10 ways to find #motivation after returning from an extended trip from @BrittneyLLynn! Click To Tweet
Sometimes doing the simple act of writing about feeling unmotivated helps me get over the unproductive hump.
If you aren’t comfortable with writing (or hate writing!) try and find someone to talk to about it. Sometimes explaining your feelings of being unmotivated helps you break through the real reasons why your unmotivated and can help you gain clarity as to what to do next.
Social media can be a place for comparison and when you’re feeling unmotivated you do not want to be comparing yourself.
Some days you’re productive, some days you’re not as productive. It happens. But looking at the carefully curated social media profiles can make you feel less than and that’s not going to help you get your motivation back any sooner.
I set time limits on how long I can scroll on social media and I make sure that I’m not in a mindset where I’ll be more likely to compare myself to others.
I admit I have a really hard time doing this, but do as I say, not as I do. Give yourself permission to take it easy for a week or two and not be so hard on yourself. Does that mean not taking care of any of your responsibilities and watching Netflix for 12 hours a day? No.
What this does mean is not expecting to come back and jump right into productivity mode. Tasks may take twice as long as they used to do, laundry might sit a few days longer than you’d like, and you may only formerly workout once a week.
In the end, it’s okay. Give yourself a break. The tasks will get done, laundry will be folded, and you’ll work out again some other week.
Sometimes all it takes for me to find my motivation is to listen to someone else talk about their experiences. Podcasts and audio books are a great way to get an outside perspective and to get your brain to think about something in a different way.
I have a list of podcasts that I know I can go to that always fire me up and make me motivated to come back to work. A few of my favorite podcasts include:
If all else fails, put on your favorite playlist and jam out in your room/office/car (or all of the above!). Good music can work wonders for your mood.
No matter what tips you implement, know that nearly everyone has gone or will go through the same thing. Taking significant time away from your job or business can be life changing, but you must give your mind the attention and break it needs once you come back.