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.
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November 30th, 2016 at 6:48 pm
Thank you for being honest that #TheStruggleIsReal. It is refreshing to see someone post something like this. I’ve been struggling with the “9-5” (I work 7-3pm as a front desk agent at a chain hotel) + blogging (and now I’ve gone crazy and decided to be working on 3 different blogs with 3 different ideas and content, but I feel that I can now allow myself to disperse blog posts to whichever blog instead of my main one where the content doesn’t always fit and hence my frustration and endless pending drafts…) + spending time with my man + spending time with family + allow myself time to time to sit and do nothing or wear a face mask while the man is gone. It all seems like neverending #AdultingSucks #ColoringInMyFort
But the blogging is a wonderful creative outlet and I feel it has great purpose. I feel that if at least one person is positively affected, then it is a success!
Keep up the great work! I love following you!
December 1st, 2016 at 10:17 am
Hahah @ Face mask while the man is gone, I totally do the same thing! I’m glad this resonated with you Jenn, sometimes we just need to give ourselves a break and know that we’re all doing the best we can! <3
December 5th, 2016 at 1:28 pm
I love this post! I have such a hard time unplugging, even when I give myself permission to. Last night I was so stressed about work things that I only slept 3 hours (which then turned into anxiety about not sleeping-oye!). But you’re right, everyone pretends like is perfect on social media, so that doesn’t make me feel any better. But you are not alone and I commend you for being so vulnerable. I love your tip about creating the “I did it” list. I think remembering and writing down my accomplishments would be so beneficial.
December 5th, 2016 at 1:30 pm
Giiiirl you need to sleep! I’ve tried drinking this special tea, it’s the Yogi Kava Stress Relief tea. It may be placebo, but I don’t care. It helps me chill out and relax if just a little bit. Try it out!
December 5th, 2016 at 9:00 pm
Totally understand! I’m one of those people who can’t sit still and want to always be working on something. But I’m trying to get better at stepping back from my biz to have some balance too. Thanks for sharing your story!!
December 9th, 2016 at 10:16 am
Same! I sometimes feel guilty when I’m watching tv or reading, feeling like I should do something else to be “productive”!