I've seen it happen over and over again. An entrepreneur with a brilliant idea for a business start up follows their dream. They put absolutely everything they have into making the business start up idea a raging success, and often, they get it right. However, a few short years down the line, they're falling apart. Burnt out, or with their marriage or personal relationships in tatters. Their small businesses are a success, but everything else is a shambles.
These situations never end well. One of two things happens. Either they throw themselves into their small businesses, putting even more time into them, and letting their lives pass them by, or they give it all up, and have nothing to return to. Here are a few tips to help you get your business start up off the ground, and still keep your life intact.
Remember — All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy
I've started a few businesses in my time. I've put in the long hours, and done things most sane human beings would never dream of, all in the name of getting, and keeping, my small business going.
However, I've also realized along the way that human beings are a little like rechargeable batteries. We can run so long, and then we need to be recharged. That recharging comes from the simple things in life. Spending time with family and friends, enjoying a hobby, or getting out doors.
Not only will this rejuvenate you, giving you the energy your business start up demands, but it will also give you a new perspective, and might even jolt new ideas, and solutions to problems, loose.
Time Management Is Key
When you worked in an office, you planned to get everything done within your regular 9 to 5, didn't you? Just because you're now working on a business start up of your own, that does not mean that you shouldn't still be planning your time. Set limits to your working day, and stick to them.
Make sure you still allow time for things that have to get done outside of your working environment, and ensure that you're taking care of your life, as much as you are looking after your small business.
Create a Physical Divide
One of the other common problems for many small businesses and their owners, or those in the throes of a business start up is that you are working from your home. That means that your computer, cell phone and everything else business related is right in the middle of your family, and your life.
Not only does this make it hard to disengage at the end of the day, it also makes it harder to focus when you need to work. Creating a working environment that is separate — even if it means converting your garden shed, means that you can separate yourself from your personal life when it is time to work, and from your work at the end of the day.
Don't be afraid to set a time to shut up shop, and then close your office door, and turn off your phone. Anything that desperately needs your attention will still be there tomorrow, and you'll be fresh, and ready to tackle it.
Avoiding Cabin Fever Is the Best Thing You Can Do
It may sound extreme to compare your business start up to cabin fever, but if you're not careful, that's exactly what it can become.
You might think it's clever, or dedicated, to spend every waking moment working on your small business, but the reality is, it's not. Just as people experience cabin fever when they are separated from people by circumstance, your enforced solitude will have an impact. You will lose focus and objectivity, you'll feel tired and stressed, and your business, as well as your personal life, will suffer.
Learn to Focus
Of course, even while we all want to keep our personal and business lives separated, the reality is that when you're in the throes of starting a small business, you're likely to find that the lines blur, and your world becomes a muddle of conflicting goals.
Learning to focus on the moment, whether it's spending time on your business, or playing with your kids in the park, is key. Make sure that whatever you are doing at any given moment during the day, you are focused entirely on that activity or task. That way, you will be sure that you will be giving, and getting, the best out of life.
After all, you started the journey into becoming an entrepreneur, and starting a small business, to improve your life, didn't you? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to wreck it in the process, now does it?
As a successful, under-30 serial entrepreneur, Gary Whitehill's game-changing endeavors have been featured on television and in magazines and newspapers across the nation. Read more about Gary here.