I never knew what "entrepreneurship" meant growing up, that wasn't a term that was ever used. At the same time, I knew what it meant to run your own business. That example came from my dad. For as far back as I can remember, he has run his own business. Growing up, I'd always admired that. And Im proud to say, my dad built a company from scratch despite his own modest upbringing. Though I'd admired my dad so much, I knew going into building & construction wasn't for me.
It took me many years to really understand all the options available to me, when exploring employment. Due to my cultural, social and economical environment, my perception of how far I could reach was a little distorted(in my opinion). I truly believed there was only one of four paths: retail, office based, trades or public (I.E teacher, social worker, etc). I had no confidence in the fact, I could work in what ever sector I chose.
Fast forward to my early twenties, though i'd accomplished a lot becoming such a young area manger. Continuing in that company wasn't what I saw for my future. It was at that point, my hunger for entrepreneurship began to take on a life of its own. But, I had no idea how much hard work and sacrifice it takes to be my own boss.
Don't get me wrong, part of my admiration for my dad. Lies in the hard word and dedication he devotes to his business. But the really is, my dad isn't a mum. Being a mum and running your own business, magnifies EVERYTHING!
Have you ever had to miss a great opportunity because you couldn't get childcare? I have. Attending networking events, business trade shows etc mostly convene outside the average childcare agreement. Which means essential opportunities to grow your business are missed. Now i'm not moaning, in no way. I'm fully aware of the choice I made have children. I'm just highlighting, I'm one of thousands of women. Who will understand this aspect of entrepreneurship.
When you look at what being an "entrepreneur" means today. Your met with images of glitz and glamour. The message given is - One you run your own business the money comes rolling in! Running your own business, man or woman is far from that.
Being an entrepreneur is definitely very rewarding. Not to mention, the immeasurable freedom you get from being your own boss. The part no one speak about, is how lonely and isolating it is. Especially if you work from home and don't have a team.
I remember when I first got into business. I had the notion that every spare moment I had, should be spent growing the business. That of course to me, meant dedication. What I didn't foresee, was how detrimental this would be to my social life. Yes, friends are supportive of what your doing. But they don't always understand, this means sacrificing many social meet-ups.
Even going for a meal can be a struggle, whether it be due to conflicting schedules or you simply don't have the funds. (This of course because you're pumping every spare penny you have into your business.) Inevitably results in less invites and less communication, which enables you to focus more time on your business. So the vicious cycle starts!
Now let's touch on those late nights and early mornings!
How many hours have you spent working until the wee hours of the morning?
Now, can you answer
How many times a friend has come over for company, whilst you work?
Not that this isn't expected. My point is that's another aspect of the loneliness and isolation. When I think back, I was alone a lot. But that's when I chose to take control of my situation. Working at home alone for hours at a time, definitely had a negative impact on my mental health. So, I started putting together a plan every month. Ideas of how I plan to break up each work week, this also has to work around being a mum.
Not matter the location you work from, getting out at regular intervals is necessary. Scheduling regular intervals throughout the day, to have a little "me time," is great for you and your business. Working endless hours and exhausting yourself, will eventually take a toll on your physical and or mental health.
Long hours & days is one of the sacrifices that come with being your own boss but it does not have to control your life.
I hope my tips help on your way of finding a good work/life balance.
Click here to find out how other small business cope with not working in a traditional office.
Go and have a sit down
Step away from your desk for a coffee and check your "personal" phone. You'd be amazed how many quick conversations, you can have during a cup of coffee. Not only does this give you sometime to relax, catching up with family and friend always brightens up the day!
Desk Share/Hot Desk
There are hundreds of workspace communities. Places you can build work relationships and bounce ideas off. This option isn't for everyone, as layouts tend to be very accessible to all users. But as long as you're willing to pay a small premium and share a desk (same desk isn't guaranteed). This is definitely something you should look into. The community you'd be joining, will do wonders for your business. You have excellent networking opportunities at your fingertips.
Go for a walk
Regular human interactions, have a positive influence on each persons mental and physical health. It's been documented that ensuring you have regular social interactions. Lowers the occurrence of stress, depression and anxiety. Now, of course i'm not asking you to go walking around aimlessly. What i'm saying is, plan a walk to your local shops. Even if it's just to pick up a few items needed at home. Not only will it give you needed fresh air and exercise, you can also have a quick catch up with you locals.
Take a nap!
You work hard and i'm sure that doesn't stop when you arrive home. If you work from home or have a quiet room at your workspace, where you won't be disturbed. Go and take a 30 minute nap. Trust me, even planning a couple per week. Gives you such a natural energy boost, you'd wonder why you hadn't started sooner.
Thank you so much for reading, this is a continuous post.
So please keep checking in for more tips.