Today we are going to lift our perspective from just coaches and broaden the net to encompass something bigger – entrepreneurship. It’s the key to starting and running your coaching business! Yet it’s often overlooked and instead, we tend to focus on the coaching side.
Let’s not for a minute, and let’s focus on the business and entrepreneurial side for a bit. Ok?
Many entrepreneurs struggle with achieving work-life balance. They spend more time at work than they do living and enjoying life. This may be because they harbor an innate fear that if they’re not working for most of their waking hours, they are not being productive, which means they are failing at business.
I know. I’ve been there.
Entrepreneurship, while exhilarating can also be stressful and frustrating at times. It is particularly draining if you add other responsibilities on top of it.
Entrepreneurs often wear countless hats and try to be brave while facing a myriad of setbacks – client retention, debt, improving marketing, and keeping clients happy – all while trying not to go completely stressed or even worse, broke.
According to current research, 34 percent of small business owners report that they are worried and 45 percent said they were stressed. That’s a considerably higher number than average for employees.
This worry and stress can get to a critical breaking point if not addressed quickly.
However, the sad fact is that entrepreneurs tend to struggle in silence because up until recently, the risk of burnout, mental exhaustion, and depression among entrepreneurs was taboo.
If you have started your business recently, you may be familiar with these emotions.
You may be spending long hours working on finalizing and launching your business – isolated from friends and family.
You may have even sacrificed your weekends and placed everything on your social calendar on hold. But overextending yourself is not healthy. Finding time to unwind, spend with your family or just sleep for eight hours is crucial to your physical health as well as your mental health.
There is a middle ground between working on your dream job and living outside your planner. And It can be achieved far easier than you might imagine!
This is not a dystopian article about how we as entrepreneurs and coaches work ourselves to death, but rather a solid plan, and a suggestion that you might want to look into in order to achieve freedom and a good Work-life balance – starting today!
Play to your strengths
Look down at your chest. Is there is a huge red ‘S’ on it?
If not, then it’s safe to assume that you’re not a superhero. That does not mean you don’t have superpowers!
You can’t be all things to all people. So focus on your strengths.
Stick to the activities that you do well and outsource the other components of your business to competent individuals, or automate them completely! Make no mistake, your most valuable asset is your time!
Schedule your tasks
As an entrepreneur, your to-do list will likely be very long. Prioritizing your tasks will take the pressure off you to multi-task or try to complete all your tasks in a short period. And according to neuroscience, only 1% of the population can multitask, so let’s monotask instead!
The biggest unknown when it comes to how to prioritize is differentiating between tasks that feel like they’re on the same level of importance.
Here’s where Brian Tracy’s ABCDE method works wonders. Instead of keeping all tasks on a single level of priority, this method offers two or more levels for each task.
Here’s how it works:
Go through your list and give every task a letter from A to E (A being the highest priority)
For every task that has an A, give it a number that dictates the order you’ll do it in.
Repeat until all tasks have letters and numbers. And remember that tasks are ACTIONABLE, something you can do, not a result of doing multiple tasks!
Know your personality
Do you work best alone? Are you a morning person? Do you need to snack while working?
Evaluate the way you perform most efficiently and create an environment that facilitates that version of you.
For example, if you work best alone, explain to your family members that you will take only urgent requests once you’re in your work zone.
Noise-canceling headphones can work wonders for the person who cannot hear anyone else around while he’s working.
If you are a morning person, try to do high-concentration tasks early in the day rather than leave them until midnight when you possibly won’t want to handle them.
As a coach and entrepreneur, you have the ability to choose how, and when you work! So take advantage of this and make sure to create routines and habits that support you and let you get the most done, in the shortest time possible!
If you are curious about your personality type, you can do a free test HERE!
Declare personal time non-negotiable
Whenever personal issues arise, if you are not the only person who can handle matters, you may be tempted to ignore and bury your head back into the marketing campaigns that you have scheduled.
Try not to do that. It is best to take the time to handle personal issues. Bear in mind that as a sole trader, you and your business are one.
Therefore, whatever affects you personally also affects your business. You must take the time to relax and rejuvenate. It doesn’t have to be long – 15 minutes per day sitting and remembering a fun moment while you drink tea or taking a walk in your neighborhood will not cause you to fail at business.
But not doing so could cost you your life and family!
Meditation works wonders for me and helps me increase my energy levels as well as decrease my stress levels. When I don’t take care of my mind and my soul, my quality time with friends and family suffers, so I make sure to make this a priority!
Have dedicated hours for work
Set work hours for yourself and try not to deviate!
If you’re working from home, this may prove difficult if you have others who depend on you for such things as food and care.
Though it is hard to work within strict hours in this type of situation, it is not impossible.
Take advantage of your productive stages, and schedule the days based on when you get the most done!
Remember, it’s not about how many hours you spend working, it’s about what you get done! Always remember that!
And unless you set strict work hours as an entrepreneur, you’ll find yourself working past midnight much too often, which leads to burnout, emotional exhaustion, and mental fatigue. Trust me, that won’t help anyone!
Familiarize yourself with finances
One of the biggest causes of stress for new entrepreneurs is cash flow. Worry creeps in when you’re not confident about the profitability of your business. Again, I’ve been there… And It’s super stressful!
The best way to keep this in check is by using a spreadsheet and keeping track of income and expenses. Do this on a weekly basis, and make sure you are focusing on MAKING MORE not cutting costs!
You can never become financially free by cutting costs, only by making more! So how can you do that?
That should be your ‘go-to’ question when looking at the spreadsheet!
Record all monies spent in your business even if it seems insignificant.
“What we measure grow” – and keeping track of your finances on a regular basis helps you decrease stress and lets you focus on what’s important!
Manage future plans
It’s easy to forget events and commitments when you’re concentrating on getting your business off the ground.
Therefore, don’t leave your future commitments to chance.
Create a schedule of all your important future commitments such as your anniversary, your kids’ school play, your dog’s vet appointment, or a friend’s book launch.
Whatever you know you’re obligated to attend or do, record it on your schedule so that you’ll remember that you are out of the office on those days.
Just doing this easy thing will help you guarantee that your social life and professional lives don’t interfere with each other and is lightly to save you from high blood pressure and lots of stress!
And make sure that one of those commitments is family time!
Make your workspace yours
Since you are going to be working in one area for most of the day, you might as well go ahead and make it comfortable. Working from home can sometimes be challenging, but it’s also a great opportunity!
Make sure to set up an area that is dedicated to working activities! This will improve your mood and efficiency. Invest in equipment that will support your eyes, back, and shoulders, particularly if you work on your computer a lot.
Equipment can include a laptop stand, a wireless keyboard and mouse, and an ergonomic chair.
Ensure you have good lighting. Natural sunlight is excellent but if this isn’t possible, make sure your area is well-lit.
And don’t forget to take breaks during the day!
Commit to exercise
The importance of exercise is often overlooked in the start-up community as many entrepreneurs throw all their time behind the business while neglecting their health.
However, exercising is an activity that entrepreneurs must make a priority.
Exercise is a great creative outlet, particularly for entrepreneurs who work on long projects that can cause a slump in imagination.
Exercising is an effective method for generating innovative ideas.
Additionally, exercise releases endorphins – our bodies’ feel-good chemical.
This relieves stress and makes us more productive. Therefore, give exercise as much priority as you do your clients’ work. You’ll perform better and finish faster.
You don’t need to go to the gym or lift heavy weights! Going for a walk or a run is a great start, but make sure you incorporate physical activity and exercise in your daily life!
Self-assess - Daily!
Everything won’t always go right in your day. At the end of each day, do an assessment of what worked, what went wrong, and how the issues identified can be fixed.
Problems are opportunities for growth so if you lost revenue based on a gap in your skills, commit to filling that gap by learning something new!
If you were late, revisit your schedule and reprioritize tasks, giving yourself room for unexpected activities.
Remember that you are not the only entrepreneur who has to go through challenges so tap into previous experiences.
For many entrepreneurs, sleep is a luxury reserved only for a few who can afford it. Others believe that sleep only belongs to lazy business owners who are not interested in growth. Nothing could be less true.
Sleep is essential for everyone, including you and me!
Lack of sleep causes the brain to age quickly. If you don’t get enough sleep, your cognitive functions diminish putting you at risk for premature aging of the brain.
Living a balanced life means sleeping, exercising, meditating, and spending time with people we love!
And not getting enough sleep leads to poor decision making, irritability, and an inability to recall information.
To be a successful entrepreneur, you must understand and accept the importance of sleep, and how to manage your sleep habits!
Conclusion and Next Steps...
Entrepreneurship is as difficult as it is exciting. But too many entrepreneurs sacrifice living fully and wear being busy as a badge. Finding a healthy balance between the two is possible and these steps will help you to achieve it without putting your business at risk.
You have so many opposability and all your dreams within an arms reach!
But forgetting about life, health, and family in the midst of building your business is dangerous!
For me, I used to work long hard hours, building my business. Or thinking I did.
In reality, I was mostly keeping busy, and not really moving the needle forward. I lost track of what was important, my kids, my health, and my family.
And they were the reason I started in the first place.
Taking care of yourself, and making sure you have a work-life balance that is comfortable to your life, and needs are important!
Therefore I strongly suggest sitting down and reflecting on how you can make this a reality in your life!