Ever sit at your full-time job and think about what it would be like to make your own schedule, not have to ask for time off and call all the shots? I have too.
But, can I let you in on a little secret? It’s not that simple.
See, being your own boss means that you, more often than not, work extended hours, contrary to popular belief. You are the CEO, human resources manager, healthcare administrator, customer service representative, researcher, marketing department, housekeeper, bookkeeper...all of that. And until you are in a position to hire additional staff to share the workload, the go-to person is YOU.
All in all, don’t let these things deter you, they’re all a part of running any business. Having the freedom to live in your purpose is a wonderful thing and totally priceless.
I am currently sitting at a full-time job, but used the holiday mini-break as an entrepreneurial trial because I had already taken some time off and needed to get things tweaked for my businesses prior to the New Year. I totally had the false impression that being my own boss meant that I would be waking up at 10 a.m. in my pajamas, making myself a full breakfast, pancakes and all, followed by a long lunch and clocking out by 5 p.m. Nope.
That’s not how this works....that’s not how any of this works.
The first day was a bust, as I got off to a late start and my whole day was thrown completely off. The next few days were learning experiences.
What I found was that, as a wife and mom, my best performance hours began as early as 6 a.m. with a quiet house, no interruptions, prayer and meditation to start the day. What I’ve also found to be true is that when you are doing something you absolutely love, it's so easy to get caught up in what you’re doing to a point where you suddenly lose track of time; this has happened quite a few times. I had gotten so preoccupied with work that I was forgetting to eat lunch (so unlike ME to miss any meals) and didn’t quite know when to shut it down. I was obsessed and putting in some crazy hours, but then other areas in my life began to suffer and I felt completely exhausted.
That being said, if I could offer any advice on entrepreneurship for those looking to step away from their 9-5, it would be the following:
- You get out what you put in. Simply put: Do the work! Don’t compare yourself to other business owners as you do not know their journeys. Comparison will snatch all of your joy.
- Get an early start. Who cares if you’re not a morning person...let’s go! You can't sleep in until 10 a.m. and expect to run a smart business...the whole morning would be practically gone, leaving you to cram in the day’s work on the back-end!
- Have a timed agenda for each day. Instead of navigating through the day blindly, have a plan in place full of action items and reasonable deadlines.
- Set limitations and be firm on your time. You will hear many entrepreneurs (and teleworkers) complain that since they’re not in a traditional office setting, their friends and families assume that they have all the time in the world to run errands for them, babysit their children, meet for long lunches, hold never-ending conversations, drop someone off at the airport, etc. all during peak business hours. Don’t sell yourself short. Set the tone right away and let them know that you're running a business, have a set work schedule, and are unavailable for ABC during the hours of XYZ.
- Figure out when you want to end your official work day to make time for yourself, your family and friends. It’s so easy to slip into workaholic mode, but please try not to neglect your loved ones, who are most important.
- Realize that there will be some late nights and early mornings, especially in crunch times. You will adjust multiple times, but pretty soon, you will get into a rhythm. Do what works for you, but don’t waste time. Work smarter, not harder.
- Treat yourself every now and again. You are working hard and deserve it!