5 Things Every Business Owner Needs
If I were to say my life hasn't changed since opening my own design studio, I would be totally lying. My life has been shaped in so many different ways, for the better. Although I love the career path I've chosen (or that chose me), I have to say I'm not a stranger to burnout.
Burnout is a stinky sucker, a life sucker. I absolutely hate feeling burn out doing what I love so I've found ways to avoid it at all costs and I'd really love to share them with you today.
1: Take YOU time. Taking time out for myself was something I really struggled with in the beginning. Honestly, I still have my days where I have to pry myself away from the computer because I'm an insane perfectionist when it comes to my work. I'm not saying that isn't a good thing, but it can get very overwhelming. With a husband and a toddler who need my attention just as much as my clients, I've learned it's so important for me to set work hours and stand firm with them. For me, taking "me" time consists of daily gym sessions, playing outside when it's sunny with my son, cutting off my work at 6 PM as much as possible, treating my son to beach time on the weekends, and soaking up every minute possible. Time is short, y'all, and I don't want to waste any of it. So while I give 90% of myself to my work, I have to give 100% at the same time (how is that even possible!?) to my family. I'm so grateful for my clients because they all reinforce that family comes first.
2: Automate as much as possible! I'm not even gonna lie...if I could just hire someone to do all of my contracts, invoicing, and all the other icky business stuff - I would in a heartbeat. My favorite side of business is the designing aspect and working with my clients one on one to further their businesses in the digital world. Last week, my girl Anastasia over at IDCO recommended Dubsado to me. OH MY GOSH - Dubsado became my lifesaver in 2.5 seconds. I've been able to make an entirely automated process that sends each item out for me and notifies me of when my client has taken care of each process. Before, I had Freshbooks for accounting & invoicing purposes, Docusign for contracts, & was emailing questionnaire links out. Whew. Not only has Dubsado made my life easier, but I've even been hearing amazing praises from my clients. Now, they can login to their account and view all of the nitty gritty stuff I've sent them in one place. Thanks, Stass!
3: Networking groups. When I began my own business, I had the concept of competition so far engraved into my head by previous bosses & mentors, it was scary. I feared opening up to those in my field, thinking they'd steal an idea or knock me down. I decided late last year to let go of that fear and start engaging in Facebook groups & other online communities. I started trying to create meaningful relationships with those who I had once feared chatting with and it has changed my entire life..both in a business sense & personal. If I could have you do one thing today to change the direction your life is going, I would say encourage someone. Encourage everyone you meet! There is enough success to go around the table, we'll all get our full share, I promise you. I'm in a group with 9 other women who I found randomly by creating Instagram comment pods.
I can't even explain to you the relationship we've all cultivated just by being honest about our hardships and open with our successes. In a world where working from home isn't quite understood, it's nice to have a group of women who get you, who support you, and who are cheering you on for EVERY little tiny success. I mean, I could lie and say I didn't shed a tear the other day thinking about how grateful I am for them...but let's just call it for what it is: I cried. Yep. My point is that competition is a mindset, an awful one. Competition is a mindset that will hinder you from day 1. The moment you decide to befriend those you fear, you will grow by leaps and bounds. There is no advice quite like that you receive from someone who understands you. We share EVERYthing about our businesses with one another out of full faith & trust. It has always come back tenfold.
4: An understanding partner. If you're single, this one doesn't pertain to you but I want to give a little shout out to those in a relationship balancing their businesses. While we all set strict schedules (more on mine to come this week!) and office hours, there will always be times where we work later than usual in order to catch up or stay on top of things. Life can get in the way and I have been so fortunate to be married to my John, who always understands if I need to step away for a client call really quick or jump on the computer to email myself or a client something. He understands when we're at the gym and I say "I need to post something" because I manage social media accounts for boutiques. He is fully supportive & I encourage you to find someone who is, because it makes life so much easier. I also encourage you to remember to be grateful for their support & show your gratefulness by taking time away for them, too.
5: A reality check. There will be days where everything is going smoothly, everyone is happy, and then BAM - reality hits. There is nothing like a wakeup call to let you know that whatever your doing isn't working. I've never had a bad relationship with a client, thankfully. I have absolutely adored every single person I have worked with but I know there will be a day where I just don't mesh with someone and I dread it. Why? Because it's going to knock me off my tracks and force me to realize what isn't working. But I have to constantly encourage myself to see that in a positive light: the struggles are what pushes us to grow, what encourages us to shake things up a little bit. Every business owner needs a little push every now and then to come to terms with the reality of any situation. Whether that's a health issue, a relationship struggle, or even a low checking account..those struggles are what define us.
I would love to hear what YOU can't live without!