Most small business owners and entrepreneurs go into business so they have a measure of control over their lives, their business aspirations, their time and their schedule. While controlling your destiny and independence is wonderful, it does come with some challenges. Once a business owner is managing the day-to-day operation of their “dream”, it doesn’t take very long before their battery starts to wear down. Often this is because this person now carries the weight and has sole responsibility of the business. Bringing customers in, managing the finances, dealing with human resource issues all can take its toll on a small business owner. An entrepreneur can experience a sense of loss and may miss the social aspect of working for someone else. There is no longer the team that supports someone and the business owner is now in a situation where they are “stuck”. There is no longer the option of quitting the job like someone would have when they work for someone else. This new reality can be very challenging.
So what are some things an entrepreneur or small business owner can do to keep your battery charged?
1. Professional Organizations
There are professional organizations for every kind of topic or business and it is important to get involved and participate. Professional organizations offer all kinds of benefits and connections to people who can be a help and offer support.
2. Develop a Network
Develop a network of like-minded business owners. This can be done by getting involved in a local chamber-of-commerce organization. These connections can be a resource to offer support for the day-to-day challenges of owning and running a business.
3. Continuing Education
Become a life learner! It is important to keep up with current industry trends and technology. Seek out training in your field and attend trainings and seminars. Try to attend at least one (good) conference a year. A change of scenery and new perspectives can be healthy for everyone.
4. Find a Mentor or be a Mentor
Being mentored, or being a mentor, can be a very rewarding experience. Learning best practices, from others who have been successful, and learning tricks-of-the-trade can be very beneficial. Mentoring someone else can be encouraging in that when you pour into someone else’s life, you uncover wisdom that can sometimes get lost in the day-to-day. Sharing this wisdom often activates dormant ideas and thoughts that can be recaptured and put back into your business.
5. Get a Hobby
Find a hobby to “force” yourself to think about something else. I recently took up the game of golf and cannot believe how addicted I am to it now. It has become a very therapeutic refuge for me. Hobbies can be an expression of yourself and provide much needed relaxation.
Just like mentoring others, volunteering for an organization that you believe in can also be very therapeutic and encouraging. It can also give you business leads and new friendships.
7. Find a Confidant
Everyone needs at least one person they can “tell all” to. Someone who they trust and can lay it all out with. We all deal with issues that are of a confidential nature and cannot be discussed with most people, but having that one person to talk to allows you to release the things you struggle with and get things off your chest.
8. Work-life Balance
Business owners often find it difficult to “call it a day” and go home or stop working – in the case of someone who runs a home-based business. This can be tackled by keeping a daily schedule and routine. Getting up at the same time, working set hours and limiting work past those hours can be a good way to establish boundaries. Everyone needs to work additional hours on special projects once in a while, but it should be limited to those rare occasions.
Finally, learn to celebrate the successes along the way. Stop once a year, assess your strategic plan and business goals and stop and celebrate how far you’ve come. Being in this for the long haul requires pacing and rewarding one self. If you don’t do it, no one else will.
What are some other ideas you have for keeping your battery charged?
photo courtesy: FindYourSearch