Most new businesses fail and a lot of this failure is down to the fact that entrepreneurs are not prepared for how tough it will be financially and emotionally.
Although the statistics consistently say it is lack of cash (or cash flow issues) that shuts businesses I think burnout also has a significant effect.
I am sure we all know of people who have their own business and they work 24/7, they often are the ones at social occasions glued to their phones and always seem to be rushing at a million miles an hour between meetings. Their lives are frantic and their business defines them and how they spend their time.
If, like many mums, you have started up your business to spend more time with your kids the last thing you want to be doing is working more or spending time checking your phone for emails when you are with your kids.
So how do you make sure you are working “smart” rather than becoming a frazzled mess?
The first thing you need to do is plan. Planning is one of the most critical things when you are starting up on your own. This includes creating a business plan, a marketing plan and a financial plan (they can all be in the one document); having a weekly or monthly action plan and having longer term goals. If you spend time planning you can be really clear about what you need to achieve on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
When you have a plan in place I would advise you to start looking at how you use your time every week. Do an audit and work out how you are spending your time and then think about what you ideally would like to do – would you like to only work school hours? when will you do your household chores? what about self care and exercise? I am big on scheduling and schedule everything in from my work on my business, to spending time with my partner to my kids.
When you are scheduling your time schedule in white space as well. This is time when you can just be, it might be where you make a coffee and catch up on what's app conversations with your friends, you might go for a walk, watch a box set or call someone or you might have a bath. Whatever works for you. It is really important to have this to make sure you don't burnout. Equally if you are in an industry like mine don't book back to back appointments – give yourself some time in between. It means that you are in a better headspace and can focus more on your client when you speak to them.
If certain times are important to you then don't do any work during these times. I have recently taken to only checking my emails at set times. This means you can allocate time at set times every day to look and respond to them rather than doing it throughout the day. I also make sure that I am not on my phone around my kids so when they are home in the evenings and at weekends we have time as a family.
My next tip is to work mindfully. This means doing one thing at a time, multitasking has been shown again and again to decrease your mental capacities so ditch it! Focus on doing tasks well in the time you have allocated. I make sure that when I am doing things that will take longer I am in a quiet place and I don't have distractions – this can often be early in the morning as I am the only lark in our house. Work out what works for you.
The final bit of advise is to be kind to yourself, if you don't get enough sleep, aren't eating right or looking after yourself and you are trying to do everything you put yourself at risk of burnout. You are your businesses most important asset and you need to remember that.
Lots of entrepreneurs work with business coaches as we can help with all of this. I can hold you accountable for your action plan and can support you when things aren't going well. I am always available to my clients via email or what's app (although I might not get back immediately). It is hard going it alone but there are things that you can do to minimise risk and maximise success. If you want to speak more about business coaching please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or look at my website www.ruthkudzicoaching.com