When I left the “9 to 5”, I was thrilled to be starting my own venture. While I was dedicated to giving it my all, what I didn’t realize was that my life was about to drastically change. I soon found out that if I didn’t plan my own weekends and days off, there wouldn’t be any. Gone were the lazy weekends and evenings on the couch. A busy business owner could work everyday of the week, month, and year…and many do. When you love what you’re doing, you don’t really mind. In fact, you might not even notice you haven’t showered and it’s 5pm already or that lunchtime came and went while you were busy sending emails. While you’ve given up some bad habits like mindlessly surfing the internet or gossiping at your co-workers desk, you may have developed some new routines that are causing you to be a bit frazzled. The key to remaining unfrazzled and keeping your sanity is a Balanced Biz. Whether you’re just starting out on the road of entrepreneurism or if you’ve been on the journey a few years, keep in mind the following tips for a Balanced Biz.
- Fuel Your Biz – As a Food Coach, I help busy women figure out how to maintain balance in their lives and eat food that will fuel them with energy. The irony of my work as a food coach is that as a budding entrepreneur with many goals, I have to keep steady tabs on myself so that I don’t slip out of balance. And of course, when I overwork, my body always reminds me. Just last month I caught the flu and not because it was going around or because I was eating junk. It was simply because I went overboard with work. I was spending late hours on the computer, forgetting to take breaks, and not taking care of me. Remember to fuel yourself first, so that you can fuel your business. The more energy you allow yourself, through proper food, exercise and relaxation, the more energy you’ll have for thinking creatively and tackling new challenges.
- Positive Pals – Early on in my business, I found out that surrounding myself with positive people was essential. As soon as you announce your plans for starting your own business, the look you may get from some of your closest friends and family members can be downright astounding. Not everyone has it in them to be as creative and daring as you, and your ability to take action on your dreams may be foreign to them. Don’t spend too much time in the early stages of formulating your idea with these nay-sayers. Stay focused and committed. Find new friends or networks that support your ideas and dreams. There are many local small business networks or internet networking groups such as Meetup.com and LinkedIn. I found my support network through Ladies Who Launch, an amazing network of entrepreneurial women who helped shape the course of my business.
- Super Skills - Many business owners start out by taking on every task in the beginning. From bookkeeping, to marketing, to sales, to web writing, and much more. Clearly, you don’t want to blow the bank, so you put on the “I’ll do it myself” hat. This is one of the biggest mistakes an entrepreneur can make. Yes, it’s important to make sound financial decisions for your business, but focusing on the things you do best is what will make your business grow the fastest. It is essential to consider team members that will support you. My first team member was a bookkeeper – what a relief! I realized that the hours I spent trying to put everything into QuickBooks, making mistakes along the way, were hours I could be marketing my business and connecting with clients. While you can’t hire team members for every task right away, start by choosing one team member. As your business builds, have a plan for the next team members you will hire. You may even find someone you can barter services with. I offered free food coaching to a virtual assistant who helped me input and track my database. Go for it - it feels so good to have an assistant! To get started, visit sites like elance.com, getcertainty.com, and getfriday.com.
Fueling your business, surrounding yourself with positive people, and finding team members so you can focus on your talents are all keys to creating a business with a headache-free foundation. Your business will go to greater places, and won’t leave you behind with your head spinning.
Suzanne Monroe is a Food Coach and owner of Real Life Food. Real Life Food coaches help busy women everywhere figure out what to eat and how to have more energy. For more information on Real Life Food programs, workshops, and recipes, or for a free food coaching session, visit www.reallifefood.com. Suzanne also supports new business owners with effective marketing and business strategies.