QA: How Do You Manage Your Business All On Your Own?
It’s been officially a year and half since I decided to quit my desk job to pursue my business, and I have to say, it’s been incredible.
Incredibly fun. Incredibly stressful. Incredibly tiring. Incredibly fulfilling.
A lot of people have turned to me and asked, how do I manage my life (and live semi-comfortably), while running a business on my own? Well, the answer is a long one, so I figured I’d just write about it in today’s blog post.
It’s a Non-Stop Grind
I cannot stress this enough: owning your own business is a GRIND. Since starting this business, my mind has never “clocked out”. From the moment I wake up, to the time I finally get a chance to rest my eyes at night, I’m thinking of the endless list of things I need to handle, exploring new project ideas, and going through the tasks of HANDLING BUSINESS.
If you like being able to mentally checkout after your 9-to-5, then I highly suggest to not quit your day job. If you ARE ready to make the jump into becoming an entrepreneur, then you must know you’ll be committing to endless work hours, sleepless nights, and lots of stress.
So, why even go through with it? Well, in return I get the fulfillment of pursuing my passions, the ability to set my own schedule, and the power to pick and choose where I want to focus my energies. I get to work towards something that I love, and that’s why I’m pursuing this.
Plant Your Eggs in Multiple Baskets
For those of you who have asked me how I am able to depend solely on my business for income - in all honestly, I don’t. I’ve mentioned before that in a previous life I was in digital marketing, and I do still do some remote marketing consulting to supplement my income.
With that said, my business can handle itself and run on its own. My biggest advice is to diversify your streams of income. At this point, I have many ways of generating revenue for the business: commission/custom work, workshops, retail sales, wholesale sales, weddings, and events. If one channel isn’t working for me one month, the entire ecosystem doesn’t collapse - I have other channels in play and can keep my business running smoothly.
Have Someone Else Handle Your Weaknesses
I’ll admit it - I’m the worst at bookkeeping and accounting. Knowing that about myself, I also knew that wasn’t going to let my business fail because of it. I outsourced. I now work with an excellent bookkeeper and an amazing accountant to keep my books in order and taxes paid.
Consider what you know you hate doing, and find ways to delegate those tasks to someone who is an expert in that field. That way, you free up time (and alleviate a lot of anxiety) to do the things you’d rather be doing for your business.
Whether you’re a list maker, a time blocker, or daily planner type of person, find a way to stay organized. The reality is that even those with the best memory will let small things slip through the cracks if there’s no system in place.
What’s my system? I like to create to-do lists in a weekly spread so I know exactly what my priorities are for each day. I’ve tried online task management systems like Trello, but to me, the satisfaction of hand-checking things off a to-do list is much greater than a tick on a screen. I also am an avid user of my Google Calendar to keep all of my events and appointments in order.
Build Your Tribe
The power of connection is truly mind-blowing. My best clients have come out of referrals from connections I’ve made with people in my professional and personal life. Many of people in my “tribe” can easily be perceived as my competition, but building the community in which we can all grow and reap the benefits is something I take a lot of pride in doing. That’s why if you ever ask me questions about how I do something, I’ll always give you an honest answer.
Whether it’s in person or online, find the people who will support your goals and help you grow. If they have no interest in helping, don’t worry and move on, because there are plenty of good and honest people who are willing to support you in what you do.
And of course, return the favor. I love supporting all of my calligraphy and artist friends by giving them advice, purchasing their work, and attending their events. It makes me happy to see them succeed.
I’m not the best person to be giving advice on self care. Burnout syndrome is something I know I struggle with constantly, and I’m trying to get better at this. Whether it’s reading in the morning before I start my grind, or giving myself time to spend time with friends, make sure to give yourself some time to be, just you.
Prioritize What’s Important to You
Finally, prioritize the things that make you happiest about your business. If you ever find yourself hating what you’re doing - it’s time to step back and take a look at where the joy went. Change is okay. I have had to pivot my vision in different directions many times before, and that’s what has helped me ensure that at the end of the day, I’m happy with my business. If that means choosing to stop altogether, that could be the answer, too. You know yourself best.
If you are also a business owner, what are some tips you like to share? And, if you found any of my tips helpful at all, let me know in the comments below!