Last week I returned from a 12 day camping trip in Colorado (the above photo was taken there!). . . . I know, I know- now is not an ideal time to travel, but I needed this trip so bad, ya’ll! I feel so fortunate and grateful to be growing my business and working on more projects than ever this year, given that so many people are unable to work because of the pandemic, but. . . I needed a break. Besides working a lot, the monotony of being home all the time (with almost no social engagements on the calendar) was starting to get to me. This is a recipe for burnout.
In the past, I have not been good about separating work and play, setting boundaries with clients, and saying “no” to projects that when I have a more-than-full workload. However, I like to think that I’ve turned a corner on this. For the first time ever, I did not check my email for an entire week!! I had an auto-responder set up in my email account, and gave all of my current clients a heads-up that I would not be available. And guess what? No one died. No websites crashed. No one needed me (and only me) to solve any life-or-death problems for them.
I recently listened to a podcast interview with a really successful CEO who said that he and his wife take an “off the grid” vacation every quarter, for a week. That means he is absolutely unreachable via phone, email, etc. Now I’m sure that he has dozens of people running his company for him while he’s gone, and most of us entrepreneurs don’t have that luxury, but there are so many other ways to take care of yourself and grow your business at the same time:
- 1. Set boundaries from the get-go. This is something I wish I had thought about more when I started freelancing. I was hungry for work, so I took whatever jobs came my way and worked whenever the client needed me to. This is a bad habit that has taken a long time for me to undo. It’s not selfish to make your boundaries clear and state them whenever you need to. If you only want to work until 5:00 (or heck, 2:00) let your clients/ customers know that you are not available after that time. If you prefer email communication to phone, let people know. Outlining your “work style” (i.e. hours of availability, how you prefer to communicate, payment schedule, etc.) on a page on your website that you can point new clients to is very useful. As an example, here’s the “new client onboarding” page on my site.
- 2. Delegate what you can. Guess what? I recently hired my first-ever “virtual assistant” to help with organizational and social media tasks! It’s very scary for an Aries like me, who likes to/ needs to be in control of everything to delegate work to someone else, but I have heard from so many successful entrepreneurs that this is an absolute necessity if you want to grow, thrive, and avoid burnout. It’s kind of embarrassing that it’s taken me this long to bring on help, since I am always preaching to clients and potential clients that they shouldn’t have to “do it all” in their business. Most of my clients are DIY-ers, like me, who think they can save money and stay in control by doing everything, including building their own websites, designing their own logo, staying up-to-date with social media, etc. But if these things are not naturally in your wheelhouse- hire a pro! Your time is valuable, so be realistic about how many tasks you can actually do well and delegate the rest. Trust me, it’s worth it!
- 3. Take care of yourself. This seems pretty obvious, but sometimes as entrepreneurs (and human beings) we forget that this isn’t just important, it’s essential. It’s a cliche, but true, that you can’t help anyone else if you’re not “fit” yourself. And by fit, I mean mentally, physically and spiritually well. Do what you need to do to get enough sleep, eat healthy, clear your mind before and/ or after work, move your body and energize your soul. For me, being outside is a necessity. I work long hours inside, in front of a computer, so to counteract that stale energy I take frequent walks during the day. And in my free-time, I am usually hiking, sailing, camping, biking, walking/ playing with a foster pup, or just sitting on my porch.
Are you starting or growing an online business and realize that you can’t do everything yourself? Schedule an in-depth consultation and audit of your existing online presence (if you have one). We will spend up to 2 hours talking (via Zoom) about what the bigger picture of your business is and how to take a holistic approach to improving it. Where do you want to take your business in the next year? What’s currently working and not working? Who are your ideal clients and how can you reach them?
We’ll look at existing branding, your website/ web presence, SEO (Google ranking), Social Media, etc. and make a comprehensive plan for how to move forward. I will answer any questions you have and give you honest, useful feedback on building your brand and increasing revenue.
Ongoing coaching is available as well!