Self care when running your own business is important – critical even. If employers have a duty of care to their staff, who takes care of the ‘solopreneur’?
I come across a lot of business owners who set up in business to enjoy the freedom of ‘not having a boss’ but then become their own worst boss ever!
Sound familiar? Here are 10 common sense (but not necessarily common practice!) tips for looking after yourself if you run your own business:
- Eat healthily. If you work from home, who chooses what’s in your equivalent of the work canteen? (Ever since seeing how good Angela Rippon looked on the BBC programme ’How to stay young’, I’ve been experimenting with purple foods and meat-free Mondays! – Luckily I was already dancing!)
- Exercise regularly. If it’s three steps from your bedroom to your desk (and another three to the fridge?!), how can you incorporate exercise into your routine? As well as dancing, I enjoy the focus of pilates – it’s hard to be worried about my to-do list when I’m focusing on using the correct muscles and not wobbling!
- Get plenty of good quality sleep. I find this easier said than done but I do find that if I have stuff buzzing in my head at night, writing it down seems to help – it stops me staying awake trying to remember to do x,y,z…
- Reduce the number of decisions you have to make in a day. As a business owner, you are constantly making decisions which can become exhausting! To avoid overwhelm, reduce the number of decisions you need to make by being prepared. I avoid having to make too many early morning decisions before breakfast networking meetings for example by having my clothes ready the night before and I have a ‘networking bag’ that’s always packed with my name badge, business cards, flyers… ready to go.
- Take a break. Do you take a lunch break? ~30% workers in the UK eat ‘al desko’ (The Telegraph, Jan 2015) – if you work from home, why not have a change of scene and visit your local shop/cafe..? Depending on your situation and how you get your energy (from within or from others), ensure you recharge your batteries in a way that suits you (with some time alone if crowds make you tired; time with friends if you work alone and crave company). Take a holiday – even if you feel you can’t afford to be away from your business – can you afford to burn out? Most wedding businesses have a seasonal pattern – so book a vacation when you know you will be quieter. After a good break you should come back refreshed and raring to go!
- Find your support team. You don’t have to do it all alone. What can you delegate? Who can give you advice? Who are your energy angels? Who are your confidantes (a coach, mentor, mastermind group, coaching group – anyone who you don’t have to be the ‘polished you’ with, who understands what it’s like to run your own business)? – you may not want to worry your family or those closest to you…
- Invest time reflecting and thinking. Figure out what’s the right environment for you to think creatively about your business – maybe it’s a coffee shop, maybe it’s your garden – wherever it is, schedule quality creative time. Capture your thoughts in your favourite notebook, mind map, …whatever works best for you.
- Cut yourself some slack. You won’t always do everything right (and neither does anyone else!). Enjoy learning/being a beginner. Stop comparing yourself to others – there’ll always be someone more experienced than you, blogging more often, present at more trade/wedding fairs, more active on more social media channels, (apparently) more successful than you… It’s a bit like learning to drive, the car to watch is the one behind the one in front of you..!
- Remember why you started. Don’t lose sight of why you started your business, what you love about it, what you love doing in it – reconnect with your original purpose – don’t let it become a chore or try to multitask your way through a never-ending to-do list!
- Celebrate your successes. Celebrate every success along the way, however small – don’t let the moment pass. Take time to reflect on how far you’ve already come and what you’ve already achieved.
How do you ensure you look after yourself in business?
This is a guest post by Sian Rowsell. Sian is an effective coach and facilitator, helping people enjoy a more fulfilling life in and outside of work. She offers individual coaching on a one-to-one basis and runs confidential business development groups for women business owners. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sianrowsell.co.uk