Anyone serious about building their career will tell you that doing so is no easy feat. Add entrepreneurship or self-employment to that equation and things became that much more complicated. For a long time, as I worked on my building my business, I paid close attention to what ‘experts’ would recommend and would research existing business models that on closer examination felt outdated and draining to maintain.
From Burnout To Rising Above: Lessons From My Experience
During my early years, not only was I working all the time, I felt like I was working in ways that were not in my best interest personally even if there were results to show on the professional front. Something had to give and I decided to make changes in my business model and the way that I worked. I wanted to work in ways that would allow me to meet both my personal and professional goals. That is, there should be little to no conflict between the two sides of myself (work and home) – as far as is possible.
I learned from experience that building a business (particularly a sole trader business) meant that work and life will at some point interface and intertwine. While I expected that there would naturally be times of challenge and periods of high stress and moments of learning, growing and stretching, being on the wrong end of a burnout quickly taught me that this should by no means be the ‘norm.’ Instead, there should be a fair amount of ‘ease’ (for me anyway) in the way I live my life and run my business as my business should work for me as much as I worked to make it a success. I had to learn to work smarter. Below, I share three tips on exactly how I did that.
1. I took the time to get clear on what was important to me
As I began taking a closer look at my business structure and what about it wasn’t working for me, I began to ask myself ‘why’ these particular features were not, in fact, working for me. These questions – and in particular my responses to them – made me look closely at my values, my deal breakers, and what mattered the most to me. I had to really think about what I wanted.
Getting clear on what’s important would be my first recommendation to you. You can do that using these steps:-
- Be sure to ask yourself probing questions about who you are, what your ideal lifestyle looks like, and what you hope to achieve in your business
- List the values that you come up with from the questions above
- Look at features in your business that conflict with the values you have listed from the step above and note them
- Consider possible solutions for making adjustments in your business structure (the way you currently work) to accommodate your deeply held value
- Repeat this process as often as necessary
Here’s an example of how I used the above process:
|1. What does my ideal lifestyle look like?
|2. How flexible do I|
|Deeply Held Value||Current Structure||Changes Needed||Solutions for Implementation|
|Want a better work-life balance with more R&R and self-care while I build my business||Working ‘on call’ for clients in various time zones worldwide (i.e. being chained to my computer)||– Taking days off
– Regulating business hours dedicated to clients
– Set up more efficient and automated business processes where possible
|– Define new business working hours (For e.g. Mon-Friday 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM for clients, admin, booking, etc)
Deeply held value: I wanted a better work-life balance with more R&R and self-care (goodbye burnouts…forever)
Current structure: Working ‘on call’ for clients in various time zones worldwide
Needed changes in structure: Take days off and regulate business hours
I started with Sunday which was my least productive day anyway. The only thing I committed to on a Sunday, thereafter, was rest and relaxation (think extended meditation, nourishing meals, sleep, and my favourite movie or book). I also implemented working hours (mainly for processing bookings and other administrative tasks). I also worked on improving business processes so that automation could do some of the work on my behalf.
Like me, you too can opt to use tables to represent your information. I find tables help to separate the information properly and highlight the important parts visually and can help increase clarity.
Also, you can join the Kei Dubb Digital Learning Centre for FREE and access the Business Structure Review Cheat Sheet for more information.
2. Do a different kind of research
During my hiatus and business restructuring, I
3. I designed a plan to help move me forward
Growing up, I often heard it said ‘if you don’t know where you’re going, any road can take you there.’ As I grew older, I quickly realised how true that saying is. I quickly became a