It’s not a badge of honor to work sixty hours a week or more. Honestly, the beauty of being a business owner is that you should have more control over your time than you did when you were working 9-5 and commuting to and from the office. When I talk with entrepreneurs I tell them, “biz owners need to tame their time.” If a budding biz owner drives him or herself to the ground, the business won’t survive and perhaps the entrepreneur won’t either. That isn’t why you went into business for yourself is it? To work more hours, see your friends and family less and be so stressed that they don’t enjoy the ride, is it?
You need to take control of your time because if you don’t it will continue to control you. That also means you need to control client and customer expectations. If they think you are available 24/7 because you’re always answering email and phone calls and texts they will expect that. If, however you tell them, you answer the phone from X to X on this day and that and that you take holidays off, they will understand and appreciate it. Believe me, it’s easier to set expectations up front than it is to try and “take away” what they’ve grown accustomed to.
Biz Owners Need To Tame Their Time
Here are a few quick tips to help you get control of your time and enjoy being a business owner.
You can delegate tasks even if you don’t have staff. Are you good at blogging? No? Hire a copywriter. Do you love to crunch numbers and do spreadsheets and balance the budget? No? Hire an accountant. Could you defend yourself in court? No? Hire a lawyer. There are tasks that a business owner, no matter the budget, should consider the cost of doing business and plan for that. Marketing and web development is one of those tasks that an entrepreneur feels they don’t have to worry about and then wonder, “why don’t I have any clients” when they don’t have a website, social media presence or a blog.
Draw the line between business and personal. As mentioned, don’t work 24/7. Keep a calendar and make appointments with yourself –whether it’s going out for lunch with a colleague, taking a walk, going to the gym, etc. Also the line needs to separate your home life from your work life and this is especially true if you work from home. Close the office, or close the laptop at the end of the day. Make it a symbolic, end of the day ritual.
Just say no. I know that when you’re starting out it is hard to say no to a potential client or job but you need to. You need to be very clear on what you will do as well as what you won’t do. Don’t dilute your efforts because if an ideal client comes along and you’re so busy with tasks outside of your zone of genius, you will be frustrated and angry.
It’s a question I get asked all the time by potential business owners, “can introverts succeed as entrepreneurs?” The answer is yes. In fact, sometimes an introvert thrives because he or she isn’t afraid to be alone in the office doing the work that needs to be done. They don’t need to be out and about nor do they need to be the center of attention.
Introverts, by nature, thrive in quiet, solitary spaces but that doesn’t mean there aren’t entrepreneurial pursuits that will feed their physical and emotional beings.
What should an introvert who wants to start a business think about?
Choose a business that will allow you to work from your strength. If you don’t want to be in front of crowds hosting meetings, then don’t choose a career as a public speaker — makes sense, but some people let themselves get lured down a path that doesn’t quite suit their natures.
If you get drained by people, consider activities that maximize interactions while minimizing emotional energy drainers. Decide what kind of business you may be suited for that allows you to interact on your terms (or mostly on your terms because if you work with clients, you will need to accommodate their needs as well)
Start small, no matter which niche you pursue, to gauge whether being a business owner suits your personality. No matter what type of business you’re in you will need to sell — product, services and/or yourself and you need to be comfortable enough to do that.
Can Introverts Succeed As Entrepreneurs?
Look for business partners or colleagues who complement your introverted personality. If you need a boisterous sales person to reach out to potential leads and that’s not your forte — hire that out. You don’t have to do it all yourself, but you do need to know what you can and cannot do and recruit people to pick up where you left off.
If your company grows to include more than you, you have the luxury of setting up a work environment that suits you. Whether that’s an in person setting, work from home or a hybrid approach. Develop the environment that helps you thrive.
Coronavirus has made Zoom and online networking more than acceptable and that works to the advantage of the introvert. You don’t have to beg off of meetings – you can just send a zoom link.
Spread your wings and stretch beyond your comfort zone — you’re a business owner after all! Celebrate that fact in the company of others.
Covid-19 is still wreaking havoc in the economy. Many businesses will never recover, many are losing employees because they are mandating the vaccination. Still, others are losing employees because after having worked from home for so long and now that they’re accustomed to it and have an office set up, employees don’t want to go back. I have pulled together 3 tips for budding entrepreneurs, and I have many more on tap!
This is also leading to a rash of new entrepreneurs. Isolation may have anecdotally led to an explosion of business ideas, but no matter the reason, there are many entrepreneurs and as a business coach, I love seeing that entrepreneurial spirit!
If you’re new to being a business owner and not just pulling in a paycheck, where do you begin? First, stop thinking about your past job performance evaluation as a yardstick by which to measure your skills and talents. Many people thrive much more when they are doing what they love rather than working for a paycheck at a job that drains them.
3 Tips For Budding Entrepreneurs
Don’t ever say no to a learning opportunity. Whether it’s an in person networking event or an online seminar or webinar, there is nothing better than gathering all the knowledge that you can. You never know which nugget of information will give you an a-ha moment and help move your business forward. Also, networking and meeting people is one of the best ways to interact and find potential clients.
Always have a back up plan. If you had the luxury of being able to build a nest egg or a cushion in your savings account before you launch your own business, that is best because it takes away a lot of stress from a new entrepreneur. Have a back up plan until you’re making the money you need to survive. Plan to cut out your extra expenses, look for free entertainment instead of paying for premium channels, cook at home, swap or barter services until you can pay for them.
Keep your eyes open for opportunity. I love the word serendipity. When everything comes together, it is a beautiful event. Whether it’s an introduction to a potential client, or your ability to introduce someone to another potential colleague, successful people know how to recognize a potential opportunity and make the most of it.
Remember, not all ideas will be gold. Be willing to let some go and move on. Don’t keep clinging to a sinking ship just because you’re afraid to admit it didn’t work like you thought it would.