It’s been a challenging year, and talking about being happy with your work may seem a little selfish at this point. But it’s not. And, in this article, I’ll explain to you why.
Most self-employed and business owners rarely use happiness and business in the same sentence. As Brad Feld, VC at Foundry Group, said in an interview, “Entrepreneurs have struggled with anxiety and despair silently.” The bigger the business and the responsibility on your shoulders, the higher the odds of losing direction if you can no longer give meaning to what you do.
If you often can’t find the motivation to start your workday or, worse, you tell yourself, “I shouldn’t have started this business in the first place!” maybe there’s something more to consider when thinking about your future. Your income shouldn’t be the only thing to keep you moving forward with your business.
Are You Doing What You Love?
Entrepreneurs wear many hats, and not all of them are equally comfortable. Even if you start an activity that you love, running a business can quickly become not what you’ve planned for. It only takes a while to find yourself always in reunions, surrounded by paperwork and with your inbox full of emails from people looking to sell you something.
You’ll run out of energy pretty quickly if you don’t save time for the activities you love and are very good at. When nothing in your workday brings you happiness for several days in a row, you need to re-evaluate your working habits.
By following this road, the more your business will grow, the more time it will fill in your life. If you don’t love it right now, things aren’t likely to change in the future. Not if you sit and wait for a better moment to reorganize your business, at least.
What can you do if the answer is NO?
Lev Tolstoy said, “The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.” Let’s find out what it means for an entrepreneur.
First thing first: no business is 100 percent work that you love. On the other hand, any company that you once loved can become a burden when you forget why you started the journey in the first place.
Find a balance between what you love to do and what needs to be done to keep the wheels running. It won’t come easy, so don’t expect things to change overnight. Outsource activities that keep you behind the desk all day or up all night. If you hate doing tax work, for example, hire an advisor.
It may seem like you don’t have the money for outsourcing, but that’s just an excuse. With all the extra time and energy you save by getting rid of monotonous tasks, you can generate more income. You can take a new client, close more sales, or improve retention by delivering better services now that you’re no longer stressed by activities you hate.
Do You Have Time for Personal Development?
Business owners need growth opportunities to be successful. When you run a company or are self-employed, the downside is that no one will create them for you. If you continuously sacrifice personal development to keep your company alive, soon, you’ll remain without resources.
In business, the road to bankruptcy starts where you stop learning.
Sure, it’s hard to educate yourself when you’re swamped with work. Most probably, you’ve paid for courses that you never joined and bought books that lay unopened on your nightstand.
The secret, in this case, is to find the problems behind the problem. Stop hiding under the excuse that you don’t have time for education. Instead, close some doors that keep you focused on things that don’t matter. Break down your day and see what activities you can quit and make room for learning.
Plus, you want to motivate yourself to be there for the training session or read that book. Set clear learning goals: make personal development part of your business routine, and encourage your employees to do the same.
Do You Spend Enough Time with Your Family?
The myth of the entrepreneur who never stops puts too much pressure on anyone with a dream. It’s become common knowledge that being always busy is part of the job: many entrepreneurs work 80 or 95 hours per week, while some state that they’re always on when it comes to business.
You know it, I know it: it’s a trap. You can’t have a fulfilled life when your business is the only thing that occupies your agenda.
So, how do you make a business thrive and find time for your personal life when a day has only 24 hours? You work smarter: put in less effort and get excellent results. To make the magic happen, you need clarity. You must know what you want, identify the right direction to reach your objectives, and plan accordingly.
The trick here is to disconnect from your business when you leave the office. Permit yourself time for personal activities. It’s hard at first, especially if you’ve been running all day, every day for years, but the sooner you put yourself first, the faster results will come.
Get rid of the “That’s how I always did things” mindset. If you continue to chase the same things, you’ll get the same results. Nothing will change until you come up with a new strategy.
Enough talking! Let’s see what you can do right away to start this new journey towards becoming a happy business owner.
1. Write down three things you (used to) love about your current activity. How much time do you dedicate to each of them? Make it a mission to block at least 30 minutes a day for one of these activities – ideally before your lunch break.
2. Write down two things you don’t like about your business. Can you delegate any? How much would it cost to outsource one of them to a virtual assistant? You only need 20 minutes to search for people online who would love to do what you hate. Sure, contacting them and hiring the right person can take more, but you only do it once. And, with a little luck, you’ll discover outsourcing costs way less than what you had in mind.
3. Start tracking your daily activities to see where you waste time and why. I’m not saying that you need to change everything overnight. The purpose of this exercise is to become aware of how you spend your time. Later on, you’ll have time to decide if you want to keep the habits or change them to make room for finally reading that book you’ve been holding on your desk. Right now, just write down what you do in a day, right after each activity.
Having clarity in business and happiness are things to be learned, just like you learned to communicate with clients, manage social media, or write business emails. The more you educate yourself on a topic, the easier it becomes to get good at it.
And, when you have clarity over what you want to achieve in business and in your personal life (these two are super-connected!), you’ll find happiness.
This article was written by Teodora Ema Pirciu.
Teodora Ema Pirciu
Teodora is a content marketer and business clarity coach, and she’s passionate about writing helpful content and asking uncomfortable questions. She’s on a mission to empower people by helping them reset their inner GPS and set the correct route to success. You can follow her on Facebook or, better yet, join her Facebook group, Business Ideas Made Clear.