Work-Life Balance Tips For Solopreneurs
Unlike an entrepreneur, a solopreneur is a rather modern concept that first entered wider use back in the 1990s. Essentially, both terms describe a person who runs a company on his or her own and in many cases, the two terms are interchangeable. However, a solopreneur will never become an employer as he minds his own business, pun intended. On the other hand, an entrepreneur can start hiring employees after a while and grow his business.
Due to the similar nature of their work, entrepreneurs and solopreneurs face a similar set of challenges when it comes to balancing their private lives and workloads. Perhaps the latters are in a slightly more difficult position because they cannot rely on other people’s help. They do everything on their own and after a while, all this work and the stress and pressure that accompany it, start to take their toll. That is why balance is the keyword in the life of any solopreneur if they wish to become successful businessmen and remain mentally stable individuals with strong family and friendship ties.
Preventing interruption in the home office
If your work involves a lot of timer in the field, then you probably won’t have many interruptions and will be free to travel and hold meetings. However, we live in an online business era, so a huge number of solopreneurs work from the comfort of their own home. This might seem convenient at first glance as there is no commuting, so zero time and money are wasted on getting to and from work. On the other side, this means that you cannot benefit from an office setting that best facilitates a work atmosphere. Just remember that poor analyst whose children interrupted his BBC news interview, with even the entering the room and goofing around. The social media found this hilarious but we do not see him laughing in the video.
The importance of a proper solopreneurial home office cannot be underscored enough! You need to have a section of the apartment or even better, an entire room to yourself. This way you can work for hours on end without being interrupted. While your parents or spouse will understand the importance of letting you be, your kids will be harder to explain to. They will keep barging in for the most trivial of reasons like not being able to find their favourite toy. You need to come to terms with the fact that they will have to be explained over and over that daddy/mummy should not be interrupted once that door close and the “do not disturb” sign is posted.
Value your time and solicit help
As every diligent businessperson, you are probably thinking that 24 hours a day, 8 of which you spend sleeping, is probably not enough to get everything done. That is why house chores like cleaning, ironing or mopping take away too much precious time that you simply do not have during the deadline period. That is why you should solicit the help from your family to assist you with all the trivial matters that owning a household implies. Of course, this does not mean that your family time will suffer, as you will always have to take your kids to the park or take out your significant other to a candlelight dinner. Your loved ones need to understand that the nature of your business implies that time is your greatest resource and that is why you are forced to economize it.
An interrupted workflow? No biggie!
We already spoke about the importance of creating a home office that will impede any interruption. However, this is nearly impossible to be done completely, so you have to get used to being interrupted. Going berserk every time a customer walks in, you receive a notification that requires your immediate attention, or there is a large noise that sets you off, will not get you anywhere. That is why you have to adopt a positive attitude towards these interruptions and cease perceiving them as such. On the contrary, regard them as timely pauses that are more than welcome and which do not disrupt your workflow. This way, you won’t snap at people scolding them from barging inside but you will have time to listen to them calmly and engage in a polite conversation. This kind of exchange of words will be exactly what your tired brain will need after hours of exhausting work.
Preventing work injury
Like we stated earlier, the approach to solopreneurship depends heavily upon the fact do you do field work or do you work in a home office. The risk of a paper cut cannot be compared to falling from a great height if you’re a construction industry contractor. If the latter is the case, then you need to find a decent work injury lawyer that will represent you in case your health or life gets endangered in the workplace. Regardless of the fact that you are a solopreneur, you are still entitled to the same worker’s compensation as any other worker employed by a company.
You might not be able to sue the company you are employed in for obvious reasons (that it doesn’t exist) but this doesn’t mean that nobody is to blame. For instance, if you are filming a wedding ceremony in a church and a floor tile gives way and you fall down, then you can sue the ecclesiastical organization for negligence. It is their duty to make sure the wedding venue is 100% safe for all participants, including you as the cameraman. Many solopreneurs blame themselves to work-related injuries and fail to file a lawsuit.
Needless to say, the fact that you can hold a person or a company legally accountable for your injuries does not absolve you from the necessity to take care after yourself. If you were employed by a company they would a replacement for you in a matter of minutes if you got seriously injured. As a solopreneur, you have no one to fill in your shoes, so you need to take extra care of your well-being. Takes things slowly, watch your every step, and adopt a healthy diet because you want to be making money as a solopreneur for many years to come.
Taking a break
Frequent pauses are more than welcome during a typical workday, but it is the bigger picture than you need to have in mind. Because self-employed people essentially do not have any days off nor weekends free, they are constantly in danger of experiencing the burnout syndrome. This can be devastating for their career and personal lives, both the home finances and interpersonal relations suffer. This is where a balanced personal life plays a major role, as a seaside holiday with the loved ones can restore a solopreneur’s energy and charge his or her batteries, all the while strengthening inner family bonds.
Learning to say “no”
When we speak of creating a balance, we are actually referring to avoiding the extremes. This implies that you shouldn’t take breaks that last for hours nor that you should work all night and then get up early to do some more work. However, in terms of interpersonal relations, you also need to establish a balance. You are required to learn a new word for your solopreneurial vocabulary and that is “no.” It might seem rude to negatively retort to a person’s face but on certain occasions, this is necessary to get the message across and it is by far the best solution for your mental health. For instance, if your spouse is constantly reproaching you that you should end your workday at 6 PM rather than 8 PM, be resolute and say: “No, I will work for as long as I prefer.” Furthermore, you need to stand up for a quality family time by blatantly refusing a lucrative request to work the weekend you had a family outing to an amusement park planned.
Planning is essential
Since time is of crucial importance, planning your day is necessary if you wish to be successful in all spheres of life. You need to be realistic in your expectations and do not panic too much if your initial plans do not come through. You might not land that dream job at first or it might rain that one day you had a field trip with your friends planned. By carefully planning, you will always have a backup option for such instance and no time will be wasted.
Both planning your daily itinerary and being ready to alter it in a moment’s notice are valuable managerial skills. As a solopreneur, they will extend into the personal life as well, as you’ll need to be a good manager and husband/wife simultaneously. You will soon realize how this alertness and readiness will help you in your work.
Admittedly, achieving a viable work-life balance is not easy for a normal worker, let alone a solopreneur. You will feel as if the entire world is resting on your back and it will be hard not to give way under such pressure. However, by using your career and your personal life as two crutches that support each other, you will soon start reaping benefits from the solopreneurial style of life.
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