You finally did it. You took the leap, quit your day job, and started your own business. Congratulations! Now you get to spend your days lounging around at home in your pajamas, sipping drinks with tiny umbrellas, and propping your feet up on the desk while the money rolls in… right? RIGHT?!
Although some folks are overnight successes, those stories are rare. For the rest of us being an entrepreneur isn’t always as glamorous as it sounds. Of course, running your own business is tough work – but it doesn’t have to leave you feeling overwhelmed. There are many ways to reduce the stress so you can get back to enjoying the freedoms of working for yourself.
For starters, you can use the 80/20 Rule to work smarter, not harder. Many business owners make the common mistake of spending their time focused on tasks that aren’t making them any money. Instead, measure your progress and analyze where your efforts are best spent. Living by this rule can help you become more successful in your business, while freeing up more of your time for tasks that you truly enjoy.
As an entrepreneur, best-selling writer Tim Ferriss discovered that common interruptions can keep us from getting work done, which reduces productivity and increases stress. To remedy this, he coined the phrase “interrupting interruption.” In other words, notice how your work is being interrupted each day, and come up with a plan for how you can keep from getting off track. For example, rather than listening to voicemails and responding to emails individually, do them in batches. This allows you to finish your work uninterrupted, while still following up on other urgent tasks in a reasonable timeframe.
If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, irritated, or feeling other negative emotions throughout the workday, a simple change of perspective might help. Sometimes we feel anxious or overwhelmed as a result of not feeling in control of a situation. It can be helpful to take a pause and remember why we became an entrepreneur in the first place. You probably were seeking some sort of freedom, whether it was the freedom to set your own hours, the freedom to live wherever you want, financial freedom, or something else. Pause and find gratitude for all the ways that your business is already bringing you those things. When you run your own business you always have a choice. You are always in control. Most importantly, there is always a reason to be grateful.
Finally, remember to prioritize work-life balance. This can be an awkward transition at first, especially if you come from a busy corporate environment. Author Jenny Blake, a former Google employee who now runs a successful business as a career coach, recommends asking yourself what work-life balance means to you. Get super clear on your values, and then come up with specific, actionable steps you can take each day to start bringing more of that goodness into your life.
So yes, you can definitely build your dream life while working for yourself. It’s possible to become location-independent and travel the world, working from anywhere. If you’re more of a homebody, you could prioritize spending more time with your family and loved ones. And yes, you can even lounge around at home in your Sponge Bob Square Pants pants. When you put in the work and follow the advice listed above, there are limitless possibilities for how you can grow your business into your very own dream job.