Self-care for Creative Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners.
In the world of creative entrepreneurs and small business owners, the most trending topics currently is that of “self care” and “work-life balance”. One of the main complaints of my clients is that of exhaustion and burnout due to the demands of our creative endeavors as business owners and often, “solopreneurs”.
What good is meeting our goals if we are dry and tired and empty when we get there? Entrepreneurs have a unique lifestyle, a unique set of stressors and often struggle with self-doubt related to their overall business productivity. Learning self-care techniques can be the difference between burning out and creating sustainable growth for the long-term.
Here are my 5 unexpected self-care habits for entrepreneurs:
1. When you’re in the middle of a swamped season of your work, slow down.
Yep. You heard me correctly. Are you in the middle of a launch? Do you have a deadline tomorrow? Are you at the final lap of your re-brand? Slow down.
Take more breaks, drink more water, cook nourishing meals, take real lunch breaks. Slow down. I know it seems counter-intuitive. People usually start to neglect their basic needs during these times. They stop sleeping, they eat food that doesn’t support their well-being and they try to work hours on end.
What usually happens during this time is that you spend a lot of time at your computer and very little time getting actual inspired work done. Nothing creates lack- luster work like trying to force it all to go through. Take better care of yourself during those intense times and watch as you start to bring your business into alignment and your productivity and inspiration levels peak!
2. Charge enough for your business services.
It may not sound like self-care, but, the quickest way to overwhelming stress is being overworked and under paid. Charge enough for your services and raise your rates over time! You wouldn’t stay at a corporate job that didn’t pay your bills and never gave you a raise, treat yourself as well or better than they would!
3. Develop your schedule with intention and caution.
Expecting ourselves to work at peak performance from 9am-5pm straight isn’t really fair. Holding that expectation will only guarantee that your butt is in a seat, it won’t support you being effective or inspired which are the keys to creating work that will support you in the long-term. Instead, listen to your natural rhythm, when are you the most creative, the most productive and the most social? Create a schedule that supports the kind of work you should do during certain hours!
4. Over-communicate & under promise to your clients.
One of the greatest stressors in a freelancers life is having someone waiting around for you to finish your work. Usually that person has no idea what it takes to do the work you do and they aren’t sure what is a normal turn around time for you. The greatest gift you can give yourself is a well-educated client. Teach them what it takes to do the work, inform them of the turn around times, tell them why you choose to do things the way you do them and more. Give them so much information that it feels like you’re going full on TMI with your process. Seriously. Informed customers trust you, they spend more money with you, they leave you alone!
But, do one more thing above over communicating, also, under promise. If you think something will take you 2 weeks to complete, tell them it will be one month. That way when it takes you two weeks and 1 day because some unexpected situation arose, you have a 2 week grace window. You’re not in emergency mode and your client is still thrilled that you got it to them earlier than expected!
5. Understand that time is finite and that one can only accomplish so much in a day.
Because I specialize in working with clients who have already built a functional business but want to move into new territory, I discuss this one the most with my clients. When you add work to your already crammed schedule, something’s going to have to go and it really shouldn’t be your personal life. We all have a finite amount of time in a day, a week, the year. You can’t keep adding things on and expecting yourself to give 100% without letting something go. Whether that’s outsourcing some work, letting a part of your business go, getting more automated, etc. Whatever it is, you have got to treat yourself like a living breathing human being and not a work robot.
If all else fails, just go stand outside, put your bare feet in the grass and remember that you are so much more than your job title, your success, even your name. Rest into your being for a minute and trust that it’s all going to work out just fine.