When you are self-employed taking care of your business health is pivotal to your business. I say taking care of YOU is critical.
It has been said by others that one of the hardest things you can do is run your own business. Well, from my experience it is also one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever done. Prior to coming on board with BSW Connect (Business South West) I ran my own micro business for over 10 years. Yes, I can agree it can be hard, but only sometimes.
Chosing to be self employed
Being self-employed was my choice, as it probably is yours, and for me making the decision to go alone was one of the best thing I ever did. The burning ambition to be my own boss simply would not go away, even though this was a high-risk move to make.
During the 10 years I suffered the ups and downs of working as a consultant. The inability to talk to someone about an issue, having someone to check an email before it goes out (when I’m feeling frustrated), and of course the famine and feast cycle that comes with bringing in work. The shocks and disappointments, the feelings of scarcity and the constant learnings are our new norm. I took on contract staff, which worked out well, and this supported any need for connecting with others I might have had.
One of the things I learned was there was a need for continuous improvement. Making consistent improvements to enhance the business was critical toward its success and sustainability. So knowing this, I thought it was also common to understand that you needed to also look after yourself – as in YOU are the business.
Yet so many times when speaking to other business owners I would find they forgot that this important fact. That YOU need to look after yourself. Success basically is dependent on the strength of a person’s state of mind and your ability turn up for work, come what may. Anyone who is self-employed has to work incredibly hard, constantly learn and adapt and manage challenges on their own.
Over the years I have employed the use of valuable tools that have allowed me to develop a mindset that enables me to look at issues in different ways. Some include being mindful of what is happening in a point in time and working out what you can do right now to support yourself. So basically paying attention to when you are feeling low is critical to the long-term health of not only you but your business as well.
Mental health matters
Earlier this year I spoke at a safety conference, and aligning with World Mental health day they focused on mental health issues in the workforce. My presentation was about being mindful and expecting yourself and your team to stop and consider before instantly responding. I was pleased that my message was in synergy with the other speakers, we all shared a similar flow, yet from different angles. The reality is we, as business owners, are the business, and we matter.
Here are my tips on keeping you and your business thriving:
- Pay attention to what is happening for you. If you feel stressed or overwhelm then take time away from your desk.
- The act of walking allows you to work through issues easier.
- Keep abreast of what is happening around you; including events
- Stay current on trends and issues happening in your industry and local community.
- Have a daily mediation – even if it is stopping to smell the flowers for a couple of minutes.
- Believe in yourself and your ability
- Try to connect with real people in a face to face environment, as well as online.
- Build on your self-esteem so that when you are confronted by unexpected challenges they don’t seem so enormous
- Limit time on social media, so you can get the work done, and also so you stop comparing yourself to others.
- Take a break. Don’t underestimate the potential value of spending some time away from your work.
- Keep going forward, you will start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Taking care of your own health is pivotal to your business.
Over the years I know the levels of my success have been achieved through understanding myself and what has triggered me, and more importantly, how I can support myself. This awareness of situations that can impact my resilience, knowing how to protect myself from certain experiences and how to manage the aspects of myself that could damage negotiations have helped a great deal. The road however is never at an end, and the journey continues daily.
Paying attention to our own wellbeing and mental health is an asset to a business that is more important than any other. Celebrate your wins, and understand your losses. Everyone is human. Micro business owners are just the same as everyone else. We have the same needs and desires. Business is tough, but also incredibly rewarding.