Find Your Business Balance As An Entrepreneur
I remember when I was first inspired to be an entrepreneur. You might be able to relate.
I had just chosen my Evergreen Niche. I couldn’t turn my brain off. I had so many ideas. It was hard to narrow them all down. It was hard to decide where to start. I was still working full time, so any spare minute went to working on this new side hustle.
I had heard over and over that I shouldn’t really expect to make any money in the first year of business. Well, if that was the case, I knew I had better not ‘quit my day job’ but wisely build a solid foundation during the first year while still working until my business was turning a profit.
But as I started literally hustling, I was waking up at 5 am and going to bed at midnight. My husband was fixing himself boxed mac and cheese dinners while I was surviving on coffee and showering on an ‘as necessary’ basis.
TMI? Well, I think you get the picture that I was out of balance because I was so driven. I had Dave Ramsey Gazelle Intensity for creating an income stream to achieve my financial goals.
In June 2015, I wrote my first e-book in a week. I wrote my first e-course over the following 4 weeks while a few wonderful family members proof read the e-book. Two months after making the decision that I was actually going to try my hand at this, I was traveling and working internationally full time while writing my second e-course and getting overwhelmed.
There were people my age who were pulling in $40,000 per month, yes, per month, and I was trying oh-so-very-hard not compare my side-hustle beginning to their inspirational full-time financial success.
Starting out, there was so much to think about and consider: Business entity formation, accounting, creating an awesome brand and website, backend systems, the course content, social media, online community communication, and the list went on.
As a solopreneur, I felt it was even time consuming comparing options that I could outsource some of this stuff to.
Fortunately, I had an amazing, supportive husband to help me keep a healthy perspective on things. I was the only one putting pressure on myself. It took me a moment to realize how easy it was for me to become driven and caught up in the details as well as comparison and competition.
I had also started spinning my wheels. I would start one aspect of the business like blogging and then get distracted by it’s relation to another, email marketing, only to come back to the first and try to figure out which to prioritize first.
It was necessary for me to stop and remind myself to lean back. Like physically, lean back. Away from the computer.
I took a deep breath. I looked at the big picture of my business. I remembered my “Why”.
My forward-leaning posture was reflective of a ‘scarcity mentality’, the mentality that there were a limited number of people that could benefit from my products and knowledge and that I had to get out there NOW. I was afraid that if I didn’t hurry and get out there that someone would do my idea before I could and then all my effort would be in vain.
I leaned back and closed my eyes to remember the truth about my situation. Yes, there is competition out there, but there is room for my voice and my perspective. There is also room for your voice and your perspective too. I went into this wanting to choose community over competition.
I was only 2 months into creating blog posts, downloadables and products like a madwoman and I had already forgotten my main mantra that there are so many people out there in the world that need a mentor but don’t have one. I had become focused on all the little tasks and lost sight of the big picture.
Once I remembered my ‘why’ for becoming an entrepreneur and realized that there were millions of people that still needed a mentor, whether they bought my products or not, I was able to truly lean back. Not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. Leaning back physically though helped start the emotional and mental process though.
Leaning back allowed me to pause on what I was working on for the business and create a personal organization system for myself.
This is what I started with. I was bootstrappin’ hard.
Context: I lived in third world Central America so it wasn’t like I could just run out to Barnes and Noble and buy a planner. I had to create one out of a good old-fashioned spiral notebook and sticky notes in order to handle all my thoughts and to-dos.
Online calendars and smartphone calendars are great but I really make progress when I can spread everything out and write things down with pen and paper.
The takeaway is this: when you are starting out, you don’t need the latest and greatest and it doesn't have to be fancy. You just have to get going. Find a balance system that works for you and get out there are start paddling.
Because really, all of us have priorities that are going to jostle for your attention and you need a way to keep them balanced and in check. The consequences of losing your perspective could have greater effects than my husband having to live on boxed mac and cheese for a couple nights a week, during that earliest phase. Don’t sacrifice family and grades for the almighty dollar.
Who you are in the start-up phase and your values now will transfer to your audience and be ampliflied by the limelight. Start posturing yourself how you want to be perceived now because your posture now will affect how people perceive you later.
That’s why it’s so important to post your “Why” somewhere that you can see it. Handwrite it or print it. Maybe it’s a picture of someone that you are becoming an entrepreneur for. Perhaps it’s a dream trip to Patagonia, like Alex from A Passive Perspective. Whatever your “why”, keep it in your sights.
YOUR "WHY" AFFECTS YOUR POSTURE.
YOUR POSTURE KEEPS YOU PRIORITIES IN ORDER.
In order to keep your priorities in order get a calendar that actually works for you.
When I was starting out, I liked having three printed calendars of the same month. One for business goals in MAY, a blog editorial schedule calendar in May, and a product launch calendar for May helping achieve me product goals for a launch in November. Some of you may be able to keep track on iCal or Google Calendars but when I was trying to get a handle on the big picture, I needed three separate calendars because there was SO MUCH to process and consider. It helped to have separate to-do lists for each one and be able to see what needed to be done first.
But you don’t have to figure all of that out.
In BASECAMP, I organized everything I did in the most intuitive order with 20/20 hindsight and walk you through it all, but you still have to manage your own balance and choose YOUR OWN PACE.
Again, you might be starting a business while still in school and need to work around your class schedule. You might be working around nap times. You might be working full time.
But you can start today with what you have, at your own pace, and in your spare time.
Just be sure to write out your “why” for wanting to become an entrepreneur, what you want your posture to be and your priorities outside of your business then post them were you can see them frequently. Here are mine as an example to help get you started.
Ability to work from home
House in cash
Mentorship Pandemic Solution
Community over competition.