Solopreneur vs. work-life balance – can we be successful at both?
Any fellow solopreneurs out there? How do you handle this holiday season? Do you carve out time to vacation just as our paid-time-off employee friends do? Or do you spend the week of Christmas and now New Year’s fretting over the work piling up, the emails awaiting a response and self-imposed deadlines looming ever closer?
Don’t know about you, but I struggle with balancing my solopreneur work and life while allowing myself some time off from my day-to-day schedule. You see, I truly enjoy what I do! I love sharing my technology, website design and WordPress expertise with those who can benefit most from it. Creating a fully functioning, beautifully designed website and then sharing it through social media channels is a challenge I wholeheartedly jump into and relish the work of.
However, I spent this past Christmas week with my family in gorgeous Durango, Co., and while I thoroughly enjoyed our conversations, fantastic food and strolling Main Street…the business voice in the back of my mind continued to nag at me. “Carve out a few hours to work on your Website Design by Anna Doo project,” it said. “If you don’t get some work done it will take longer next week,” it added in a sing-song tone.
True to that nagging, when I finally returned to the world of the Internet this morning I had hundreds of emails, a few looming issues and projects, and of course working on my online course. I really wanted to read each of those emails as they are full of ideas for Internet Marketing, Social Media Marketing tips and best practices, as well as trends for website design and entrepreneurship articles. But alas, there are only so many hours in the day. So I turned to some respected resources for balancing work and life as a solopreneur for inspiration.
An article on Inc.com reminded me to create and adhere to the goals I’ve set for myself and my business. In addition it also said to play by my rules which I translate to being capable of carving out the time I need with my family and friends, away from a computer screen for short bouts, while still being able to complete the tasks I’ve set for my business. This means not feeling like I must adhere to the regular 9-5 work schedule that my colleagues in the cube farms must tackle daily. Rather, it means doing the work I must to maintain positive relationships with my current clients, setting realistic and attainable deadlines and goals for my business projects…and yes, forcing myself to be perfectly fine with not being on a computer every day of every single week.
One more article that caught my attention toward the beginning of 2013 has resonated with me throughout the year. It’s written by Carol Tice on Forbes.com. Ms. Tice wrote about three resolutions for solopreneurs. Now, I’m not a resolution-setting kind of person. I prefer to set long-term and short-term goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle all the time not just in January. However, her big three include Efficiency, Pricing and Collaboration. I’ve certainly outsourced some menial tasks this past year and that has freed up some of my time to focus on other aspects of my business. In addition, I raised my prices thus allowing me to work for fewer clients at a time while earning the same. This also spurred my need to create the online course teaching the masses how to design, create and manage their own website. This will allow me to free up even more of my time while reaching exponentially more customers at once than I can with my past one-on-one business model. Finally collaboration. While I’m a very introverted individual (hence my pleasure for working from home alone) I do appreciate other’s talents and skills. I’ve seized the opportunity to begin collaborating with a number of web designers, WordPress professionals and an array of up and coming professionals to share my skills as well as refer potential clients to.
But how does all this help the work-life balance of a solopreneur? I suppose I’d have to say that unless one implements each element – it doesn’t. However, allowing others to do some tasks, collaborating when beneficial to the project and the client, and setting ones fees at an proper level certainly help to control the chaos while allowing for some breathing room to be unplugged for short stints without the Internet world crashing.
One more tip I’ve found to be incredibly helpful for productivity’s sake is to turn off all social media channels when not updating them and check emails twice a day only. This helps me complete all the tasks I have laid out for myself each day giving me even more flexibility to meet those scheduled times away from the computer.
What do you do to maintain a work-life balance? Do you allow yourself time off? If so, how do manage your clients while you are unplugged? Leave a comment below. I look forward to learning from you.