Many people dream of working for themselves, being their own boss, and having the freedom to only take on clients and projects they love.
What they don’t realize, though, is that there is a huge difference between building a business and being self-employed.
Business owners scale their income.
Self-employed people trade dollars for hours.
Business owners leverage the skills and talents of others.
Self-employed people rely only on their own skills.
Every business owner started out self-employed.
Just don’t stay there.
These tips will help you build a sustainable business instead of just another job.
Don’t Try to Do It All Yourself
Building a sustainable business requires that you leverage the talents and time of others.
While it might seem cost-effective to simply do everything yourself - especially in the start-up phase when you likely have more time than money - it’s a path to burnout and stress.
Instead, separate your tasks into those that you love and are especially suited for (such as marketing) and those you dislike and aren’t good at.
Then make a solid plan to get those that you aren’t good at off your list of things to do.
If you feel like you can’t afford to outsource it all right now, start with what you tend to procrastinate the most on, even if it’s just a few hours each month.
Don’t Allow Yourself to Work All the Time
The trouble with working at home is that you live at work.
And that means that there’s no clear line in the sand between your work day and your home life.
Since there’s always work to do, it’s easy to find yourself working every available moment—often to the detriment of your family relationships.
You can help avoid this by:
- Setting and maintaining clear work hours
- Having an office with a door you can close when you’ve finished for the day
- Scheduling time for family and other activities
- Taking time for yourself
Vacations and Downtime Are Important
As you know, I travel a lot, always in business class in the air, first class on trains.
This gives me access to lounges, chauffeur services, more space to work/relax/read, less chance of interruptions - oh, and better quality food.
Many years ago, after a long flight to New York in economy, I had to join a long queue for a yellow cab, then got crammed into a plastic seat with a thick perspex wall between me and the driver.
I later noticed that NYPD prisoners have more room in Police cars.
Never again …
My record for Uber is 8 cars in one day (!) and if the airline doesn’t offer home to airport and back chauffeurs, I use Blacklane
, who meet me at the airport arrivals or on the platform for trains.
I rarely drink alcohol, but I tried a nice glass of Bulgarian red wine on my flight yesterday - not bad!
Such travel seems expensive if you only look at the cost - but you also need to look at the benefits, as with most things, cost is only one factor to consider!
So, don’t ever create a business that requires you to be “in the office” every day.
At the start, you may need to be available more, but you should definitely be planning for the day when you can be “off the grid” for extended periods of time.
- Have trusted contractors who can handle things when you’re not available
- Leverage automation tools such as autoresponders and webinar systems
- Create repeatable systems so you’re not always re-inventing the wheel
While you might not be able to hit the road with no internet access for days at a time, at the very least you should be able to reduce your workload to a daily check-in.
With some forethought and planning, you can create a team - and the systems they need - to successfully run your business without becoming overwhelmed and overworked.
As ever, hope this helps you!