You know you’re a solopreneur when you’re the one doing it all. You’re the CEO and the CEO’s assistant, the tech person and the bookkeeper and the accountant, you’re the design team, the production team and the marketing department, you’re the office clean-up staff, and oh, because you’re working from home, surely you have time to do the grocery shopping, the laundry and the general house duties, not to mention taking the kids everywhere they need to go if you’re at that age. Oh Hell YES!!
1. First and foremost: get really (really REALLY) clear that as a solopreneur you are in business. You may be working from your home but you are working; therefore, grocery shopping, the laundry, general house duties and the kids are not part of your job description. Handle those things however you would handle them were your office not in your home.
2. When you are feeling overwhelmed and ready to go back to the daily grind because you “just can’t take being a solopreneur anymore,” take a breath. Get your notebook and set the timer for 15 minutes. Write “Why I want to be in business for myself” for 7 minutes (don’t lift your pen or gaze into space. Just write everything that comes to mind, even if it seems to go off topic – keep writing). Then for the next 7 minutes, list all the things you have accomplished in the past year or since you went into business for yourself – if you’re having a hard time, start with: I got notepads and pens to write with; I have a phone of some sort; I’ve gotten out of bed and worked on this X mornings – and take it from there. Read it over for the last minute.
3. Light a candle or move to that big overstuffed executive suite chair that you love. Close your eyes and honor the creative, courageous, amazing person you are. Give her a pat on the back or a big hug (physically - go ahead, no one is watching except you). Know that you can do anything you set your mind on, including being a solopreneur.
4. Make a project list. Stick with the big view, not the tasks that go with the projects.
5. Recognize that you do not have to do every one of these projects at the same time (no, you don’t. At this very moment it may feel that way, but no, you don’t.) Even if you weren’t a solopreneur and worked for someone other than yourself, you still wouldn’t have to do them all at the same time. Think about these projects and put them in some kind of logical order, starting with what needs to be done before something else can be done.
6. Choose 3 projects to start and/or complete this week. Only 3. No more than 3. Three. Yes you can pick just 3. T-h-r-e-e. (And please don’t make each of them something like: learn WordPress, set up my entire website and have 5 blogs in place by next Monday).
7. Break your projects into tasks, and put the tasks on your calendar. This will help you see what you can reasonably expect to accomplish in a balanced work day. As your expectations enter the real world, overwhelm will exit.
8. Every time you feel overwhelmed, look at your calendar and see what it is you are going to accomplish this week. Set your timer and for the next 1/2 hour just work on one of your tasks. After the half hour you are allowed to worry again (but only for 5 minutes while you take a rest break because then you’re going to set the timer for another 1/2 hour). Repeat this as often as necessary until quitting time (you do have a quitting time, right? So quit at that time! Get on with the rest of your life!).
9. Hire help for the last 3 things on your old todo list that have been the last 3 things for the last 6 months. You aren’t going to do them. If they need to be done, hire someone. If they need to be done, you can’t afford not to hire someone, if only temporarily and for one time. You’re still a solopreneur, but now you’re a solopreneur who hires consultants. Believe me, once you decide to hire someone, it will completely shift the way you see yourself – so much so that you will be working from an entirely different level. That level would be the one where your business really starts taking off. If you’re close to a community college post on their jobs bulletin board – you may be very surprised at the talent you find to help you with your business while they gain experience and a great reference!
10. Invest in yourself. You are the most important part of your business. You are more important than the art supplies, or office supplies, or latest software or computer upgrade. Take a class or four, make sure your clothes make you look and feel like the Goddess you are. Hire a coach to help you see where you are limiting yourself and encourage you to expand you imaginings of exactly what is possible. Here’s a mini course in thinking outside the box:
Brainstorm some things that you don’t usually do because (fill in the blank):
- I don’t spend money on advertising because PR is better
- I never go into any debt at all because who knows what tomorrow will bring
- I only spend money on my art supplies because (well, who needs an excuse for art supplies?)
Pick one of the above and journal about how your life would look if you did that something you don’t usually do. Be creative with how it would look. Give yourself a budget and go “spend” it and think about how it might shift your outlook. A great way to “spend” your budget is to create a collage of the things that you are “spending” it on and put them where you’ll see them and begin to think about letting them become something you *do*,
11. Make sure you have a regular schedule for renewal (I’m not saying a week’s vacation, although that would be good; I’m saying a day or 1/2 day or even one hour and 6 seconds that is just for you – at least go get a facial or massage).
12. Find a supportive community - other solopreneurs who like you are ready to awaken their awesome and step into their Hell YES!! Or several communities: some on-line, some in-person; some really close-knit, some that are just for one aspect of support that you need (coffee once every two weeks or so allowing you to have a focused reason for getting our of the office and relaxing).
Yes you can!