In the past few years, there seems to be a trend in entrepreneurship and home-based businesses, and this warms my heart so much, you guys! While I know, first-hand, that entrepreneurship is extremely hard work, I also know it means that we are all going after our dreams and achieving our goals – all while creating our own schedules and being there when our families need us most.
But even with all the pros there are to owning a home-based business, there is one big elephant-in-the-room con that is tough. So can we all just chat about it now? Can we all chat about how incredibly lonely it can be to work from home? Believe me, I still have to make myself follow some of these tips to get myself out of the work-from-home-slump that occasionally creeps in.
Here are 7 ways I overcome the entrepreneurial slump:
- Build a networking group. Whether it’s an organized group of local entrepreneurs or some of your friends in the industry, build a group of businesswomen and men that you trust, can bounce ideas off of, and refer clients to. This will make your little solo entrepreneurship feel more like a community. And when you feel that lonely slump coming on, you can pick up the phone and schedule a working lunch or coffee date with them!
- Have a dedicated workspace. When I first began working for myself from the comfort of my own home, I thought it was a dream come true. Set up my “office” in the living room with Netflix in the background and yoga pants on?! Sign me up! Oh, man, was I so wrong. It literally only took a week for me to realize that just wasn’t going to work – for both my time management and my sanity. I found myself working all day and then also answering emails here and there at night because I was still in my “office.” Dedicating a workspace in my home made it easier for me to walk away from my work at the end of the day without feeling guilty. It also reinvigorated the idea that my living room was a peaceful, relaxing environment rather than the place where I need to be scratching off my to-do list. Whatever space you designate, make sure it’s an easy spot for you to “walk away from” at the end of each workday.
- Create a routine. Remember those yoga pants I mentioned above? Yeah, that didn’t fly very well either. My mornings never stopped feeling like mornings, giving me the illusion that I still had 8 hours in my workday, even if it was already 4pm! Let’s not go crazy though – there are still days where yoga pants in front of a cozy fireplace are an absolute must. But for the majority of my working days, I am much more productive and satisfied when I wake up early, take a shower, eat breakfast, and then begin my workday. Whatever your routine may be, find one that works for you and increases your productivity! If you’re a night owl, perhaps an evening schedule is more your vibe. Whatever it is, do it and do it regularly!
- Celebrate your wins. From my experience in the corporate world, when we booked a client we’d had our eye on or closed on a big contract, we would celebrate! It’s no different in your own business. When you’ve done something spectacular that you’ve worked extremely hard on, remember to celebrate those wins. Schedule lunch with a friend, take the afternoon off, or head to your favorite coffee shop. These wins are the reason you do what you do, so don’t let them slip past you!
- Create office hours. When I first began working from home, I was so excited to be doing what I loved as a career that I didn’t see any problem with answering emails at 10pm or scheduling phone calls at 8pm because it was more convenient for my clients. Truthfully, this took a toll on me. It wasn’t until I set office hours that I really felt like I had my free time back. Office hours made me more productive and gave me clear guidelines to share with my clients. If I do have a client who absolutely can’t communicate during my office hours for whatever reason, I will make an exception once a month or so and then I will rearrange my schedule accordingly – instead of working 8-5, for example, I will work 10-7. The great thing about office hours is if I know I have a 2pm phone call, I’m going to make absolute certain I take advantage of the morning so it’s productive.
- Don’t skip your lunch break. Ahh, another one of those tips I learned the hard way (are you seeing a pattern here?). I used to think I could just run to the kitchen, make lunch, head back to my laptop and life would be all rainbows and unicorns. Umm…no. Not at all. By 3pm I’d be exhausted, irritable, and basically wanting an IV dripping coffee into my veins. Why did I ever think I could work 8-12 hours a day without a single break in my day, and that it would be a long-term solution!? These days, my lunch break reinvigorates me. It’s a wonderful way to break up the day (who knew??) and give my eyes and my brain a break. Some days I’ll schedule lunch out with a friend or my husband, but the majority of the time I’ll eat lunch at home without access to internet, my email, or anything work-related. Bonus points if you actually eat at the kitchen table!
- Learn to say no. This applies to anything you feel you need to say “no” to. No is not a four-letter word. If you don’t feel you’re the right fit for a particular client, it’s okay to politely say no and perhaps refer them to someone else who would be a better match for them. If you don’t have time to meet a friend for lunch one day, it’s okay to say no and reschedule. Learning to say no will be so empowering for you and will ensure your achieving your business goals and dreams on your terms and within your schedule!
Being your own boss and working from the comfort of your own home is a completely rewarding experience but, like anything, it also has it’s (occasional) downfalls. If you feel that entrepreneurial slump coming on, take action to ensure you don’t get stuck in a rut. The best thing you can do is surround yourself with like-minded individuals – even if it’s just through a phone call or FaceTime – and get a good dose of encouragement from someone you trust!