It’s ten thirty at night and I sat at this desk prior to 8a. My four children were rushed out the door for school around 8am. That was fourteen and a half hours ago. I’ve been pounded away at this keyboard, frantically attempting to rebuild a website within 24hrs that had just been finalized on a crashed server the month before. Site builds wipe me out. I don’t sleep. I don’t eat. I’m completely OCD and I can’t relax until I at least have a functioning wire frame. It gives me anxiety. I had only just come down from that build-push when the platform I had three clients slowly went lights out. I’ve been rebuilding ever since. 

I used to be a stay at home mom. I decided to make a business out of helping others start and launch their businesses. As a serial Entrepreneur, I was quite qualified. But I literally went from zero to eighty five in, like, two seconds. I used to volunteer, help strangers, do homework with my children, work out and call friends.

What no one understands is that when you start a business, it becomes your child. Your friend. Your passion and your dreams and for me, my obsession. And it was going to destroy me if something didn’t give.

“Start A Business” they say. “Work From Home” they say.

This is what I’ve learned since the crash of 2015

Set Business Hours

Even if those business hours are 7a to 7p, don’t you dare be tempted to return that text, check your email or just peek at numbers prior to 7a or later than 7p. Even if you have to add Saturday, even if it all adds up to seventy hours a week… I get it, you are building an empire and someone has to do it. But… stick to those hours so you get used to knowing when it’s time to unplug.

Stick To a Schedule

Keep that early wake up and early bed time, even on the weekends. Your body is being pushed past it’s limits right now. Especially your mental capacity. Be sure to help it every way you can be getting rest and not punishing yourself for days when you have to make up for a weekend bender.

Rotate Calling Friends

Yes, that’s crappy, but you know what’s worse? Ghosting and not even realizing it’s been six months since you last saw the people you really care about. If you care, schedule them. It’s not like I have said that you should schedule sex, but now that I mention it.

Outsource Tasks That Can Be Outsourced

If I bill $300 an hour, you bet it makes sense to give someone $100 a week for the four hours it takes to clean the house. If my spreadsheets can easily be managed by an intern? Guess what I’m not doing anymore. Reports? Yard work? Grocery delivery? Throw some money at it and realize that it’s for your mental health.

Take Time To Make Eye Contact With Your Family

My office is the front room of my home, so there is not a door. I swear, if one more child “Mommy’s” me I’m going to lose it. I am. But I’ve learned that the only thing that makes them feel ignored and keep coming back to “Mommy” me again while I’m working is if I try to shush them off. If I stop typing, set the phone, down, etc., turn and look them in the eye and listen for twenty seconds and leave them with a hug, they get what they needed. Just a reminder that I’m still here for them.

Did I mention I have Nanny’s with them at this time? Yes, throw money at in-home care, too.

Break Your Goals Up Into Bite Size Pieces

This is how I do it. Each thousand a month buys a client one work hour a day. That’s how I bill. So, I assign weekdays for each client in chunks of time. I schedule them as if I was working with them on-site. I lay out they tasks for each, and when it’s a bigger project, I lay out the whole month. This way, a new website build is not eating away time from my other clients. They get X amount each day, or just Tuesday and Thursday. You can deliver more on-time results this way which will assist your clients expectations for deadlines.

Invest In Better Software

If your computer has to “think” for ten seconds every time you give it a command, get a new one. If you are unorganized and it takes you five minutes to find a file or photo in your messy desktop, hire someone to organize it into better software. Is the learning curve taking hours out of your time to Skpye, invoice, create a CSV? Get someone in to train you how to better use your tools.

Eat, Sleep and Be Merry

Go on dates. With friends, with your lover, with your Spouse. With yourself, even. What good is all of this amazing work you are doing if you don’t have someone who is cheering you on. Your partner will absolutely be fine while you build your business if you stick to your promises. Every Friday is date night. Period. Every Sunday is church. Period. If not an organized religion, then promise me that you are unplugged and not working. It’s your day of rest. Find a beach, walk with your kids, love your neighbors.

Wake, Be Awesome, Repeat

 

Kendra E.J. Woodruff is the Marketing Director for AFEUSA and the Founder of Work Spouse Consulting, LLC, a boutique Marketing and Advertising agency in Phoenix, AZ
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