By Kenda Mullert
I never quite knew what exactly I was jumping into when I jumped in with both feet. The momentum to change my life had been building for several months and when the time came that I had built up enough courage to believe in myself, I jumped. With both feet. And I was not ready.
If you have ever seriously considered starting your own side business or full-time business, you might have heard to "start before you're ready". And honestly, that is some of the best advice you will ever receive and also the most difficult to implement. We will never be ready to own our own brand and learn how to market it even if we had all the time in the world. So the wisdom of starting before you are ready is rich with experience. But when you do start, don’t let what’s important to you slip away.
The slope of launching your website, first program or brand is slippery and often creates a mindset of "whatever it takes". And if you are a working mom the mindset of "whatever it takes" is already present in your brain. The right environment, the right expectations, and the right pressure will create an atmospheric bomb what will explode into your marriage, your relationship with your kids, and your own self-compassion. I know this because the bomb has exploded and I can live to tell about it. From this moment on, I have made changes to my approach to building my business. The first changes came with how I didn’t give up on my own personal health.
Here are three ways that I have changed my approach to building my business.
1. I maintain 7 hours of sleep.
This was and IS my hardest one to date. I find that my hours of working on my business are more constrained than ever and the easiest thing I can do is to work into the night until 2am.
The evidence is real on the correlation of getting enough sleep and encouraging creativity, being focused/organized, and being friendly enough to maintain friendships.
ACTION: Ask for accountability from your spouse or a friend. Set alarm(s) on your phone. If you feel that you need ONE night a week to stay up later than usual, make a list of the things that you need to work on for your business. Move the priority ones up higher on the list. Work on this list until a predetermined time. Honor your word to yourself and come back to it the next time you are able to.
2. I maintain a friendship outside of my computer.
My Mac and I were best friends. Not anymore. You see, he just kept coming up short in giving back to me. And not that I choose my friendships on what I gain from them, but I value my friendships on what I learn from them. And I learned that my Mac can be pretty slow and picky, only working as fast as he wants, always waiting on me.
I quickly realized that I needed fresh perspective, a fresh attitude, and someone to laugh with. Mac was not helping me laugh - he was making me cry. So I called up a friend to go for a run. That was a double win for me that day. I remembered that I needed friendship more than I needed a new image on my website. I remembered the power of fresh oxygen filling my lungs.
ACTION: Call up a friend and set a coffee or lunch date. Regularly meet with this friend (or another) every week to help create a balance in working and fun. Bonus points if you don’t talk about your business during your time with your friend.
3. You eat your lunch at a table and not at a desk.
There are never enough minutes in my hour to finish the things that I want to finish. Inevitably I find myself sipping soup as I glare at my monitor, reading some report or article that will help me write the next blog post OR help me plan my next outreach.
It is this mindset that is detrimental for future growth as an entrepreneur. It never ends: the mindset if I keep working hard enough and through another lunch, I will get it finished. My husband would tell you that I often say, "I just need to finish...." And I do finish that task. Only to start on another one.
The hard work that it takes to grow a side business into a full-time business is unbelievably hard. Not only are you the business developer, you are the accountant, the graphic designer, and the marketing director. It's overwhelming and can be exhausting.
Unless you make clear boundaries for your business development, you will continue to live in the mindset that you never have enough time.
ACTION: Look at your calendar. Block out weekly time (or whole evenings) that you will not work on your business. These are times to be spent with your spouse, children, friends, or yourself. Regardless of how tempting it is, refrain from touching your business development during these times.
The biggest lesson I learned when I realized my values of health had crumbled under the pressure I felt to launching my business was that my business needed more of who I am and a little less of what I know. Set your entrepreneur path to success by creating realistic expectations, asking for help along the way. A successful business is a representation of who the entrepreneur truly is. Not the exhausted, grumpy, and overwhelmed person you are. It needs your creativity, your passion, and your energy.
This blog post was created specifically for the Milspo community of women. Without a doubt, these women have my respect and admiration for their desire to create a business while living a life of sacrifice and dedication to their family and country.