Starting your own business is a labor of love. You dive in headfirst to bring your vision to life. At first, everything is worth it, the long nights and early mornings spent making sure everything is picture-perfect.
However, eventually, things seem to spin out of control. You’re stressed, your work-life balance is all out of wack and your passion for your small business has dimmed.
Sometimes you don’t even notice what’s happening. You miss a birthday party, reschedule date night for the third time or show up at the wrong client’s house. How did it get like this?
When you feel like each morning is a marathon, it’s easy to lose sight of your passion. What was once a shining beacon in your life, becomes a source of anxiety. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
You can take control. With a little mindfulness, a few tools and a support system, you can bring back the excitement of owning your own business.
So, You’ve Lost Your Sense of Purpose
Getting up in the morning used to fill you with excitement. You were ready to conquer the day running your business. But now you feel like you’re just going through the motions and working to keep the doors open.
With a million things on your plate from managing schedules to chasing down payments, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds. Sometimes it’s hard to remember the reason you started your business in the first place.
Now is the time to take a step back and remind yourself why you took on this challenge. Was it for financial freedom, or a flexible schedule or to be your own boss? Or did you want to share your talents with others? Whatever the reason, reacquaint yourself with it.
Take Time to Take Care of Yourself
With busyness comes burnout followed by a lack of passion — particularly following the last few years we’ve had. This can often be attributed to an overwhelming workload or a lack of time to decompress.
One of the ways to bring some zen back into your life is to practice mindfulness. As business owners with a demanding schedule, we understand that it can be hard to squeeze in a yoga class or time to meditate.
But, you can intertwine moments of intentional mindfulness and time for yourself into your schedule. Here’s how:
- Practice mindfully breathing first thing in the morning or during your commute.
- Recite a new mantra each week to motivate you, try, “I trust that this will turn out greater than my wildest imagination.”
- Take a short break and listen to this 10-minute meditation.
- Schedule personal time to recharge. Read a book, get dinner with a friend or just have some “me” time.
You don’t have to do all of these things. Pick one or two to start.
Use Tools to Take Control of Your Time
Here are some ways to improve efficiency and help your bottom line, but most importantly, free up your time and take some worries off your plate.
Stop scheduling time to tackle scheduling
Service-based businesses are unique because you don’t open your doors and wait for customers to walk in, peruse your merchandise and then make a purchase. Rather, you’re there to be the solution; to fix their car; walk their dog; offer legal advice. And often the customer wants your service appointment to fit into their schedule, not yours.
Instead of keeping paper calendars and sitting on the phone negotiating with clients about you or your staff’s availability, this can and should be a digital automated process.
With online scheduling, your customers can head to your website or Google My Business listing to book an appointment and select from pre-determined windows of time. No phone calls, no haggling, just scheduling.
Thryv can help you do all this, plus send automated confirmation and follow-up emails or text messages so you don’t waste time sitting around for a customer who forgot about their appointment and isn’t showing up.
Ditch the filing cabinets cluttering up your space
Some days when you walk into your office does it feel like a tornado has ripped through? It’s time to digitize so you can find important documents simply by typing in your client’s name, email or tag into your CRM.
We promise this is faster than flipping through files. Plus, by digitizing you can easily share files with your staff or clients.
In addition, it’s time to stop hopping from email to text to physical invoices to keep track of interactions with your clients. There are tools out there (hint, hint: Thryv) that can keep all of your documents and communications for clients or projects in one place.
Stop Chasing Customers for Payments
Cash flow problems are one of the leading causes of why businesses, and your sanity, take a nosedive. Alleviate pain points in the payment process to reduce the number of times you have to chase down what you’re owed.
- Create digital invoices on the fly and send them to your customers for approval while you’re still on site.
- Offer online payments or send payable invoice links to your customers via SMS messaging so they can pay on the go.
- Take advantage of your CRM’s automated payment reminder feature and let technology do the work.
Find a Mentor or Friend to Relate To
No matter if it’s day one of your first start-up or 5 years into your third business, there is always someone out there who knows a little more than you do and can help you through.
You can hire a career coach, reach out to someone in your network who you’ve always looked up to or reach out to other owners on social media. Don’t get us wrong, your family and friends are a great support system, but they don’t know what it’s like to be the boss of their own enterprise.
It’s important to have connections with other people who understand the trials and tribulations of small business ownership.
In the meantime, here is some free advice, not from us, but from other small business owners, just like you!