|The Small Business Library|
July 24, 2000
Destressing Techniques for the Full-Time Netrepreneur
Running a business full-time doesn't mean that you have to (or NEED to) work 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Take off weekends, holidays, AND random vacation time to avoid home business burn-out. Rest your brain.
Keep a tight focus when you work, and automate your business as much as possible. As a matter of fact, work ONLY as much as you have to. That's why you quit your day job, (or plan to), right?
Being able to work when you want and play when you want is one of the greatest advantages of running your own business -- and it's also one of the most quickly forgotten.
You can't do everything yourself, and you shouldn't try. When business picks up, the "hired help" can relieve a lot of your stress. But how do you know when you need to hire a helping hand?
An assistant doesn't necessarily have to be a full-time employee. And, instead of paying your hired help by the hour, you can pay them on a "per assignment" basis. This can save money that would otherwise go to an employee benefits package, and can eliminate the need for extra tax time paperwork that the full-time employee would create.
To go a step farther, you can have several part-time assistants, with each one specializing in a different area of your field. This will be much better than having one "Jack of all trades" that doesn't know a heck of a lot about anything specific to your niche.
For example, if you're a Web design consultant, you can have an assistant to do each of the following specialized tasks:
You'll need to train someone you trust to make intelligent business decisions in the event of your absence or illness. This step will take longer than the others, simply because you can't just pick anyone off the street for this job. You need to be confident that this person can and WILL run your business as smoothly and efficiently as if you'd never left the scene.
Not only will this person be able to act as a temporary "owner," they'll also be able to:
When you fix lunch, don't come back to the computer. Fix it, and turn on the T.V. to watch your favorite sitcom. Or, grab a book and curl up by the fireplace (or the air conditioner in the Summer!), to read a few chapters of that great novel you got from Amazon.com.
Whatever you do, just get away from your work! If you don't feel "productive" during work hours unless you're exercising your brain, go to the supermarket for one of those great variety puzzle books and go for the gold. In short, make sure breaks are REALLY for resting -- not just for getting out of the physical vicinity of your work area.
I know how annoying it is to be in the middle of an important project, stop to take a phone call -- then totally forget what you were doing when you stopped to take the call. And, not only is it frustrating, it can also be time-consuming.
Eliminate distractions, (and the embarrassment of jumping out of your skin in fright when the phone rings), by using an automated messaging service or live operator. Instead of listing your home office phone number on your website, list the number of the 24 hour service to answer all your calls.
You can't be all things to all people, and it's foolhardy to try. Enjoying helping people is one thing, but stressing yourself out by taking on too many responsibilities is another. Any reasonable person will understand that running a business is stressful, and will also understand that you just can't do it all.
If the person gets upset or bad-mouths you to other marketers because you declined their offer, that's the kind of person you wouldn't have wanted to have any dealings with anyway. And in both cases, you still come out on top, and life goes on.
If you were working any other full-time job, you'd be entitled to vacation time after working "x" amount of hours. So, when you own your own business, this should be even more applicable as it's generally harder work.
Whether you're alone or with friends or family, make sure that your vacation STAYS a vacation by not taking ANY work with you on the trip. Don't take any work-related "reading material," don't take your lap-top with you to "work on that new website," don't do newsletter issues, and don't make any business calls!
Even if your vacation is nothing but a relocation to another area of the house for a week, it's one of the only times you're able to take time out that's exclusively for YOU. Don't ruin that or interfere with it by working through your break.
Article by Harmony Major, who specializes in helping ordinary people build money-making online businesses. Order her online business start-up guide at http://homebasedheaven.com/riches/ , or her NEW report on how to get a #1 listing on Yahoo!. You can also subscribe to her 3 ezines for detailed strategies to grow your online business! Visit homebasedheaven.com.