One of my very first career aspirations was owning my own business.
I dreamed of all of the creative energy I could put into something of my very own. Ah, what a dream it was/is.
As I got older and learned more about what it means to be an entrepreneur, I was face-to-face with the reality that working for yourself is absolutely, positively all of the hard work. As a (budding) entrepreneur myself and as a loved one of many, many entrepreneurs (hey y’all!), I’ve noticed that we need a specially-designed self-care plan to support the work that we do.
Here are four self-care ideas for folks who are their own boss:
Get into the habit of setting boundaries with yourself.
There’s no surprise that we are starting off our self-care list with boundaries. Similar to how our strong friends need to set boundaries, it is vital that entrepreneurs set personal and professional boundaries (with others and with yourself).
In a lot of what I like to call ‘9 to 5’ jobs, a great deal of workplace boundaries are created by a human resources department or by a company’s policies. With folks that are entrepreneurs, its a must that you develop and create boundaries around your work, relationships, time and energy. Self-discipline, self-control and diligence are themes that will show up often in the work that you do and boundaries that you set.
Give yourself permission to step away from your work.
In speaking of boundaries, this self-care idea isn’t as easy as it sounds. When you work for yourself, you decide when to work and when not to work. For a lot of us, it is the latter that trips us up.
It’s easy to work throughout the day, night and then repeat. When you create your own schedule, find moments to take breaks and to step away. Finding time to pause your work helps prevent the burn out and fatigue that many entrepreneurs are familiar with.
Self-discipline is a foundational element of your work as an entrepreneur. Just as it is important to take breaks from working, notice if you are not using your time wisely and exercise self-discipline to complete your tasks.
Be mindful and aware of your strengths and challenges as a entrepreneur.
Working for yourself introduces a whole host of new and unexpected challenges. It can be stressful and quite frustrating to constantly be problem-solving and fixing those entrepreneurial challenges that emerge out of nowhere. As an entrepreneur, you may also be wearing the hats of:
- The accounting department
- The human resources department
- The information technician
- The marketing specialist
- The project manager . . . the list goes on and on.
Be mindful of what areas of your work that you need extra support and education in and what areas you thrive in. For instance, if you know that you love creating and selling, but struggle with keeping the finances and budget together, carve out time to take an online class or connect with a mentor to receive some extra support. This is an ongoing process, so be prepared and mentally ready to deal with these challenges regularly.
Find supportive spaces for you to feel connected and ask for help.
Speaking of support, it is so, so helpful to break out of the silo of working alone to nurture your relationships with others. (Bonus points for finding supportive spaces with other entrepreneurs that know what you’re experiencing!)
Notice what your energy needs are (introverted, extroverted, empathic . . .) and coordinate ways for you to be in the presence of others who understand what you are going through and can offer their guidance or their own stories. Part of your self-care as an entrepreneur includes being able to share, listen and feel encouraged in your work. Additionally, connecting with others can also be part of your work, as networking and relationship-building often positively add to your business.
Explore ways to stay inspired and energized.
I think “writer’s block” exists in some way, shape or form in every profession, especially when you are your own boss. When you’re feeling that stuckness that naturally comes with owning your own business, think of ways to receive inspiration and motivation.
Pinterest has been one of my favorite social media spaces to feel inspired. From scrolling my own personalized ‘boards’ or exploring the work of others, its a simple and accessible resource that could be helpful in re-engaging you in your work.
Becoming an entrepreneur can look differently for everyone, but a commonality that remains the same is that entrepreneurs are filling gaps, taking risks and prioritizing the importance of self-ownership. To all the entrepreneurs out there, we thank you for all that you do!
What self-care ideas do you have for entrepreneurs?