The Secret to Being the Best Small Business Owner You Can Be
The most important thing you can do as a small business owner is take care of yourself.
When I started Cafe Con Leche in January 2014 I was very physically active, having lost close to 40 pounds over the past three years - my WeightWatchers game was on point! However, almost immediately after Cafe Con Leche was born my self care routine fell apart. This was for several reasons 1) I was so passionate about working on Cafe Con Leche during every free moment I had that nothing else mattered 2) I did not have as many free moments as I used to have 3) working from home makes you more sedentary because you don't have to get up and be somewhere every morning. Let the weight gain commence!
I am now in year three of Cafe Con Leche. It is painfully obvious to me at this point that if I do not get my self care routine up and running again, the success of Cafe Con Leche will be limited. This is because your business is a reflection of you. If you are not taking care of yourself, your business will show that lack of care. If you are not open to personal growth and change, your business will not be able to grow and change. If you do not have a personal outlet, your business will become a heavy weight. Just like a relationship, you need personal time, space and care. Plus taking care of yourself will help to keep your creativity sharp and your passion for entrepreneurship strong. Losing either of those two things can be detrimental to a small business owner.
As entrepreneurs our greatest asset is time. And time is limited. When you are planning your work schedule you must force yourself to schedule self care time. This can be some quiet journalling in the morning, a jog in the middle of the day or a staycation over the weekend. Below are some easy ways that you can incorporate self care into your regular routine.
- Daily. Wake up an hour early to journal about three things you like about yourself, three things you are grateful for and anything else you have on your mind. Don't stress yourself out about how long your to-do list is when you journal. Just let your thoughts wander and write about whatever makes you feel happy. Even if it's just a few sentences. If you are really ambitious, take a few extra minutes to sit quietly with your eyes closed and breath, focus on waking up the different parts of your body so you are ready for the day.
- Weekly. Exercise is always at the top of everyone's list. That's because it works. Whether you go for a daily thirty minute walk or have long runs on weekend, getting your body moving does everything to make your mind and body sharp. The impact on your energy levels will be felt immediately and you will be happier. I promise that you will be happier.
- Monthly. Take a day entirely for yourself. You do not have to go outside, pick up the phone, talk to anyone, check you email or social media (in fact take all of that off your phone - better yet hide your phone from yourself). Don't do anything on that day unless it makes you happy. If that means sitting on the couch all day watching Netflix all day than so be it. No one will judge you and the world will not end by taking a day totally and completely for yourself.
- Quarterly. I want to talk about the power of Staycations. They are a great ways to take a mini-vacation without spending a great deal of money and not taking any time off from work. You get to enjoy where you to live in a way that you do not normally get to enjoy - like a tourist. What I like to do is rent a hotel room for a night or two in a neighborhood I do not live in or just outside the city limits (so I feel like I am in the country but it's only a 30 or 45 minute drive). I look for hotels that look interesting or chic or are around activities that I want to do during my staycation. Last year my partner and I took a staycation during the fall. We rented a hotel room about 45 minutes outside of the city and spent the weekend apple picking, wine tasting, getting massages and shopping at the nearby outlets. I felt like I was a world away from home and yet I was within an hour of my house. I came home feeling refreshed and excited for the week to start. Staycations are especially nice because you eliminate the stress of actually traveling.
- Yearly. As your finances allow, take a long trip. If you can't or don't want to travel somewhere else, take a long staycation. You need time to live a different routine for a bit. Meet some new people. Try some new food. Have a new conversation. Learn about something you know nothing about. This experience will not only help keep you refreshed, but it will also give you creative inspiration for how to make your business more successful. If you are able to leave town for two weeks or more but don't want to spend a lot of money, WWOOFing is a great option.
- Bonus Tips: Limit your alcohol consumption and watch what you eat. Address issues from your past that are still coming up for you in your present day life. Working through these issues and understanding how they effect your life today will increase your emotional intelligence and allow you to build healthier relationships with those you work with (this includes your staff and clients!)