Walking the line between working hard and burning out

Written by Ryan Shank on . Posted in Uncategorized

Walking the Line between Working Hard and Burning Out There is no doubt that being a successful entrepreneur takes a lot of hard work and dedication.  There will be many sleepless nights and early mornings required to take your business from an idea in your head to a thriving company.  It is also important, however, to take steps to ensure you’re not going to burn out.  When an entrepreneur is just getting started on a new project they are excited, driven and passionate about their idea.  While these feelings don’t ever go away, they do fade slightly over time, which is why it is important to establish a healthy work-life balance. One of the nicest things about being an entrepreneur, however, is that you are able to be far more flexible than would be possible in a traditional business environment.  If, for example, you are working hard on a project on Monday and everything is going well, you can work 18 hours that day.  It is important to then take some time off the next day, or later in the week to help recover a healthy balance.  At Mhelpdesk, we see this everyday. There are many different ways to put in the work necessary to make your business a success without burning out, but they do require intentional decisions such as those listed below: A Day of Rest Whether you look at it from a religious point of view or purely psychological, having (at least) one day of rest per week is essential for your long term health.  There have been studies that have shown that people who take a minimum of one day completely away from work each week are actually able to accomplish more during the other six days.  Whether you take this time to relax on the beach, watch some sports or go to the movies, it will give your mind and body a chance to recover from the hard work during the rest of the week. Don’t Sacrifice Sleep There is certainly no way to prevent an entrepreneur from ever working long hours and having sleepless nights.  It is, however, not just possible, but essential to ensure you get sufficient sleep on a regular basis.  Each person needs a different amount of sleep each night to function at optimal levels, so find out how much is required for you.  Typically it will be between 6 and 9 hours per night, and may depend on the type of activities you’re performing each day. If you find you simply can’t get that much sleep every night, consider some of the following options for staying well rested:
  • Fall Asleep Faster – There is nothing more frustrating than getting to bed at a decent hour only to lay there awake for hours.  To help fall asleep faster, make sure you’re not drinking caffeine or consuming sugary foods for at least two hours before bed.  Also, don’t go to bed hungry, or overly full, and use the bathroom just before going to bed, even if you don’t feel the need.
  • Two Day Cycle – If you can’t commit to getting to bed on time every night, try to get on a two day sleep schedule.  This allows you greater flexibility and most people are able to function quite well, because they still get sufficient sleep.  If, for example, you need 6 hours of sleep per night, spread those 12 total hours over the two day period.  If you are only able to get 4 hours on day one, than you must allow for 8 hours on day two.  It may take some time to adjust to this option, but it can be extremely helpful for many entrepreneurs.
  • Invest in Comfort – A high quality mattress with nice sheets and a pillow which you love are all essential for falling asleep fast and sleeping through the night.  Take your time and invest in these items, they can not only help you fall asleep faster, but also help you wake up more rested. This might even allow you to function well on even fewer hours of sleep per night.
  • Clear your Mind – One trait of entrepreneurs is that they are constantly thinking about their business.  This can cause you to lay awake in your bed for quite some time.  Learn mind clearing techniques such as meditation to help avoid this trap so you can get to sleep more quickly.
Reward Yourself When you’ve made significant progress on a project, or reached a major milestone, make sure to take some time off to reward yourself.  Going on a small vacation or taking some extra time to relax with friends or family will help you to recover from all the hard work.  These rewards will also help to keep you motivated when you get back to work.  Knowing there is something fun after major projects are completed will help to keep you focused on the most important things. Practice Time Management In many cases you will be just as tired after working whether you’ve accomplished one task or ten.  Entrepreneurs often waste a lot of time on unimportant work which causes them to be less productive on the more important items.  Practicing proper time management skills will help to ensure the things you do get done each day will be benefiting your business the most.  Let unimportant tasks get pushed back, or even allow other people to complete them for you. Hire Real Talent When you get to a point in your business where you need to hire someone to help, make sure you take the time to hire someone who will be a strong asset.  Too many people rush through the interviewing and screening processes just to get someone in the door. This individual might not be the right person for the job, which will mean you’ll have to spend more time training and correcting the person, and eventually replace them anyway.  Take the time to hire someone who will actually make your life easier so you can focus on the important parts of your business. Being an entrepreneur isn’t always going to be easier than working a normal 9-5 job, but if you are able to manage your time properly and have a good balance in your life, it will be much more rewarding.  Remember, the reason most entrepreneurs start their own businesses isn’t just for the financial opportunities, but also so they can enjoy their life more and live on their own terms.  If you’re giving up those things, you may as well go back to a corporate job and live like everyone else.

5 Ways to Overcome the Negativity and Doubt of Friends & Family

Written by Ryan Shank on . Posted in Uncategorized

When starting any type of business on your own there are two things you can expect.  First, you are in for the ride of your life which will take you through some ups and downs that you never could have imagined.  Second, you will have friends and family who will question your sanity, criticize your decisions and generally be less than supportive in your efforts.  Each person will handle this type of reaction differently, but it is important to find out how to overcome this negativity until your business is a success.

The following five tips and tricks will help you to overcome the negativity many entrepreneurs experience.  Review each item and see which ones will work best for your specific situation.  Remember, you can adjust, adapt and combine them in any way to help ensure you don’t let other people’s opinions make you question your commitment to your new business.  Here are the five tactics that I personally used when I was starting Mhelpdesk, the top-rated field service software that helps service companies become the most successful business in town by streamlining their work orders, scheduling, invoices and payments.

Understand their intentions & listen to concerns

In the vast majority of cases, the people who are the most negative and question your sanity, actually have your best interest in mind.  They truly believe that going out on your own is a dangerous risk which could lead to your financial ruin.   They aren’t being negative because they don’t like you or even because they are jealous.  They simply don’t understand the way the mind of an entrepreneur works, and fear for your future.

Once you realize that they aren’t trying to be mean, you can actually benefit from their concerns.  Have frank conversations with them about what they are afraid will happen, and why they are scared.  Their outside perspective can be quite useful in identifying potential problems in your business plan and avoiding them.  In addition, by listening to their concerns and taking them seriously, it may win over their support and encouragement.

Allow it to motivate you

For many entrepreneurs the negativity of others can actually be a strong motivator.  Knowing that there are people who are doubting your abilities shouldn’t be seen as a problem, but rather a challenge.  Every time you run into a difficulty with your business, for example, think about what your friends and family have said and use that to push you through the issue.  Allow every questioning comment or criticism that they give you to keep you focused on the goal of having a successful business.

Turn it into a teaching opportunity

When someone is questioning your decision to start a business and showering you with negativity, understand that it is almost certainly only because of their ignorance of the situation (unless they’re just being haters).  They don’t understand your passion, your business plan or the opportunities like you do.  They haven’t spent hours researching, learning and planning every little detail like you have.  With this in mind, take the time to help educate your questioning friends and family on your business.  Explain to them what you’ll be doing, why it will be successful and how you plan to do it.

In addition to helping to calm some of the concerns your friends and family have, it will also give you the opportunity to go through the details of your business out loud.  Experts have proven that one of the best ways to learn more about something is to teach others, so this will be a perfect opportunity.  As you go through the teaching process you may identify additional opportunities for your business, or think of ways problems can be overcome.   Essentially you’ll be turning their negativity into an opportunity for you to go over the details of your business again, which is always beneficial.

Take a firm stand

While it is always good to try to take the negativity of others and turn it into something positive, that isn’t always possible.  If your friends and family won’t stop criticizing your idea, or the fact that you’re attempting to start a business, you may have to put your foot down.  When it gets to the point where you no longer want to listen to them, it is time to tell them that while you appreciate their concerns, it is not something you’re interested in discussing further.  Let them know, in no uncertain terms, that any further comments on your business are not welcomed at this time and that your decision has been made.  From there, attempt to change the subject to something less confrontational.

Ignore them

When all else fails you’ll just have to ignore their comments.  If they say something negative about your business, simply respond with something like, “I appreciate your concern,” and then change the subject.  Don’t dwell on the doubts of others because they have no real influence on your life.  Ignoring the comments of your friends and family can be extremely difficult, but remember, they aren’t questioning you or your dreams.  They simply don’t understand the opportunity you’re pursuing, and if they refuse to understand it, there is no point in dwelling on their comments.

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