Work-life balance is a hot topic these days. Many working individuals claim it is one of their highest motivating factors for choosing a profession or a company to work for; other hard working professionals claim it is a myth and we shouldn’t be adding to our stress by attempting to reach an ever-elusive goal. Being an entrepreneur is hard enough, but when you work as a solopreneur—someone who sets up and runs a business by themselves—finding a work-life balance can be even more challenging, if not impossible. If you aspire to run your own business but want to avoid running yourself into the ground, these work-life balance tips for solopreneurs can help.
What’s the Difference?
A solopreneur and entrepreneur who works alone might seem like the exact same thing, but there are subtle nuances that differentiate one from the other.
Long-term goals tend to differ.
While this distinction largely depends on the individual, many solopreneurs don’t start a business in hopes of buyout or with the intent to sell it. Many entrepreneurs, on the other hand, often seek to build a company that will sustain rapid growth and be sold. The entrepreneur then moves on to the next business venture. Entrepreneurs tend to run a variety of businesses throughout their careers while solopreneurs tend to work on one company consistently.
Entrepreneurs manage; solopreneurs work.
Entrepreneurs frequently build a team to run their business, even if it is just a humble team of interns, freelancers, or virtual assistants. Alternately, solopreneurs often find themselves running many, if not most, of the aspects of their business even if it means doing the nitty gritty tasks themselves.
Mastering the Work-Life Balancing Act as a Solopreneur
- Learn to say “no.” While it may be tempting to jump on every business opportunity that comes your way, it is likely to burn you out in the long run. Saying “no” to opportunities that are likely to be a poor fit for your company, that will require you to sustain additional costs, or that are just unlikely to be profitable will allow you to regain control of your productivity. Remember, that you are one of your business’ most important resources. Stretching yourself thin working on unprofitable opportunities or trying to make your business fit the needs of every customer, is not just bad for you personally, but may also cause you to mishandle better opportunities.
- Give up some control. It may not be ideal, especially if you are used to running your business entirely on your own, but if you are struggling, you may want to consider delegating tasks. Whether this entails hiring your first employee (part-time or full-time depending on your needs) or onboarding a virtual assistant to support you when you need the extra help, it may be the only way you can take back control of the “life” part of your work-life balance.
- Even when taking care of business, self-care is important too. Last, but not least, you have to remember to take the time to disconnect from your work and engage in self-care activities. This includes ensuring you are healthy by eating quality and nutritious foods (rather than pre-packaged, microwaved, or fast food), staying hydrating, getting enough sleep, and exercising. You’ll also want to take breaks from time to time. You can do this by scheduling 15- or 30-minute breaks in your calendar for “you time”—where you focus on things other than your job—or disconnecting from your work after a certain hour. (Stop answering emails from bed at 11:30pm!)
Finding an appropriate work-life balance is nowhere near an exact science, but many busy solopreneurs believe it helps keep them motivated, working hard, and healthy (both physically and mentally). While few solopreneurs are likely to feel that their lives are well-balanced, at the end of the day, finding some time for yourself and away from your business is necessary to avoid burnout and ensure your business’ long-term success.