Being an entrepreneur is probably the hardest job in the world. We have a passion about something that we want to share, something that we think will make a difference. But so often, we're either going it alone or with a very small team. As a result, we have to wear all of the hats: Chief Marketing Officer, Sales Rep, Widget Maker, Service Provider, Guest Relations, Financial Officer, HR Department, CEO, and janitor. And if that's not enough, there's still life outside of the business! Many of us are still spouses, parents, caretakers, community members, hobbyists...
So what happens when life happens AND you have a business to run?
It could be your own personal health issues, an aging parent, a spouse or family member or friend who's just going through it and needs you to be there, or just something that feels like the opportunity. The point is that life will continue to happen both to you and around you while you're on this wonderful, crazy, amazing roller coaster called entrepreneurship.
Fortunately, the beauty of being a small business owner, being your own boss, starting your own non-profit, or just pursuing your dream is that you have the freedom to balance both life and work. So many of my clients (myself included) left corporate America for a variety of reasons, but chief among them was pursuing this freedom. It's the freedom to pursue your passion and do something that makes you happy while still having a life; the freedom to make it to your kid's performance without a boss looking down their nose at you; the freedom to work with like-minded people instead of being another rat in the rat race.
Health entrepreneurship means having the freedom to pause and take care of yourself, whether it's physically or mentally, on your own terms.
The real question is whether or not we will be prepared when something inevitably comes up. As entrepreneurs we have a responsibility to our organizations for life without us. Can your business or non-profit run without your presence for a day? A week? A month? Perhaps longer? If not, it's time to start thinking about the kinds of processes and procedures you have in place. For the past year or so, my own personal business round table group has been working through Scale: Seven Proven Principles to Grow Your Business and Get Your Life Back. I cannot recommend this book enough if you feel like your business can't go a day without you while you take care of yourself or your family.
The question isn't whether something in your life will come up. The real question is whether your business is prepared for it to happen.
What surprised me the most about being an entrepreneur is that there are days when I don't want to get up and go into the office. I had this crazy idea that only "worker bees" felt that way. Once I became the boss, of course I would want to get up bright and early and work long hours.
If you know me, you know I've never been a morning person, and becoming an entrepreneur didn't magically change that. There are still days where I just want to take a random day off and play hooky.
If you feel this way sometimes, too, please know that you are not alone! Every single entrepreneur I've talked to over the last few years has days like this. The "secret" to getting through the tough days and bringing the best version of you to your business each day is finding a passion outside of the business.
This passion isn't a "side hustle" or extra gig or another "stream of income." (I don't know about you, but I'm tired of hearing these cliches.) It's not about finding another way to do more work. It's about finding something that reminds you of the freedom you wanted when you decided to become an entrepreneur in the first place! For me, it's playing guitar. I've met motorcycle riders, home chefs, scuba divers, gardeners, you name it. Find your something that completely takes your mind off of the business. Don't do it for money. Do it for love.