Does this sound familiar?
You started your business because you wanted to do something that you loved. You wanted more time with your family. You wanted sleep-ins, cuddles with your kids, relaxing weekends. You wanted to be successful. And maybe wanted your friends to be a little envious of your amazing life (*wink*).
Instead, you’re working 60 hours a week, late nights, early mornings, no weekends, no time with your family and the majority of your work is not fun. There’s a hell of a lot less creating and producing work and a hell of a lot more accounting and marketing work than you imagined. And if you have to tell your children to “wait a second, I’m a little busy,” one more time, you think you’ll cry.
And as a result? Your business is not as fulfilling or satisfying as you thought it would be, and you don’t feel successful at all.
It’s Probably time for a business plan!
When your business is not going the way you want it to, when your life is in a bit of a mess and you’re wondering if it’s all worth it, it’s probably time for a business plan, sista!
When I was at this stage with my first photography business, everyone told me I should write a five year plan. They said I should focus on building my business so in five years my business would be thriving and I’d be in my happy place.
I remember thinking “Hell no!”
No more 60 hour weeks, no more saying “in a minute” to my little boy, no more getting up early and going to bed late in order to fit in all the mundane tasks, and no more worrying about my business when I was supposed to be with my family.
I didn’t want to spend five years in this frantic half-present state. I wanted to have a successful, fulfilling life now, please. With a cherry on top.
The biggest problem with a five-year plan (or most business plans for that matter), is that you only focus on your business. Not your life.
But who wants a super successful business, if you can’t have the sleep-ins, the cuddles with the kids, the relaxing weekends and lots and lots of strawberry mojitos?!
What do you want now?
So throw your five year plan out the window. Preferably from a fast-moving freight train. You don’t need that.
The best thing you can do for your business – and your life – is to remember why you started this business in the first place. How you imagined your life would be. And then make the changes to make your life as good as the one you imagined.
Trying to make a Facebook cover picture instead reading bedtime stories to your little ones? Hire a designer!
Getting up early to respond to hundreds of emails every day? Find a virtual assistant!
Losing your mind over the stress of taxes? Hire a bookkeeper!
Imagine what you could do with all that free time!
A note on outsourcing
A lot of women tell me “I can’t afford to outsource my accounting” or “When I’m making more money I’ll pay for a designer.”
But think of it like this…how much time are you spending doing things you hate? What could you do with that time instead? Spend it with your family? Spend it growing your business so you’re even more successful?
You are an expert at what you do. Hire experts to do the things they are experts in. Accounting, design, customer service…whatever part of your business you hate, you’ll be able to find an expert who loves doing it! And who can do it faster and better than you!
It’s not all about outsourcing…
How about making strict business hours, and strict family time?
If you spend a lot of time answering the same questions all the time…how about an FAQ page or a generic email response?
What about setting aside time every month to do personal projects? Get some of that passion back and remember why you loved this job so much in the first place.
Give me the steps:
1. Pour yourself a glass of wine and sit somewhere quiet (a nice mug of coffee or a hot chocolate also works).
2. Spend some time thinking about why you started this business in the first place.
– To follow your passion?
– To give up the 9-5?
– Extra money?
– More time with the kids?
– Less stress, more glamour?
– To feel fulfilled, successful?
And write it all down!
3. Now think about how you imagined your life would be like after you started your business…
– More time and money?
– Less stress?
– More holidays?
– Envious friends?!
Write it down!
4. Is that still what you want? Think about exactly what you want your life to be like now.
– How do you want to spend your day?
– Who with?
– Doing what?
Write it down, sista!
5. Now is the juicy part. How do you need to change your business and your life in order to get closer to what you really want?
– Automating communication with customers?
– Outsourcing taxes? (Yes please!)
– Outsourcing everything else you hate doing?
– Maybe doing projects specifically for yourself? Get that creativity and passion back!
– Taking time off? Having strict business hours?
6. Now schedule some time to actually make these changes!
(and pour another glass of wine…you earned it!)
NOTE: This is just one section from The Business Plan Project – a guide to writing a business plan that will work for your business, and more importantly, your life. You can sign up for the rest of the FREE lessons here from The Business Girl Project.