At this time of year, there’s usually a flurry of media and social posts about starting afresh in 2017 (although you can insert any year in there) which usually involves chucking in that job that you hate and turning the dream of starting your own business into a reality.

Because as all business owners know, owning your own business means you can work when you want to, you’ve endless time to spare to go to the beach or work on your personal hobbies and you earn more than you ever have before. In short, you have it all.

Sorry? What do you mean, your life/business doesn’t run like that?

Wasn’t the idea of running your own business so you could have more flexibility? More time? Less angst?

Before you start to worry that it’s just you – no, no it’s not. Someone once said when you run your own business you have all the freedom in the world – to work whichever 18 hours of the day you want. And they weren’t far wrong, especially in the early days.

But once you’ve been in business for a while, it tends to smooth out a bit more. Sure, there are periods when you’re flat stick, but there are also periods when you can ease back a bit.

The problem is that often we’re all rather a bit like Pavlov’s dogs in our working habits. We think ‘it’s a work day, therefore I must sit at my desk and ‘do’ work until whatever time I normally knock off for the day.’

And whilst that usually helps us achieve a lot, the problem is the work never stops. It’s almost like ‘busy’ is the ‘new black’ especially with so many of you being connected to a device close to 24x7 – just in case. But all that ‘just in case-ing’ takes its toll.

Plus we keep on keeping on, just because the work is there. And we keep on keeping on until we get so tired, or so sick, or so over it all that we start to question whether or not owning a business is really for us. I mean it’s not what we signed on for when we were sold the business ownership dream. Go too far down that path and you’ll burn out.

Rescuing your business ownership dream

So before you burn out – regardless of where you are on your business owning journey, it’s time to rescue your dream.

How? Well, let’s look at what you can do to start your new year off better. Let’s start now.

In the short-term

  1. Open your diary and cross out 2 weeks of time over Christmas/January and in large lettering, write HOLIDAY or TIME OFF or VACATION. Or do it in February or whenever works for your business. Just make sure you do it now.
  2. Plan how you’re going to take care of the work in the lead up to your leave. If you’ve got to do an extra couple of hours each week in order to take the 2 weeks, go for it.
  3. Find and install an out of office message for your email whilst you’re on leave.
  4. If you have to check in with clients prior, do it. The world won’t end. I promise.
  5. Switch your phone off during your break. Yes, really!! If you’re constantly talking to clients, suppliers, etc, it’s not a real holiday. If you can’t switch your phone off, think about forwarding all your calls to a Virtual Receptionist, who will answer your calls, take bookings, etc and if anything is desperately urgent, they will get hold of you. But don’t worry, nothing’s usually that desperately urgent during Christmas/January.

In the longer term

  1. Get some help. It doesn’t have to be a permanent (read: expensive) staffer. It can be a P/T junior to help with some admin or someone to do your bookkeeping or anything else that you hate, loathe and despise doing in your business that contributes to you feeling like you’re ‘slogging it out’.
  2. Have a Virtual Receptionist answer your phone. When you’ve time to do whatever it is that you do – without interruption – until you’re ready to get back to your callers, you’ll be much calmer and more focused.
  3. Schedule yourself an afternoon to leave early or a morning to start late each week. Put it in the diary and treat it like a client appointment. Use that time to go to the gym, go for a walk/run, take in a movie, get a massage, do a course you’ve always wanted to. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it appeals to you, it’s not really work and it gets you a bit of space to recharge your brain AND it happens regularly.

Now, if you do those things, chances are, you’ll have a much, much merrier Christmas and a significantly brighter, more focused 2017.

If you’d like to know more about how a Virtual Receptionist might work for your business, so you can take the real break you need to start 2017 refreshed and ready to go, we’d love to talk to you. You can call Roland on 1300 318 680 or drop us a note.