Emily Kristofferson

Lessons in Love (with your business)

Lessons in Love (with your business) | EmilyKristofferson.com

I have a confession. I love my business…. and I mean loooovvvee. I could work all day everyday, and I could talk about my business all day everyday. (Trust me, some people get sick of hearing about it! And my 7-year old son even knows many of my clients’ names!)

It’s great to do what I love. It’s why I got into business in the first place. I was craving work that would allow me to make decisions, be creative, have meaning, and help other women. But, there is the downside to loving what you do, and it has to do with setting boundaries. I used to work all of the time, but have come to realize I need a certain amount of structure to be my best (and that includes taking a break now and then).

I don’t always want to face a to-do list miles long or feel like I am doing it all (because I was until I asked for help).

Here are the lessons I have learned in my business (to help me continue loving my business and avoiding the all too real threat of burnout):

1. Clear priorities.

I am a woman on a mission! I have big dreams, places to go. But those dreams can quickly dissolve into overwhelm without clarity. The biggest gift for me of working with a coach has been getting clear priorities, and breaking all that I want to accomplish into smaller, actionable steps. I actually have a Google doc called “My Idea Parking Lot”. I feel like one of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make can be going from one “priority” to another, and not being focused on their true priorities. For any given period of time, I never have more than three priorities…. in a year, in a month, in a week or a day or hour. One at a time is preferable. What are your priorities? Do you block of time in your calendar to get them done and keep those times blocked off (that’s the key)? My best business tool is Google calendar. I used it religiously and block off time for everything.

2. Step up as the CEO of your business.

There’s a big mindset difference between being a freelancer or self-employed to building a business. You are the CEO. [tweet that!]

As the CEO, you need to be looking at how you spend your time. I encourage all of my clients to track their time even just for a few days or a week. Then divide up the time spent into admin, marketing/business development and actual work/serving your clients. Most are astonished to see where they’re really spending their time.

Here’s a good tool for tracking your time: toggl.com which has a 30-day free trial and then it’s $5 per month.

3. Ask for help.

Seriously. I am in love with my assistant. I could sing her praises! I tried to do it all, and was working hours and hours. There have been certain things I just didn’t want to do (like bookkeeping), and I got the help. Stop trying to do it all yourself!

I totally understand that when you first start out, you may not be able to pay for a lot of help but it doesn’t have to be a lot to have a big impact. Start with five hours a month – it will make a difference in your energy level and creativity. More importantly, you will feel a mindset shift when you take on a team member. It helps with #2 – that shift to acting as the CEO.

If it keeps you from doing what you’re really best at, see if you can ask for help. It’s not real life for most of us to only be doing what we love in our businesses, but I encourage you to find one area that you don’t want or need to be doing and get help. You are making an investment, and you may find someone who can do it better than you.

It will feel great when you do!

4. Slow down.

(I am not a machine. I sometimes have to tell myself that… but even a machine needs downtime.) Have you heard of the phrase, “slow down to speed up”? I have fought this for a long time, but it’s true. It seems counter-intuitive to slow down, but slowing down is actually highly productive. Your brain and your body can only handle going so fast for so long.

I know, I get it. You likely feel like you are in a hurry to get it done or reach your goal or feel that sense of accomplishment. Feeling exhausted and stressed out all of the time will keep you from reaching your goal and if you do reach your goal, it’s not going to feel satisfying.

So how can you slow down? Give yourself some breathing room. Even just 5 minutes from time to time.

For me to continue to love my business, I need it to be sustainable.

I want the same for you.

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