I do apologise in advance for the openness of this blog post. If you don’t like reading open, authentic and really honest content, please feel free to stop reading now.
If you know me (even just a little bit), you’ll know that most of the time I’m really enthusiastic, positive and excited about whatever life throws at me. I love being in business on my own. I can talk forever about the things I love about freelancing, but today I want to look at the other side of the coin.
Sometimes, running your own business sucks! It’s a lot of hard work and sometimes you might feel that no one understands you and that people don’t appreciate what you’re doing for them. Sound familiar?
There will be days when nothing works out, people aren’t as nice as usual, your proposals are rejected or simply the weather sucks. If this ever happens, I’ve discovered a few things that really help:
1. Having someone to complain to
I don’t mean your partner or a friend who has no idea what running a business means. I mean someone who knows exactly what you’re going through because they’ve been there too. This is one of the reasons why I love co-working. I have a bunch of business friends in the office who are willing to listen to me and give me some feedback and advice when needed.
Having someone to complain to, who knows what you’re going through, is the most important thing to keep yourself sane!
2. Switching off
In situations when I get really frustrated about something in business I tend to obsess about it. I can get really emotional and that’s no good for productivity or getting jobs done properly.
The great thing about running your own business is that you can take a break whenever you need to. You can read a book, listen to a podcast or a piece of your favourite music, clean the dishes or do the laundry (depending on where you work from). You can also simply have just 5 minutes to take a few deep breaths and be present in the moment in your body.
3. Changing focus to a completely different task
Sometimes, the best solution is to fully focus on some other project and occupy your brain with a completely different problem. With time, when your emotions settle down, you can get back to the original problem and look for solutions from a different and fresh perspective.
4. Getting physically active
If I can, I love going for a run or a swim to clear my head. Even a short, intense walk can do the trick and help me focus once more. You can also go for something more energetic like a bootcamp or boxing if you like doing that sort of thing. Boxing especially can be really cathartic exercise for your mind. Either way, getting physically active forces your brain to focus on other things and allows you to calm down, shift your attention and collect your thoughts again,
Sometimes, only a bar of a really good chocolate (or slice of a chocolate cake) will do the trick! If a situation like that happens, don’t punish yourself afterwards by feeling guilty. You can also follow with the previous step to keep the balance.
6. Meet new people
Go out, meet new people, listen to their stories and shift the focus from your own issues. You’ll be surprised how helpful it is to truly listen to other people and help them solve their challenges. Not only that but it also puts new thoughts into the forefront for you. Often, you’ll realise that many people struggle with the same things as you do. And knowing that you’re not alone is a huge relief!
What do you think about my solutions? Have you tried any of them or do you have any you’d like to add to the list? Please let me know in comments or get in touch at @lenkakopp.