Everyone always tells me that they think I must have the most fun job ever… and for the most part, I agree! I do love what I do. I thought I’d touch on the ‘not always so glamorous side’ of being an entrepreneur in this post. For those of you who do own your own business, you know what I am talking about. We have to constantly be marketing ourselves. We have to provide our own insurances (health, dental, liability, and whatever else your particular business requires). Most of us wear all the hats in our business, if it relatively small. Income is typically unpredictable. Clients can drive us totally crazy. We have no sick days, no paid vacation days, no paid holidays. We fund our own retirement plan. To be an entrepreneur you have to have a high tolerance for stress, , be very organized and motivated and be forever optimistic. We always have to be current with new trends, new products, new skills. We need to make time to network with others in businesses not related to what we do, and also connect with groups or organizations that support our particular business. There are never enough hours in the day, days in the week. But… we would not trade all of this to go to work for someone else, ever again.
So, for the past few days, since I’ve returned from vacation, I’ve been tense and stressed. Well, what a difference a good night’s sleep can make. Today, on my drive to my job site, I gave myself a little pep talk. This is what I do to snap myself out of this funk. I hope those of you who do own your own business and find yourself in such a funk, might benefit from this exercise. I list, (sometimes written, sometimes just in my head) what is bothering me. I don’t think about it first. I just list whatever comes right to me. I had 3 things on my list today: job uncertainty, debt, 5 year plan unclear. I then moved to the other side of my list where I state what is right at the moment. That side of the list, fortunately, was 3 times longer. Then I take the positive side and apply it to the negative side. I give myself a choice. I can mope about jobs that are not happening when I want them to happen, be fearful that I will not be able to pay my bills, and panic about what direction my business will take over the next 5 years. This will surely not be fun. I will develop deep frown lines, which will only add to my stress level. My other choice is to take what is really motivating me right now and see how I can use this to attract more business, new and old clients. Right now what is motivating me, is the Big and Bold and Modern design stencil and template lines offered by Stencil Library. Ever since I did that Concentric Circle bathroom, I only want to do more of this type of work. I thought about what clients from my client data base would be interested in this more contemporary line of wall treatments and came up with a good selection. When I was on the job site today in my client’s home, we discussed how these designs could be incorporated in her home. When I return to this house on Thursday, I will bring my new book of Contemporary Design options at her request. She was very receptive and excited about it all! I decided it is time for me to do another photo postcard mailing to promote the more contemporary designs I am embracing. I use Vista Print.com for my postcard. They are a good value for the price. Turn around time is quick. I also will contact some former clients with specific ideas I have for their particular home. At this point with my business, all my work comes from repeat customers and referrals, so I feel very comfortable approaching former clients w/new ideas that I think they might be interested in. Now I am re-energized. I’m not quite ready to tackle that 5 Year Plan, but I may be able to do a rough draft of the first two years. 🙂 I also reminded myself that this has been a very good year so far for my business, with no down time. I’ve made some great progress and some positive changes. When you work for yourself, and by yourself you do have to stop and give yourself a little pat on the back every now and then.