As a small business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of entrepreneurship. We strive to build successful businesses, create value and impact, and serve others with our knowledge and skills. But amidst the challenges and demands, it’s crucial to prioritize our own well-being and find peace and contentment along the way.
I’m coming up on my 9th year of business (currently asking myself “how is that possible?!”), so I get it. Speaking from experience, I know that the entrepreneurial journey can often feel like a whirlwind of responsibilities and challenges. And as soon as one responsibility is wiped from your slate, a second and third quickly replace it. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “I’ll do better with focusing on myself as soon as I get done with XYZ.”
The truth is that XYZ will always be there, and as soon as it’s checked off the ever growing to-do list, ABC falls back in line to replace it.
In the past 9 years, I’ve learned that you simply have to close down the laptop and be intentional about stepping away to protect your mind, heart, and general wellbeing. Work will always be there when you return, and in-fact you’ll be a much happier and more inspired entrepreneur by just taking a break.
Of course, there are so many things that you can do within your business to set yourself up for long-term success, but even when you’ve created the ultimate freedom-based business, you’re still going to have days, moments or weeks when you lose that feeling of peace and need to recapture it. Here are some of my top tips to make that happen:
1. Spend Time Outside
In the midst of deadlines, meetings, and endless to-do lists, nature can be a powerful remedy for the overwhelmed heart and mind. Take a break from the screens and step outside. Breathe in the fresh air, feel the warmth of the sun, and let nature’s beauty rejuvenate your spirit. Whether it’s a leisurely walk in the park or a weekend getaway to the countryside, spending time outside with the sunshine on your face can provide clarity, inspiration, and a much-needed perspective shift.
I live in Ohio and this tip is so much easier in the summer. In fact, I often can’t wait to wrap up my day and leave the office behind for an afternoon walk our local historic gardens, or simply spend time in my own flower beds, admiring their progress and doing the repetitive yet rewarding task of pruning flowers and pulling weeds.
But if you live in a northern environment like I do, don’t forget about getting Vitamin D on those wintery afternoons as well. Bundle up and take a brisk walk for just 10-15 minutes, even on the days you least want to. You’ll be amazed at what leaving the hustle mindset behind can do for your well-being, productivity and your creativity.
2. Invest Time in a Hobby
Running a business doesn’t mean sacrificing your personal passions. In fact, nurturing your hobbies can bring a sense of fulfillment and joy that spills over into some of your best business ideas. Dedicate regular time to spend on activities you love, whether it’s painting, playing an instrument, gardening, or cooking. As entrepreneurs it’s easy to always ask “how can I monetize this?”
Don’t let that thought process run over into your hobby. This is JUST for you. Something you can turn to when you need a break and simply want to turn your mind off, or turn it on to something that has nothing to do with your business. This is your chance to recharge the batteries, reduce your stress, and find an activity that simply brings you joy – not money or success.
Depending on the hobby you choose, it can also open you up to an entirely different world of people than the entrepreneurs your around on a daily basis. Engaging in new and different conversations can help you stay informed about different markets, and new perspectives. Who knew that embracing your hobbies could also fuel your creativity and keeps you connected to the core of why you started this journey in the first place.
3. Prioritize Family and Friends
While listening to a recent podcast, I heard two terms I hadn’t considered before: 1. achievement entrepreneur and 2. lifestyle entrepreneur. I knew instantly that I was the lifestyle entrepreneur. I’ve always focused on building a business that supported the life I wanted to live rather than building a life that supported my business. So it should come as know surprise that prioritizing time with family and friends has always come naturally to me.
In fact, I know that when I start to feel the twinges of burnout, it’s likely because my time is being unevenly shifted more towards my business rather on my life. It’s in these moments that I have to actively consider why I may be feeling resentful towards my business. Knowing that it’s NOT actually my business, but the lack of boundaries that have crept into my business is really helpful for me. Because I know that if I step away from working with clients momentarily, and step into spending time with people I love – that I can come back feeling refreshed and serve my clients as the best version of myself.
Building a lifestyle business means valuing not only business success, but more importantly the relationships that bring meaning to our lives. Make it a priority to carve out moments with family and friends. Schedule dedicated time for uninterrupted weekends together, afternoon lunch dates, meals around the dinner table or simply taking a 10 minute break to put the phone away and enjoy a conversation on the front porch. These moments and memories provide a source of support and grounding that can help you navigate the entrepreneurial journey with a sense of balance.
4. Work on Passion Projects
While your business is your main focus, don’t forget to carve out time for passion projects. These projects allow you to practice your skills and flex your creativity without the pressure of working for clients. Choose something that aligns with your values, brings you joy, and allows you to explore different creative avenues.
But don’t just start a passion project – commit to finishing it and promise yourself that you’ll enjoy the process as much as the outcome. It’s perfectly OK if this project benefits your business in the long run. Just allow it to be something fun and different from the routine parts of your current offerings.
A passion can be something big – like writing a book or starting a podcast. But it can also be something small, like creating any form of your work that is based around your interests as a person and a business owner. Embrace these projects as opportunities to express yourself authentically and make a difference beyond the boundaries of your business.
As female small business owners, we have the power to create businesses that align with our values, grant us flexibility, and positively impact others. By spending time outside, investing in hobbies, prioritizing relationships, and working on passion projects, we can cultivate a sense of peace and contentment while building our freedom-based businesses. Remember, finding balance and well-being is not just essential for your own happiness but also for the sustainable growth and long-term success of our future.
Now it’s your turn! Share your thoughts in the comments below. How do you find peace and contentment as a small business owner? Let’s inspire and support each other on this journey of entrepreneurship and personal growth.