It’s ironic that the very reason many moms choose start a business is the one thing that seems the hardest to achieve: freedom. What starts out as the ultimate in flexibility if left unmanaged quickly becomes a never-ending series of tight deadlines and must-do’s. Instead of being your own boss, you end up being a lowly slave to the demands of your growing business.
Think your business can pass the entrepreneurial freedom test? Find out by answering these 5 questions:
Can you clock out and be present in your family life?
Are you able to drop everything at a moments notice?
Can you take a holiday without checking in?
(Deduct extra points if you can’t even manage to take a holiday.)
Can you set the pace of your business activities?
Does your business allow you time to dedicate to you?
If you answered “Yes” to all of the above and were able to take a holiday in the last few months, congratulations — it’s time to celebrate your entrepreneurial freedom. If you answered no to 3 or more, it’s time to reevaluate how you run your business, especially if you haven’t been able to take that much-needed family vacation in years!
How to Break Free of Your Entrepreneurial Chains
Start With Lifestyle Parameters — Want time to get that morning run in? Need to clock out early to shuttle kids to lessons? Only want to work 3 days a week? Get clear on what type of lifestyle you want and design your business around it. If your business is well-established and accustomed to having you there day in, day out, it make take a bit to make the shift, but it is possible.
Establish Business Boundaries — Clients expecting a response over a long weekend? Work extending into your ‘off’ hours when you should be with your family? Find yourself unable to put your SmartPhone down? Time to get tough with your business boundaries. Start by ditching your devices during your downtime. No one needs to be ‘on’ 24/7.
Get Ahead of Schedule to Get Out — Always rushing to catch up only to fall further and further behind? Is your day dedicated by whatever deadlines are the most urgent? Get in the habit of getting ahead of your schedule to get out of your business. For example, if you know that you need to get your financials done by a certain date, schedule it to be done 2 weeks ahead of time to give yourself more flexibility around the true deadline.
Build Systems and Hire the Right People — Worried that your business can’t survive without you? Not sure you can trust your team to handle a crisis? Start by systematizing every aspect of your operations, from how you handle new customer intake to product delivery and frontline service. Then build and train a team that you can trust to make smart decisions on your behalf.
Step Out and See What Happens — Wondering if you covered all the possible scenarios? Chances are you haven’t, but that’s why you need to test it out s-l-o-w-l-y. Start with turning off your phone outside of office hours, then take a day off and see how it goes. From what you learn by trusting your business on its own (or more accurately, in the hands of others), you will be able to work up to taking an actual holiday where you aren’t constantly checking in and troubleshooting problems.