When I started my first business back in 2008, I didn’t know what I was doing. I mean….at all. It was a rough road those first few years. I learned everything I could. I’m still learning, but one of my biggest priorities now is the ability to run a business with less stress.
Those first few years, I had visions of being my own boss, working less, and spending more time with my kids. My reality, though, was that I ended up working around the clock. I missed out on a lot of fun and wasn’t making what I should have in those many hours. What happened to my dream? I thought working from home would give me more time with my family, not less!
The problem wasn’t my business.
The problem was that I didn’t have any systems in place for my business. I had no plan. No routine. No help! I was trying to do everything and be everything all at once. Since then, I’ve learned that that is impossible.
Once I slowly started changing the way I ran my business, I was able to start earning more income with less work.
[bctt tweet=”By changing the way I run my business, I can earn more income with less stress. #smallbusiness” username=”cruiseangie”]
5 Ways to Run a Business with Less Stress
This post may contain affiliate links. To read my full disclosure, click here.
When you’re just starting out, working from home can be really scary. The to-do lists, the articles you read, and all of the numbers you have to look at and evaluate are really stressful. That’s why you need a plan in place for dealing with everything.
1. Have Solid Goals and Plans
If you’re surprised that this is the first thing I’m recommending, then you’re probably new here. (Right?? If you are, welcome!)
I love goals, and I love plans. I also love making plans for ways to accomplish my goals. My hope is that I can show you how much that can help you succeed, too!
Having a big goal is great, but it can also be really daunting. Your goal might be something like, “I want to earn enough income from my business to support my entire family.” That’s an amazing goal. It’s also a really big and scary goal!
You need to break your goals down into smaller chunks. By creating smaller, more manageable goals and having a plan for how to reach them, you will succeed at a much steadier rate than if you just wandered off in the direction of your big and scary goal.
2. Keep Detailed To-Do Lists
Ya’ll, even my lists have lists. I’ve probably told you that before, but it’s true. When I have a lot of things to accomplish, I write out a list. Then, I go back in and write down a list of steps for each item so that I can stay on task. My to-do list doesn’t just say “finish blog post.” My to do list says:
- write draft
- check SEO
- edit draft
- take photos
- edit graphics
- add photos and graphics to post
- check links in post
- input categories
- input tags
- schedule post
- schedule social media blasts
(And yes, if you’re not a blogger, all of that does go into one post.)
The concept behind doing this is to not give yourself time to think. When your brain is allowed time to wander in between steps, you can be more easily distracted. That’s when it becomes easy for you to veer off course and spend your time on something else. By having everything written out, step by step, you don’t give your brain time to think about what it could be doing next.
3. Create Dedicated Work Hours
This one is a little more complicated if you have young kids at home, but it can be done. I’m currently writing this post at 5:30 in the morning. No, I’m not a morning person. But I have learned that if I want this to be a priority, I have to make it one. It took me a long time, but I eventually learned to wake up an hour before my kids so that I could have time to write and work on my business. The rest of my day is pretty full of mom duties, so if I want to build my empire, I’ve got to build it one hour at a time.
That’s okay with me. I know that this is a season of my life, and that one day, I’ll have all the time I want to write and reach my goals. For now, though, I’ll wake up at 5:30 and write in the peaceful morning hours before anyone else wakes up.
If that doesn’t work for you, that’s okay! Find an hour- or even 20 minutes- every day that you can dedicate to your work. Maybe it’s during nap time, or maybe it’s after everyone goes to bed. Whatever you choose, stick with it. Treat that time like it’s your job (because it is!) and show up every day dependably. This might not be the only time you work all day, but it’s your dedicated time for the work that requires concentration.
On the flip side of this, I have another tip.
When it’s not your dedicated work time, be present at home! I don’t know about you, but I don’t get to leave and go to an office every day. Okay, well, I do have an office, but it’s literally 10 steps from my dining room table. Since our work is right here in the house, it can be hard to step away.
It’s really easy to check “one more email” or write “one more blog post.” We have to acknowledge our down time. And trust me, I’m super guilty of this one. It’s easy for me to get in the zone and get “one more thing” accomplished, but when my kids need me, or my husband needs me, it really is time to step away. We all benefit from me not getting overworked and burned out, so it’s important to keep those boundaries in place and know when I can work and when I need to actually be home.
Since I do struggle with working when I shouldn’t, I find it even more important to go unplugged sometimes. When I find myself obsessing over stats or wanting to check my email one more time, I like to turn everything off and just be present in this moment. This helps me set that boundary between work and home.
I know it drives some people crazy, but it is incredibly important for me to step away from everything stressing me out and just live my life for a little while.
5. Batch Work and Automate When Possible
There is a lot to do when you’re running your own business. Whether you have an Etsy shop, a blog, or your own website, it can get overwhelming. I’ve mentioned before that I run two businesses: this blog, and my knitting business. They each have a separate set of needs and tasks that need to be accomplished daily, and if I’m honest, I couldn’t accomplish them all without being extremely organized.
One of the ways I stay organized is to batch my work. This means that I work on similar tasks together. Some of the things I can batch include:
- social media scheduling
I can actually batch these together for both businesses. So, while I’m taking pictures for my blog, I can also take the pictures I need of my knits as well. I can then edit them all at the same time, and make all of my graphics for both businesses at the same time.
Usually, I set aside one afternoon a week to schedule out a lot of my social media. I love being on social media and interacting with my customers and readers, but since each platform has it’s own “optimal time” for posting, I’d be on the computer all day if I wanted to do it all myself.
Instead, what I do is sit down and schedule everything out to post at the optimal times, and then I come back later when I have time for chatting and interact with my customers and readers then. That way, I’m only working on the computer for this once a week, rather than being online all day posting my content.
Some programs I use for automation:
Buffer: I love using buffer to schedule out my Instagram and Twitter posts. I use the free version of this platform and I’m able to schedule out posts for 2 platforms at once. They do offer the service to post to Facebook, too, but I don’t use that service.
Facebook: I don’t use another program for scheduling Facebook updates, because Facebook doesn’t want you to. I’m not actually sure if they’ve ever come out and said that, but I can tell you that my stats have made it pretty clear. I see a considerable drop in traffic when I use an outside source for scheduling my Facebook posts. Instead, I use the scheduler that is built in to my Facebook page. If you’ve never used it, all you do is write a post as normal, and then instead of hitting “post,” you hit the arrow right next to that. When you hit that arrow, you’ll see a drop-down menu with several options, including “schedule.” From there, you’ll be able to schedule your dates and times in advance.
(Funny story: I accidentally hit publish on this once I was done, so some of my readers may have actually seen this example! Don’t be like me. Don’t hit “publish.”)
BoardBooster: This is a paid feature, but there is a referral program that can help offset the costs. (That link is mine!) I use Board Booster to schedule out all of my new pins each week. I use the scheduled campaign feature for each new blog post, and I also use the pin scheduler to help trickle out the pins I find on Pinterest throughout the day (rather than have them all hit public boards at 11 pm, which is when I usually have a few minutes for Pinterest).
You Can Run a Business with Less Stress!
I’m a big believer in eliminating as much stress from your life as possible. When I tell people this, they usually have some excuse. I especially hear it a lot from my fellow mompreneurs. “I run a business, I’m always stressed!” While it’s true that depending on yourself for income can be stressful, there are ways to run a business with less stress.
How do you help eliminate stress while working from home? If you have more tips, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!