My story starts when I was in my mid -twenties. I had just quit my full-time job with the hopes of starting a business of my own. Working for someone else wasn’t fulfilling for me. I longed to be my own boss, working on things that I wanted to be working on.
My first go at entrepreneurship was making handmade earrings and trying to sell them online. I was excited to pursue this, but didn’t have a clue of how to go about it. I was infatuated with the concept of the scrappy entrepreneur – the one who stays up until 2am every night, working 16-hour days to get their business up and running. I thought this was how to do it, but in the end, I didn’t realize the toll it would take on my mental and physical health. It only left me burnt out and the business fell to the wayside.
After this venture, I decided to pivot to becoming a self-employed handyman. With this, I had found my niche. Learning my lesson from the first venture, I embarked on a self -improvement journey while I built up my business. I was still working a lot, but was taking better care of myself. I was ambitious and worked to keep my priorities in order.
In the handyman business, the work is seasonal – as it is in many other types of businesses. Knowing this, I experimented with my work schedule. I started by maintaining a good balance between working on the business and on myself. This proved to be effective. I was happier and my business was growing at the same time.
Somewhere along the line, my priorities got mixed up and eventually I tried out a different schedule design. With this one, I figured I’d work as hard as I could during the busy months (which consisted of spring, summer, and fall) with the intention of making more money, then take a couple months off in the winter.
I thought this sounded great. I could go all-out for several months and then I’d have time in the slow months to catch up with myself and my business. This proved to be the wrong approach. After working nonstop without keeping the other areas of my life balanced, I picked up bad habits and worried excessively over trivial things.
From this, I was stressed and burnt-out to say the least. Yes, I increased my bottom line at the end of the year, but I was overworked and my quality of life suffered. I learned for the second time that mismanaging myself is a surefire way to lead to burn-out and unhappiness. This all changed when I made the shift back to keeping up with improving myself and my business during the busy season.
The famous quote “a rising tide lifts all boats” holds true. By consistently taking care of yourself, all the other areas of your life improve as well. For me, my business, relationships, and mental health all improved when I put this into practice. It wasn’t worth putting off self-improvement to make more money. As the late, great Stephen Covey intimated, it is how well we take care of ourselves that allows us to work at our best.
You see, success is all about upward momentum. Momentum is achieved through sticking to positive, supportive habits day after day. It is through this philosophy that I developed the idea for this website. Having experienced the harsh effects of burnout myself, I want to share what I’ve learned with other business owners so they can be happier and more effective. The very fact that you went out on your own and took the risk to start a business was to have freedom while doing something you love. What good is it if you’re overworked and miserable?
As a solo business owner, I know the struggles that many of us face including:
• Dealing with loneliness
• Having to do everything ourselves (especially the parts we dislike doing)
• Being overwhelmed by the amount of decisions we make and the uncertainty that accompanies those decisions
• Having trouble unplugging from “work mode”
• Where to focus our attention
I’ve dealt with all of these problems myself, and over time, have found ways to mitigate and completely remove some of them. I am deeply passionate about improving myself and am inspired by the direct impact this has had on my business performance. I want to share this with others so they, too, can be effective in their businesses and in their lives.
If you’re ready to go on this journey with me and find your Upward Self, let’s do it!