Do you ever have days when you wonder how you’re going to get it all done? Maybe you’re a mum who’s building a business around her young children. Maybe you’re in a 9-5 job and want to start a business on the side. Or maybe you are someone with other responsibilities, which mean that the time you can dedicate to your business is really limited. So how do you make it all work? How do you run an online business when you’re spread really thin?
Getting things done.
In episode 013 of The Business Club for Grown Ups podcast, I interviewed my friend and fellow podcaster, Lisa York. Lisa is a military wife, a mum of four primary-school-aged children, a podcaster and an online business owner. If Lisa can fit it all in, it feels like most of us should too! So how do we balance all the things we need to do in our businesses and in our lives and remain sane in the process? Personally, I know that it can feel like a huge challenge sometimes. Lisa and I may be both mums running businesses alongside our families, but a lot of my clients in different circumstances experience this sense of overwhelm sometimes. We all have a lot of our plates!
Running a business around the multitude of things we’re already doing in our lives, isn’t always easy. And if we want to succeed in this space we need to adopt the right mindset. So here are some of the top tips I’d like to share with you at the back of my interview with Lisa.
Build a business that fits around your life, not the other way round.
When Lisa started her podcast (around 18 months ago at the time of our recording), she decided not to monetise it straight away. Why? Because she had young children at home that demanded more of her time and attention. So she used the time she had to learn, experiment, practise, and get better at the craft. She made connections, built relationships, and created an audience that would buy from her when she launched her first paid product. The podcast acted as a momentum- and audience-builder for Lisa. It grew organically, slowly, and incrementally while Lisa worked around her young children and other family commitments in the pockets of time she had available.
So be honest about the amount of time you have available in this phase of your life. Perhaps more time will open up in the future – when your children get a bit older, or when you can reduce the hours you work in your job, for example. With more time available, you’ll be able to say yes to more opportunities, use your time in new ways, and maybe even take your business in a different direction. Lisa adjusted her pace – she went slowly when her life required her to go slowly. And as result, she was able to build with limited time and limited stress! A business that worked around her lifestyle.
Make your time count.
If you’ve been listening to my podcast or have been reading my blog, you’ll know I feel quite passionate about this topic. You will have heard me mention that when I was pregnant with my second son, and after he was born, I decided to scale my business down and only work six hours a month. I made the very conscious decision to focus on serving the clients I already had and make my work fit around my life. With little time available to work on my business I decided to focus on one main goal and work towards that. I became much more productive as a result, and I was able to achieve more than I would have done by trying to cover all basis at once. So my top tip is this. When you’re pressed for time, aim for one thing, and do that one thing really effectively.
Being time-limited can be a huge advantage in your business. So be laser-focused on what’s important and let go of what isn’t. Of course, it’s important to be strategic and keep an eye out for what you want out of your business going forward, but don’t forget to always zoom back in (rein yourself in if you have to), and focus on what you’re doing right now. It may mean saying no to opportunities that aren’t right for our business at the moment.
Focus on the building the foundations first.
I love this piece of advice that Lisa shared during our interview. Become laser-focused on your core goals goes hand in hand with building the foundations of your business first. If you have a young family or are still in your job, your time may be limited now. But remember that it may open up later, and with time will come different circumstances and new opportunities. So bow down to where you are in life at the moment and focus on the building blocks that will make your business a strong one. While sometimes you may feel overwhelmed or disheartened thinking about where you are vs where you want to go, eventually you’ll look back and realise how far you’ve come just by taking tiny incremental steps along the way.
Build your business with your audience, not in isolation.
When Lisa built her online membership programme, she did it together with her audience. She had an idea of what she wanted out of her membership, so she reached out to her podcast listeners and asked for input and feedback. She did that before creating a huge amount of content that may not be a right fit for her audience. Sometimes in business, you can’t predict how your audience will receive a product or a service until you launch it.
While this is something extremely hard for some of us to do, at times you just have to be brave. You have to jump in (even before you feel 100% ready to), and let some of the answers come to you along the way. If something isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough, put it out in the world for people to see and engage with. You may be surprised to see where things may lead you.
Get out of your own way.
Have you ever caught yourself talking yourself out of something? As business owners often being the only ones making all the decisions, it’s way too easy to make excuses for not doing things sometimes. But the real reason behind all these excuses is that we feel scared. When we push ourselves out of our comfort zones, sometimes we panic. And we opt for the path that feels easier and less uncomfortable.
But sometimes being vulnerable is just what we need. This is what I did when I scaled my business down. Back then, with so much going on in my life, I didn’t have time to worry about how things may or may not go. I had to turn down the volume on that really critical voice that we all have. The voice that is trying to keep us safe and stop us from doing things which feel high risk. And it paid off.
Exclusive guest content for The Business Club for Grown Up.
Building a business and a life that you love is possible. You can have a business that works for you, your circumstances, and your lifestyle. This is something I’m really passionate about and help my clients work towards and achieve. Of course, it doesn’t mean that the balance will always be perfect. There are always going to be days when you feel tired, stressed, or overwhelmed. But you can get to a point where all the pieces of your life tie in and work together. So if you haven’t already, don’t forget to listen to my Lisa’s interview.
Lisa was my special guest for November, and we dived deeper into the topics of:
- time management;
- the practicalities of running our businesses and our families;
- how to manage our mental load;
- and how and when to outsource and delegate so we don’t overload ourselves at the detriment of our families.
We created a module on these topics exclusively for the members of The Business Club for Grown Ups. If you’re interested in this module and would like to join the Club, you can apply here. And if you’re not sure whether my membership is right for you, just contact me, and I’d be happy to tell you more.