When you work for a large corporation your have departments, or at least contact people, for several business functions. Human Resources. Accounting. Marketing. Sales. R&D. As a 1-person business, you are managing all of these business functions yourself. If you haven't asked yourself how you are maintaining your sanity, you're probably either lucky or unaware of some of what needs to be done.
One of the reasons that being a business of one is so challenging is that you have to wear all of the hats, spin all of the plates, juggle all of the rings. There is no one else to pick up the slack when you want or need a day off. And this doesn't address work-life harmony, having a significant other, family, friendships, or recreation! So, here are some tips for how to survive as a self-employed entrepreneurial army of one.
Focus on what you are best at and devise a plan for the rest. No one is great at everything, so take a self assessment of where your strengths lie and figure out where you are worst. You have to address your weaknesses with a plan. You can hire other people to do these functions either as employees, or independent contractors. An example, I adore my accountant, Michael! While I am able to handle finance and know quite a bit about tax law, I am not an expert. Thankfully, he is! When I calculate the amount of my time spent dealing with taxes, the ROI is clearly in favor of hiring a professional.
No, really. What are you best at? Are you horrible at face-to-face networking? Maybe you're an introvert and this isn't your strong suit. It's okay! Own it! And then hire someone who enjoys networking to help you out or partner with another business person who can help. Do you have a marketing background on the creative side, but no idea how to close a sale? Hire a sales person, or complete sales training so you can understand the relationship between marketing and sales.
Take time for self care. I was on a webinar with Colorado Springs SHRM recently where this was a hot topic. Companies large and small are finding ways to address burnout. With so many more employees working remotely and with flex schedules, they are often having challenges with finding time for themselves. For business owners, this is a constant challenge. The laptop is always there and there is constant work to be done. There's a big "but" here though. BUT, you will be more productive and have better cognitive function if you take care of yourself. It's true and backed by research, not my opinion. (check out this article from Forbes)
Get organized. Sometimes planning time can seem like it's time wasted, however being organized and structured in your daily tasks can drastically improve your ability to get things done. Set aside an hour weekly to attack your planning. Some small business owners prefer to do this Sunday evening before a Monday workweek. Other businesses, which are busier on weekends (think restaurants, recreation, bars, etc.) may find that a different day of the week works better. Regardless of when you do it, make sure you commit to weekly organization.
Outsourcing. If you have the resources, you may want to consider outsourcing to a firm that does part of your job for you. This could be a digital marketing firm, a business planner, a bookkeeper, or any facet of your business that you simply do not have time for, desire to do, or expertise in. There is no shame in asking for help and collaborating with other small businesses. In fact, it can work well for you in terms of cross-referrals.
One of the key points in our mission is the desire to make small business ownership easier on the owners and managers. We hope these tips help. Otherwise, if you have more specific needs, please contact us for a consultation so we can learn about your business and how to best assist you.