When starting up a new business, we’re often competing with other life priorities - working a full time job, taking care of the kids and the household and a slew of other jobs - and it’s difficult to feel like you’re making any progress at all, let alone calling yourself an entrepreneur. It can be a very lonely place, especially when you’re turning down evenings out with friends in lieu of working on your sales funnel. But this is a choice you’ve made to create a better life for yourself and your family and to start turning your dreams into a reality.
So, what are the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face when starting up a new business?
As a new business owner myself (and a user researcher,) I’m always asking my friends and my community of peers what challenges they face and what has been their best strategy or tool for moving forward and staying positive. I’ve also confirmed my findings with a great piece of research conducted by Drip, 2017 Entrepreneurship Report.
Unsurprisingly, it corresponds to what my friends are already saying about their struggles:
- Not having enough time
- Feeling isolated and lonely
- Lacking clarity and focus
- Feeling overwhelmed
So, what are some time-saving strategies that allow us to spend more time with the families we’re working to support and help us feel like we’re making progress with our business?
Strategy 1: Calendaring and clearing
One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face is not having enough time. While there’s nothing we can do about the length of time we have in each day, we can prioritise what we do with that time.
Prioritising tasks allows us to focus on the important things and push aside or remove the rest of the noise that’s getting in our way.
- Unsubscribe from the noise
Unsubscribe from all those newsletters and retail emails that don’t serve you, but instead clog up your inbox. You'll be surprised by how much this reduces your inbox traffic and the time it takes to go through your daily email.
- Block out time in your calendar
As well as blocking out time for working on your business, start blocking out time for date night with your honey, rejuvenation time for yourself and time to do nothing. If you don’t schedule it, you won’t take action.
Strategy 2: Join a community and find 3 business buddies
To alleviate that feeling of isolation and loneliness, find a community or two to be part of. As a mother, I recognise how lonely that role can be, especially the first couple of years. Add starting a business on top of that can become very isolating. There are groups out there for everything. Try finding one that fits your particular needs. And participate. Comment. Like. Share. Be part of the community, not just an observer.
Find yourself 3 business buddies and stay accountable to each other. With just one, its easy to let things slide - for both of you - but with three, there’s no easy way out of showing up and following through. Its then you really step up and stay accountable for what you said you’d do. I have one business buddy in my yoga community, one in my mummies-who-run-businesses community and one is an old friend who’s starting her own business. As well as being accountable, you support each other, learn from each other and grow together.
Strategy 3. Finding clarity and focus
Start with a main idea in the middle and work outwards from there. It’s a great way to brainstorm ideas and start to really drill down into the details. Its then much easier to prioritise the tasks based on the criteria you choose: the amount of things you need to do in order to complete that task, the amount of time it will take to get it done, or the amount of money it might take to complete it.
Strategy 4: Celebrate the little wins
Feeling overwhelmed by so many tasks can sometimes cause us to stop dead in our tracks. Start keeping a Weekly Wins journal and see how quickly your bite-sized tasks grow into massive accomplishments.
Focus on what you have accomplished for the week rather than getting bogged down in daily tasks that you never get completed. They might include events you’ve attended, people you’ve contacted or exercise and meditation you’ve completed. Each week you’ll look back and be proud of (and surprised at) what you’ve accomplished. When my email list went from 4 people to 16, I celebrated the 400% increase, instead of seeing my list only grow by 12 people.
Ultimately, it is passion and dedication that keeps us going for our dreams. My new friend sums it us best:
Takeaway strategies for juggling life as an entrepreneur:
To create time-saving strategies that clarify your focus and move you forward, follow these simple tricks:
- Unsubscribe from the noise in your inbox
- Block out time in your calendar
- Join a community and find 3 business buddies
- Create a vision board and use mind maps to get clarity and focus
- And finally, celebrate the little wins
I hope these strategies help you move through some of the challenges you may face as an entrepreneur and keep you inspired.
What are some strategies that allow YOU to spend more time with your family and begin to live your dreams? Share in the comments below, as I’d love to hear about them!