How to run a (or multiple) business(es)? And stay sane & in tune... by WIllemijn Laan

More and more people are starting their own businesses. I believe this is the time when there are more freelancers and small business owners than ever before.

Being a business coach, this is right up my alley. I love business. I call myself a business enthusiast. Whenever someone tells me their business idea I generally feel equally as excited as they are about it themselves and I usually feel a lot of optimism and energy to make it work! Even though it’s not my business… ;-).

I just love creating, making something from scratch, and seeing it evolve. 

This has been the reason that I have had multiple businesses over the course of 12 years. Some at the same time. I’ve started some and ended some as well. I’m multi-interested and can see potential in a lot of things. But it can also happen that after a while of running a business, I want to downscale, combine one business with the other because I see it growing closer together, or completely stop something that I feel costs too much energy and is going (financially) too slow. 

But running all these businesses (also if you have one business or are in a demanding job!) can cause a lot of overwhelm, potential stress, and fear, and can easily drain your energy if all the above is not right.

That’s why I want to share some of the tips that I’ve seen working many times before. In my own life, but also with other entrepreneurs:

  • Start your days preferably doing something creatively. Giving yourself the joy to do what makes your energy flow in your business instead of diving in your email. messages and daily operations stuff as the first thing you do. Create, write, work on strategics, do yoga, dance and write down everything that comes up in your mind. Keep the operational stuff out of sight.
  • Prepare your days. Make a planning/to-do list at the beginning of the day with things that really need to be done that day. Don’t make it longer than 3-5 activities long. Go back to this list during the day if you get distracted or overwhelmed.
  • Ask yourself at the beginning of the day what could upset you or trip you up that day and already prepare yourself with how you will handle that situation.
  • Be honest about planning for yourself. Rather make a plan that has more time than needed instead of trying to make it all work in not enough time. Whenever you have time ‘left’ do something fun with it.
  • Be honest about planning with your clients and co-workers. Honesty is the way to go. Rather deliver something faster than promised than having to ask for more time. Working on expectation management towards clients and customers will definitely lower your stress levels and give you higher customer satisfaction.
  • Don’t try to do everything yourself! Don’t think that because it’s your business you should know and do it all. Let others do what they are good at and get energy from. And let go of the stuff that you’re not (so) good at or doesn’t give you energy. Focus your energy mainly on the things that bring you joy as much as possible.
  • Celebrate your successes. Even the small ones. It is easy to focus on everything that still needs to be done or could have gone better. But success is actually why you’re doing all the hard work. Small and large. Giving attention to success also gives you a better night’s sleep.
  • Regularly check in with yourself if what you’re working on is still what you want to be working on. Don’t be afraid to be really honest with yourself about how you feel and to let go of projects or even a whole business if it makes you feel trapped after trying ‘everything’ to make it work. Ending something that is not serving you on a financial or personal level is a super strong and brave thing to do and is definitely not a failure.  

Mainly everything comes down to being open and honest about how you feel, focusing on moving in a direction that is energy-giving and keeping an overview of what needs to be done… This usually sounds easier than it is and needs a lot of practice for a lot of us. But the end result is experiencing less overwhelm and more energy. 



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