Leaving the corporate world means ditching those stressed-out long nights and enjoying life more, right?
How’s that working out for you?
There’s no shortage of overstressed, sleep-deprived entrepreneurs. Building a company is an uphill battle; it takes time, energy, motivation, persistence, and a little bit of luck. There’s no clock-in and clock-out times, five o’clock “close-of-business” and no one to tell you where your work life ends and where your personal life begins.
But you didn’t start a company just to start looking like Teen Wolf with your blood-shot eyes and stubble-ridden face. Besides, nobody wants to hire or work with another burnt out entrepreneur anyway.
You started a company because you’re full of passion and excitement and because people can’t help but be swept up in your spiel.
You started a company because you’ve got something so special to offer the world that you couldn’t suppress it any longer.
So why burn yourself out before you can share it?
Being an entrepreneur means you set your own rules. You decide when and how you’re going to work, who you’ll work with and who you won’t, what you’ll charge and what you’ll need. For the heck of it, let’s call these rules “boundaries.”
Setting boundaries is one of the most important things you can do as an entrepreneur. It’s your rules of engagement. The limits of what you think you deserve. The blueprint for the life you want to live.
Don’t want to work past five? Don’t want to work with that jerk? No problem. You don’t have to. You’re the one who decides.
Yeah, yeah. Let me guess. You can’t do that. You can’t be discriminating about whom you work with. You just need customers.
I don’t buy it. You’re setting boundaries all the time. You just might not be conscious of it.
You may be willing to take the customer call until 11pm, but you aren’t willing to put up sexual harassment. Or you may be willing to work yourself to the bone, but you’ll take off time for a family emergency.
These are boundaries. These are the limits you won’t cross.
These are the parameters for the life you want and think you deserve.
What you charge, who you work with, and how late you’re willing to work says a lot more about what you think of your work than what anyone else thinks.
People generally tend to follow suit. They’ll listen to you if you tell them you don’t work past 6pm. They’ll listen to you if you charge more than the next guy because you really can deliver a superior product.
Want to avoid entrepreneurial burn out? Set aside two hours every day for personal time. Maybe you choose to spend it surprising your significant other with a home-cooked meal. Maybe joining a soccer league is more your thing. Or maybe just listening to music and taking a break from work will do.
Whatever you choose just schedule two hours into your day for yourself and fight for its place on your calendar as ardently as if it were a customer meeting.
When you set boundaries, you give yourself focus. You set a clear intention and narrow down how you’re going to get there. You sign out of Facebook because you’ve got to finish your work in the next two hours.
Listen: work your butt off. Be persistent. Stay motivated. Just do it within the confines of your boundaries. Know exactly what you want and how far you’re willing to go to get it.
You became an entrepreneur so you could be the one making the rules.
So start making them.
Image credit: CC by p.Gordon