What Is the Worst Thing Entrepreneurs Have in Common?

… I’ll give you a hint. 

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Are you working day and night? Do you want this to change? …

OK, first, I want to say–sometimes you just work a lot, and this can be a season in your life and in your business. A former client of mine, Stephanie O’Dea, who runs the Year of Slow Cooking newsletter, told me that in her first year of blogging, she worked in the middle of the night so she could get stuff done. It wasn’t easy, but she also emphasized it didn’t last forever. 

And one of my clients, Becky of Cleanmama.net, started her blog while working full time. She worked day and night until 2013, when she quit to focus on the blog. Now she just works all day. 🙂 

They both inspire me because they’ve both built successful businesses by focusing and working hard. 

But what if you’re working hard and you don’t really see and end in sight? And you’re not OK with that? I have a couple of ideas.  

1. Stop saying “I can relax when…”  

I do this a lot. I think to myself, “When X happens, then I’ll know that I’ve made it and I can give myself a break.” Then I achieve X, and I a few weeks later, the confidence that comes with reaching that milestone has evaporated. I’m a mess–as unsure of myself as ever. 

I’ve heard from a lot of entrepreneurs who’ve been at it longer and have reached higher heights than I: this feeling never really goes away. Another old client, Beth Anne of Brilliant Business Moms, just talked about this on her podcast. 

And I happened to see a post from Jon Loomer, on vacation, admitting he felt guilty for not working. Jon Loomer! Successful online entrepreneur!

Don’t wait for some future state to give yourself a break. Because future you will still have moments of self-doubt. 

2. Have you thought about setting business hours? 

I know this is sacrilege for some online entrepreneurs. What about the whole flexible, I-work-when-I-want thing. 

I think it’s garbage. If you worked when you wanted, you’d work all the time. Do you remember moments in college when you constantly felt schoolwork hanging over your head? I always had reading or writing that I “should” have been doing but wasn’t. I hate this feeling. That’s why I work 10 to 5, Mon-Fri, with very few exceptions. And then I stop. It will be there tomorrow.

They don’t have to “conventional” business hours. Stephanie picked hours she stuck with. They were in the middle of the night, but they were consistent. Then, during the day, she was free to do the other things she wanted and needed to do without feeling guilty that she “should” be working. 

2a. The case for “putting your face on.”

I put my contacts in, put makeup, and wear comfortable clothes during my business hours, but I don’t wear yoga pants or my PJs when I’m working. Especially when I’m working from home. I know a lot of people relish not having to spend time on a getting-ready routine, and I admit some days I set it aside if I don’t have time. But “putting my face on” helps me set a border around my work life that I wouldn’t have otherwise, since I mostly work from my house. Which, if you’re keeping track, is the same place I sleep. I don’t know about you, but it helps to think of as many strategies as possible to keep those two things separate. 

Do you think you work too much? Does it worry you–or do you like it? 

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