Being a solopreneur is exciting and empowering, but it can often feel draining. Because you’re starting a company by yourself, you’re often forced to wear many different hats to manage all parts of the business before you can hire any staff.
Constantly moving from one task to a very different one can leave you feeling stretched too thin and working longer hours than you’d anticipated. But even without a staff dedicated to helping you control the many moving parts, there are ways you can manage your energy and avoid burnout.
To help you do this, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members share their best advice for “doing it all” as a solo business owner.
1. Divide Your Day Into Segments
When you are a solopreneur, you tend to spend most of your time and energy sorting out operational issues. While sorting them out is a priority for the smooth running of your business, at the end of the day, it results in money and time being spent. I would recommend dividing the day into two halves, with the first half being dedicated to sales and only bringing money into the business. Really, 99% of problems can be solved if a business has money coming in. The second half of the day should be further divided into five segments: marketing, finance, operations (including government work), HR and personal. These five segments are essential components of your business, but they drain your energy. Having some time for personal work is also necessary because that usually takes the least priority. – Kripa Shroff, AK Multinational LLC
2. Automate Certain Tasks
When you’re a solopreneur, you wear several hats. You take on the role of the customer service representative, the salesperson, the lead coder and so many more, all at the same time. But managing everything on your own isn’t easy. To make things easier and more efficient, you should definitely try out apps and systems available online that help you automate your tasks. That way, you can save a lot of your time and can use it to focus on tasks that truly matter. – Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite
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3. Clock Enough Hours Of Sleep
Entrepreneurs must prioritize their physical and mental health. If you’re not at the top of your game, your results will be negatively affected. Many entrepreneurs try to do it all, which requires enough time in the day to get everything done. Sleep is the first thing they cut out of the schedule to make more time. That’s a big mistake. Sleep is crucial to let your mind and body recuperate and regenerate. Do a quick search online and see how much sleep a person of your age should be getting in order to feel (and work) their best. Most entrepreneurs don’t get enough. Try improving your sleep habits for a week and see how different you feel—more energized, more productive and happier. Your business and your life as an entrepreneur will improve. – Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com
4. Dispose, Decrease And Delegate Your Time
Wherever you direct your attention, you direct your energy and ultimately your life. The most common problem for solopreneurs is when they divert attention away from something useful, they don’t get their time back. Plus, as they grow, the demand for their attention does too, which dilutes their focus on higher ROI activities. There is a steep cost in an attention economy, so creating awareness around where it is allocated becomes a premiere skill to acquire. An efficacious approach is to divert resources away from wrong items before refocusing on the right ones. To earn back attention, identify components of your routine and see if you can 1. dispose, 2. decrease and 3. delegate to better leverage your time. Often, the most practical first step is to not do something. – Michael Ranfone, Ranfone Performance Consulting
5. Be Intentional With Your Focus
Being a solo founder is tough. The No. 1 thing that requires your attention is your focus. Most startups die not because the founder hasn’t been working hard, but because they are everywhere, working on the wrong things. Be extremely intentional about where you want to spend your time. In an early-stage startup, the founder should eliminate distractions. In a late-stage startup, they should delegate the job to someone else. The key to maintaining laser focus also comes from being disciplined about your personal habits. A startup is usually an extension of the founder. So, having a good sleep schedule and exercise routine goes a long way. It keeps you energetic and resilient and allows you to carve out time to give your full attention to the things that need it the most. – Brent Liang, Fractal
6. Start With Small, Quick Tasks
One practical tip is to finish all the tasks that you can carry out in five minutes or less, whether it’s to do with admin work, marketing, personal tasks or anything else. One of the reasons why solopreneurs get burned out is that they have a million tasks to accomplish. It’s draining just to realize how much they have to do. Listing and knocking out all short tasks first helps you save both energy and time. There are powerful psychological effects that occur when you get rid of small and easy tasks. You feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when you get a few jobs out of the way. You’ll also realize in a deeper sense that hewing down a mountain of tasks is possible one inch at a time. Start with small, quick tasks and you’ll find enough energy to accomplish everything. – Blair Williams, MemberPress
7. Take Time Off
One tip I would give solopreneurs is to take some time for themselves several times throughout the year. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of a business, but if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to do anything else because you’ll burn out. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
8. Remember Why You’re Doing It
It’s so easy in the startup phase of a company to get bogged down by the amount of work or to feel discouraged. That’s why, when you’re first building your business, it’s important to stay focused on the end goal and trust that, eventually, you will have help and it won’t always be just on you. Taking care of yourself, finding ways to stay motivated and trusting the process are all imperative. – Nic DeAngelo, Saint Investment Group