How to be your own boss without working crazy hours

Being an entrepreneur means you’re often standing in your own way. You know you need 8 hours sleep a night in order to be your most efficient, productive self, but you still stay up until way past midnight browsing ASOS. Girl, I feel you.

More and more of us are quitting those 9-5s that don’t serve us and starting our own businesses. Working from home and being self-employed are often the keys to that creative freedom you’re craving, but it can be a tough balancing act.

There’s no one to tell you to put the laptop down at 5pm on the dot. It’s easy to stay up sending emails until way after everyone else has finished work for the day. I often used to find myself stressing out over something I had to do (even though I was totally in charge of when I could do it, how I could do it and what the outcome would be) 🤦🏼‍♀️

A brunette woman looking at the ocean
How to run your own business without the overwhelm even if you still work 9-5

So many creatives I know are dreaming of being entrepreneurs. They want to pursue their passion, transforming it into a business and be their own boss. But they’re afraid of two things: ‘failure’ and working themselves to the point that a mental breakdown is inevitable.

This is even harder for the side-hustle entrepreneurs. They’re working their 9-5 and coming home to spend another three or four hours working on their own businesses.

How do you run an entire business without letting it run you?

The Entrepreneur Workbook

Go through your business step by step and stop the overwork-overload cycle

    Good vibes only 

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    Step one: organise each element of your business

    You need to know every detail of your business. Who’s your target market, what’s your social media strategy, what’s the memorable information for your bank account? Find a way to organise it and stay on top of your empire.

    Read more: how to organise your social media

    Read more: how to organise your business on Trello

    Step two: set and implement working boundaries

    This step will come more easily to some than it will to others. But everyone will get to a point where having boundaries is a non-negotiable.

    Define your working hours. If you’re a full-time entrepreneur then you might want to stick to 9-5 to create a sense of ‘normal work’. But this might not be your best option. Maybe you’re a full lie-in until 9:30am sort of person. Or maybe you work with people in different time zones and your 9am is their 3am. Work it out logically, and set them in stone.

    Read more: how to find your most productive time

    Keep a level of professionalism. Don’t go setting yourself on fire just to keep others warm because you think that’s what you need to do to win the self-employed game. It’s not. Be aware of when it feels like you’re taking too much on. Also be aware of when it feels like people are asking too much of you. That’ll happen a lot, and it’s up to you to make sure it doesn’t happen.

    Step three: automate elements of your business

    Hold up, I’m not talking about automating your ENTIRE business (panic over). But there are big chunks of it you can automate easily, and will save you a tonne of time.

    Automating your social media content by scheduling it advance will allow you to maintain growth for your business but also not hold you to account every single second. Find out how to do it here.

    Automating your email marketing content means you can nurture your audience, create new leads and not be chained to it either. ConvertKit is my go-to. I’ve used it to create a nurturing email sequence that doesn’t sound sales-ey which gets sent to every person who joins my mailing list without me having to do anything. They also run an amazing ambassador program, so you get a 30% commission whenever you refer someone to ConvertKit (just like I’m doing now).

    Read more: get 30% commission from ConvertKit

    Free-spirited babes

    Step four: establish a regular self-care routine

    Being a balanced entrepreneur doesn’t mean working eight hours and watching TV for four. Instead, the balanced entrepreneur has a varied range of interests and activities. Because after all, running your own business and setting your own hours are a waste if you don’t enjoy the little perks 🎉 My personal fav is going to popular tourist sites when they’re quietest.

    Self care is a big part of maintaining your health (which is crucial) and restoring a level of sanity that can get lost if you’re having a bad day.

    Having a cup of tea, enjoying a bath, going for a walk can all benefit the busy entrepreneur’s mind, body and soul. Establish a routine to make sure you’re taking time out for yourself on a regular basis. You won’t get to the level of stress that a lot of business-owners get to and you also won’t drive yourself crazy and wonder why you started this in the first place.

    Step five: meet up with fellow entrepreneurs

    Don’t neglect social activities. I know a lot of people think entrepreneur life, being your own boss and working from home revolves around looking stressed and being glued to your laptop. I also know some people think it involves lounging around in pyjamas. The truly dedicated entrepreneur will do both at the same time. Not to depress you, but that’s completely the wrong thing to do.

    It’s important to have regular social activities (not so you become unstuck for your laptop or wear proper clothes for one evening a week). Meeting up with family and friends will remind you what’s really important. Meeting up with other entrepreneurs will inspire you and help you to feel supported.

    Bonus step: put your phone on do not disturb

    You could also change the settings in your phone so you don’t get a notification every time you get an email. Whatever you want to do, make sure you do this once a day.

    For example, if you’ve set your cut off time to stop work at 7pm, put your phone on do not disturb and leave it like that until the next day.

    I no longer get a notification on any of my devices for emails and, four months later, I still feel a lot freer. No quick panic whenever I hear that I’ve got an email.

    Not only does this help lower stress levels, it also aids concentration. No distracting notifications means a much better chance of actually getting a task done properly.

    How to stay on top of your business and still have a life outside of it

    1. Organise each element of your business

    2. Set and implement working boundaries to

    3. Automate elements of your business

    4. Establish a regular self care routine

    5. Meet up with fellow entrepreneurs

    6. Bonus Step: Put your phone on do not disturb

    Okay I know that was a lot of info but this will prevent the overwork-overload cycle I’ve seen a lot of entrepreneurs fall into. This system will set you and your business up for success, and you’ll be able to scale it as your business grows.

    Take some time to get to the nitty gritty of your business with the workbook designed for entrepreneurs looking for the better way.


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