The main reason I wanted to run my own business was so that I could add flexibility into my life. I also frequently ask my market why they want to run their own business and I get the same answer.
The problem is I also hear of many business owners who don’t have flexibility. I hear stories of burnout and working 24/7. This makes me wonder what the point is of people going into business for themselves.
The truth is we’re hard-wired to believe that making money is difficult and requires all of our attention. Because of this, businesses owners need to consciously add flexibility into their schedules. Here’s how.
Set boundaries from the beginning.
When I first quit my job to work for myself, I made the conscious decision that I would only work half-days on Fridays. I set this as a goal from the beginning.
Quite frankly, between my job, classes and a side business I’d been working 24/7 for a couple of years and I was over it. I also didn’t want to fall into the bad habit of always working.
Does this mean I didn’t have weeks where I was working a lot? Of course not. Launches, travel and life happen. It just means I make the conscious effort to set boundaries and give myself a break.
In addition to not setting boundaries, I find that many business owners also fail to plan ahead. For example, I knew I would be traveling to two conferences within three weeks. I also knew my roommate’s sister would be in town for the week in between for a major food festival.
This means I planned ahead of time. I assumed I wouldn’t be fully present for work for about three weeks. I got plenty of work done ahead of time as a result.
It’s a good thing I did too because, just as I suspected, not only was I traveling but I also played tour guide for a couple of days. The reason I was able to do this was that I planned it out so well.
Granted, being able to plan ahead effectively comes with more experience. You will get better at it as time goes on.
Set the right pricing structure.
Another reason I’m able to add flexibility into my day (sometimes on a whim) is because I’ve priced my services accordingly.
For instance, I recently had a client ask if I could take on a quick project. Because I knew I would be traveling I said no. That’s partially because my bills are already paid due to the pricing structure I have for other services.
If you’re less worried about money, you can more easily add flexibility into your day. Another way of doing this is to create multiple streams of income. I have payments coming in from consulting, affiliate sales, product sales and writing. Again, this takes time to create, but it’s well worth it if flexibility matters to you.
The ability to add flexibility into your day depends entirely on you. If flexibility matters to you, then you consciously need to make the decisions that will help you have it.