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Tag: "work/life balance"

Myth of the Solo Entrepreneur

Myth of the Solo EntrepreneurThere is a prevalent myth in our society that an entrepreneur is a lone wolf who operates on his or her wits and doesn’t need a team to succeed.

Like all myths it’s very far from the truth.

Any entrepreneur who tries to do it all alone is likely to learn the hard way that regardless of how talented or clever you are, there are simply not enough hours in the day for you to succeed when you are working totally alone.

Like all myths the assumptions surrounding entrepreneurs are largely unspoken and so can lodge themselves in your subconscious, just waiting to trip you over. They include:

• ‘Real entrepreneurs’ just do it.
RESULT: If you can’t do it alone, you must be inadequate.

• ‘Real entrepreneurs’ instinctively know how to succeed
RESULT: You can’t ask for help without losing face.

• ‘Real entrepreneurs’ are supermen /superwomen.
RESULT: If you are an entrepreneur you must be the best at everything you do. This is particularly damaging for entrepreneurs who are also hands on parents, such as mumpreneurs – the pressure to be the best in both areas can be incredibly destructive.

• ‘Real entrepreneurs’ work alone 24/7 for years to succeed, and may fail many times before they succeed.
RESULT: Overworking and poverty are almost carried as a badge of honour, and it’s still seen as somehow suspect to not work at least 6 days a week and late into the evening.

• ‘Real entrepreneurs’ are always on their mobiles, wheeling and dealing, never missing a chance.
RESULT: You must always be available, on the end of the phone or email, day or night.

The reality is that everyone has particular strengths in some areas and weaknesses in others, and by working within a team you balance each other out to create a strong ‘whole’. Solos are inherently weak, and by working in a team you can also achieve a good work/life balance more easily, something that is essential not just for you, but for the health and wellbeing of the people around you.

Teamwork will also help you avoid burn out, one of the greatest (and unspoken) issues facing entrepreneurs. Burn out occurs when you push yourself too hard without adequate downtime, and can lead to a number of problems, including poor judgment, low productivity, and developing an aversion to your business, which is obviously very bad for you, your business AND your reputation.

So, the myths that entrepreneurs fly solo, overwork by inclination, and are ‘superbeings’ are very bad for your health and your longterm prosperity if you buy into them – you have been warned!

Written for The Coaching Academy, 2010

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Your Family and Other Animals

Let’s be honest. While most women who work from home or run their own businesses around their families wouldn’t have it any other way, many find that their families, the very reason they are working from home in many instances, can be less than wonderful at times.

Most WAHMs cite the flexibility, the sense of achievement, the control of one’s destiny, and the ability to get close to a happy life/work balance at least sometimes as bonuses they couldn’t live without. Their family, however, is sometimes quite another matter!

So why is this?
Isn’t it supposed to be the answer to everyone’s prayers? Didn’t you decide to work from home so you could spend more time with the family?

Yes, obviously, and most of the time it is. However, sometimes, just sometimes, there is a degree of everyone else taking the working mum for granted creeping in. Perhaps it’s one too many request to ‘pick up that’ or deal with that that can make the WAHM feel like she isn’t actually a working person per se, let alone a business woman, more a glorified housekeeper. Mind you, that’s a scenerio that is hardly unique to WAHMs, but it can be magnified when work and life is in one basket with sometimes not even a closeable door  betwee them.

Maybe a child, partner or other live in relative may start feeling neglected because your attention is on a client, a report, a telephone call or an important email, rather than them, regardless of whether it’s the 30th time they’re interrupted you that morning.

Sometimes I hear tantrums have been thrown. Heck, sometimes I even throw them myself!

So why does it happen?
I mean, aren’t you providing a valuable service to the household budget, perhaps the only contribution to the household budget? Didn’t you talk about it in great detail before you started? Didn’t everyone promise they’d be supportive? Ahhh, well, disregard the lip service because what we’re talking about here is either a lack of consistent boundaries or deep held belief that are stopping them respecting those boundaries.

Setting boundaries
Difficult as this is for some people to do, it’s actually beneficial for you and your family to have set boundaries and to have theem consistently applied. In fact, it’s pretty much impossible for you to be successful as a WAHM if you don’t because there is no boss or manager fighting your corner saying “no, you can’t interrupt her at the moment, she’s busy on an important call” – there’s just you.

Having people trample all over you and your feelings is a fast track to making yourself stressed, overloaded and miserable, so if you’ve never been very good at being assertive, now would be a good time to learn how.

Deep held beliefs
These are beliefs adults hold from a very early age that may have no bearing on reality or that person’s actual life as it is now. We all have them to varying degrees and they can pop up in strange situations or show up as completely out of character. Most of the time people aren’t aware they hold them, and depending on who is acting out they could be along the lines of “my time is more important than you”, “mum doesn’t mind”, or perhaps “working at home isn’t really working,” or maybe “women are there to serve their husbands, just like my mum was”.

It can even be your own deep belief that’s doing the sabotaging. Perhaps you don’t believe you can do, or think you are not entitled to be rich and/or successful. Perhaps secretly you’d much rather not being doing this and so let everything else get in the way so it all falls around your ears. Perhaps you simply can’t bring yourself to say no!

So what to do about it?

Dealing with your family – and other animals
• Be assertive – stop saying yes all the time and start saying no occasionally – and mean it, whether that’s to the kitten, the kids or your partner.

Set boundaries – perhaps you claim an undisturbed hour every day, when the door is going to be shut and no one can interrupt unless it’s a life or death emergency.

Believe in yourself – You want to do this, you can do this, you just need time and space to do it in, so don’t let that little voice allow you to be so distractable you can point at the family at a future point and say “I could have succeeded if it wasn’t for them”.

Deal with unhelpful deep beliefs – sometimes just having a think about your patterns of behaviour and talking it over with your closest and dearest is enough. Other times you might want to use the services of a life coach. Whichever route you follow, however, it’s worth doing – as I know to my cost, some of these unconscious beliefs can keep you poor and overstressed for years.

© Claire Burdett. Please only reproduce this article with permission, in its entirety and with a hyperlink to www.claireburdett.com. Thank you.

First published on www.funkyangel.co.uk, the ultimate lifestyle website for WAHM and Home Businesses.

Other Related Articles

‘Work/life balance for CEOs’ – published in ‘1,000 CEOs’ by Dorling Kindersley, 2009

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