Dealing with Bad Days
Everyone and every business has bad days — they're inevitable. How you react to a bad day makes a huge difference, however. If you can keep the day in perspective, knowing that it'll pass and that things will improve, the bad days will be less likely to overwhelm you. Otherwise, you'll be left wondering if, perhaps, paid employment really is the answer.
One of the best ways to deal with bad days is to leave the office completely if you can or at least to take a break in some way even if it's ordering pizza for dinner or taking yourself out for a walk or a coffee. If you're losing your motivation, sense of humor, or coping strategies, it's a sure sign that sticking around the office is a bad idea and in fact might just make the problem worse.
You're producing the product, you're marketing it, you're selling it to the customer, and you're accounting for it. That's a lot to juggle at once. It's also easy to become a victim of your own success — being in demand is a compliment to the quality of your goods or services. But if you're running out of inventory or all of your clients are calling at once, the fast pace becomes increasingly stressful.
You need to recognize how you react to bad days. Do you become a workaholic, refusing to leave the office until the problem is solved? Or do you tend to “shut down” and become less efficient? Neither reaction is likely to be productive in the long run.
If you can feel the panic mounting, stop what you're doing. Sit down, make a list of everything that you need to do and when it needs to be done by and prioritize the list. If some of the projects are huge, and seem impossible, break them down into small, manageable chunks. If you're still left with a to-do list that outstrips the time you have available, call in help — maybe it's time to find a bookkeeper, for example, or an administrative assistant who can handle the filing.
With all the motivation in the world, running a home-based business can still be a lonely endeavor. You might go days without leaving your property or seeing another person outside your immediate family, especially when you're in a busy period. Even if you're seeing employees or customers, the arm's-length relationship might not provide you with enough social interaction.
The solutions are fairly simple, but they take a conscious effort on your part to actually accomplish. If you're looking for solutions to feeling isolated, try these tips:
Run errands to the bank, post office, or copy shop to get yourself out of the office.
Attend business-oriented events locally or conferences farther afield.
Improve your skills by taking workshops or courses at local educational institutions.
Take courses or workshops just for fun.
Go out for lunch or coffee with friends or business colleagues.
Join a volunteer organization.
Struggling with Self-Esteem
Sometimes, trading a regular job for self-employment can trigger depression or self-esteem issues. Maybe you're no longer managing a team of people or enjoying the perks that come with a high-powered job title, and maybe you're missing that steady paycheck. Whatever the source of the problem is, identify it so that you can deal with it — quickly. You need to address self-esteem issues before you start feeling too negative about yourself and life in general.
Surrounding yourself with people who are positive influences and who believe in you can certainly help — as can staying away from people who don't support what you're doing. Recognizing the value in what you're doing now and the small achievements that you make every day can also help. However, don't hesitate to speak with a small business coach or even a therapist if you feel you're not dealing adequately with the problem on your own.